I’m sitting in a minivan in the middle of southeast asia. Next to a boy covered in tiger tattoos and a grandma with no teeth. The heat makes us stick together, makes me intimate with strangers I’ll never see again. With people whose names I can’t quite pronounce. We’re at a gas station and the driver is leaning against the car, pointing to a sign I’ll never be able to read. To me, they don’t look like letters.
To me, they look like the wisps of dandelion seeds dancing in the afternoon sun. A young boy lifts the front hood of our van and unscrews the cap and his sweat drops in with the gas he pumps. We’ll carry him with us wherever we go. The toothless grandma smacks her lips together, her gums not quite touching, and I put my headphones into my ears. A song comes on and I almost change it. But then I don’t. It’s our song. Well, the one that used to be ours. When you break up, do all those things break too? The songs and the touches and the memories? Or do they go on after us? I’m not sure.
All I know is that I’m across the world and I’m thinking of you. Not the way I used to. But still, it’s a tender thought. A thought filled with love for who we used to be. For the time we once were. For the love we used to share. For the softness in your eyes the first time you saw me. For the way it felt to be naked in front of someone for the very first time. For the way you touched me, so softly it felt like a secret. A secret that only we knew.
We don’t talk anymore, and that’s okay. But I wonder, do you think of me sometimes? I hope you do. I hope you think of me the way I think of you. Like a sweet memory that brings me right back home, even though I’m half a world away.
Our driver climbs back into the car and yells at the traffic blocking our exit. To me, it sounds like he’s joking, but it’s a joke I don’t quite understand. And I wonder, if he heard our song, would he feel the same? Or would he hear our secret?
Our song talks as if it knew what would happen. It talks about collision. About things breaking and falling, and somehow coming back together. I don’t think that will happen for us. But maybe it already has. Maybe the melody is our way of coming back together, our way of cheating time, just for a little while, just for now.
So let’s keep it, please. Let it belong to me and you, even if we don’t. Let it go on forever, long after we are gone. Let someone hear it and feel the sweetness of our secret, the one that hides within.