Below, you’ll find a frenzied love letter. One penned in Bali, Indonesia. How cliché–the traveler falls in love. But as with most tired tropes, this cliché is built from truth. Riding the waves of the road, rattling between its ups and downs, gawking at the world through the elucidating lens of solitude–these variables make the solo traveler especially susceptible to cupid’s arrows. I generally prefer to keep my love life separate from my work, but given the nature of this particular affair, not to mention the libertine libido of this particular lover, I figured, what the hell. Something so exceptional deserves to be made an exception.
Enjoy, and, as always, thanks for reading.
Can I call you baby?
I don’t know what to say. This is goodbye. I’m not sure you even know that I’m leaving. If you do know, I’m not sure you care.
Perhaps you’re preoccupied with other matters, or maybe you aren’t as sentient as you seem, and our conversations existed only in my mind. Maybe it wasn’t you, it was me, and I only ascribed your sexy ass the personality I wanted you to have.
No, that can’t be true. Not you. You were real…
We met what seems now like years ago. I was spiraling erratically, like a hawk with a dislocated wing, into the shadowy yet illuminating fog of solitude–only to land on your graceful shoulder. (My wing is feeling much better, by the way. I’ve been stretching. You have a way of encouraging people to do yoga.)
It wasn’t always easy. But easy isn’t always good. And we were great.
You almost killed me. I can still feel your turquoise nails scratching blood from my back, your cerulean hands around my throat.
I don’t blame you. It wasn’t your fault. It was mine; I underestimated you.
Thank you for sparing me.
I’m sober writing this, at least technically speaking, though numbed by chemicals of circumstance. Leaving you is a 10-milligram goodbye that’s tough to swallow.
I’m sure that I look like a lunatic, pounding out this (love?) letter to you on my iPhone, slouched in the corner booth at Two Dragons (purveyor of overpriced stir fries). Not that I give a shit about my appearance. You certainly didn’t. Between the length of my beard–I’ve let it grow since we met–and the wolffish eyes that just stared back at me over the airport bathroom sink, at least I’m starting to look like a real writer. Thanks, I guess, for that.
Anyways, here I sit, alone as usual in the international terminal, in an airport like any other, feeling as I always do in transit: a crazed extra in someone else’s story.
Grumpily, I select a noodle. I twirl it around my chopsticks, watch it disentangle from its clumped compatriots and dangle like a nightcrawler impaled on a fisherman’s hook. I wonder if–alone, vulnerable, and far from its stir-fried friends–the noodle feels lonely. I imagine so, and slurp it out of sympathy.
Diving still further into the tangential delirium of disembarkation, I think about how Two Dragons is a restaurant potentially named after a rapper. I wonder if 2Dragonz is, in fact, the one rapper that truly spits hot fire, and if he ever plans to collaborate with House Targaryen on a track.
Speaking of tracks, I force my train of thought back on ’em.
I am not thrilled about the neon slog of travel ahead.
It’s not that I don’t want to continue onward. I do. But I packed reluctantly. I’m going to miss you, dearly. For two months (a month longer than I initially intended), I was wrapped up in you; a fly on furlough, contentedly drunk and seeing double from the daiquiris, swinging in a silk hammock spun by a honey-voiced spider.
See, I’ve been telling myself that the road is what I need, that I don’t want to stop, that I don’t want to settle down. But the longer I spent with you, the more I wanted roots, the more I wanted routines. You made me want what I told myself I didn’t. And let us not downplay this whim! Is that, after all, not a defining principle of love? The desire to change, to shift shape, to accommodate and adapt? It’s certainly more exacting than the usual: burn bridge, throw match in river, keep walking.
Bali, baby! Along your wave-wrapped shores and jungle-covered hillsides, I fell for you. When your coconut lips blew the tradewinds offshore, and whispered that I might stay, you almost convinced me. You nearly sucked the soles of my feet straight into the sand.
Honestly, if your visa laws weren’t quite so strict — obviously this shit has happened before, you incorrigible seductress– I’d probably stay longer. Hell, I’m admittedly smitten, and I’m hopeful, if not certain, that I’ll return.
But passport stamps and plane tickets say onward. So onward it is. At least for now. And as the road unfurls ahead, I’m liable to have my eyes on the rearview mirror, watching you fade, waving sweetly and smiling with an ancient wisdom, hip jutted into a night sky as indigo as the Indian Ocean, dissolving into the horizon of my mind.
I’m not sure if you’ll read any of this, as you’re likely busy making another 1,000 travelers trip head over heels for you, but goodbye, volcanic beauty. I had a blast with you.*
One of many
*Volcano pun intended. Appropriate moment to erupt with laughter.**
**This second volcano pun was unintended.
If you do care, please know that I’m well, and I’m sending this while staying with a woman named “Sri Lanka.” A funny name, I know. She’s a bit less refined, less famous, and less wild than you, but simultaneously more rugged, and gentler. She’s difficult to describe, but it’s only been a few days, and I don’t aim to describe her now. That said, she’s doing wonders to help me get over you.
I also probably will shave my beard. Sri Lanka is much, much hotter than you.