Over coffee, you tell me
that it settles in your lungs
way better than in your stomach.
You tell me about those long drives
when Denver taught you your first English song—
how Dahl made you turn pages on summer evenings.
You make me understand
how maps look Japanese to you,
but you’re born to travel anyway.
I don’t say anything—
I knew walking more than two miles
hurt your heels like hell.
Mid-conversation, my fingers
find the coffee mug, all gone cold.
I make my way to the cup.
You keep your words down
for some while with a sip.
You demand a picture before we leave.
On our way back, we don’t take the same route.
Rain-washed lanes catch insecurities
falling off as we dodge puddles fingers held—
answering umpteen whys & ifs.
Before it could be two miles,
an autorickshaw comes to your rescue.
You stick your hand out, spinning the air around your palm
until the auto made the sharp cut beyond the concrete wall.
On my way back, I delete our picture.
I return to my diary to bookmark the evening.
I remember you as a fact now—
because I know
I’ll have to do this someday all over again.