"But Boris -- like an old sea captain -- put them all to shame. He had ridden a camel; he had eaten witchetty grubs, played cricket, caught malaria, lived on the street in Ukraine ("but for two weeks only"), set off a stick of dynamite by himself, swum in the Australian rivers infested with crocodiles. He had read Chekhov in Russian, and authors I've never heard of in Ukrainian and Polish. He had endured midwinter darkness in Russia where the temperature dropped to forty below: endless blizzard, snow and black ice, the only cheer the green neon palm tree that burned twenty-four hours a day outside the provincial bar where his fathered liked to drink." - The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt I find, after a year, the best nook in the house. It's in the northeast corner where you can simultaneously see the moon (on these good, rare AQI 50 days) and the lights from the Worker's Stadium that like flash like a multi-colored electric torch. Finding a nook here is more important than liking the smallness, or the actual nook of the Hong Kong apartment. It is more important than being at the balcony in the New York apartment. Saying all of this sounds absurd, as if existing on parallel planes.
The nook gazes out to the hollow of the city, and it's Patrick who reminded me of its majesty and possibility when he said, "guys I fell asleep looking at the night sky." Incredible. The same radiant, golden boy Patrick, sleeping in the nook in Beijing, remarking on the skies the way we moaned about loneliness in Ohio.
During college in Ohio, when it felt like we could see miles and miles stretch from the rooftop of the Beta House. We'd climbed up to the slanty roof, tearing our best jeans in process, and be a rooftop closer to the moon. Even while we craned for the celestial, it never felt precious until today. Drowned in a city of lights, moons and stars beyond legendary, and it was Patrick that reminded me of the one place in the apartment where a date can be made.
It was good seeing him. In the way that planets align and you finally knew for sure, for sure that what goes around come around. So was that fateful meeting 10 years (10!) ago of him and I, of yearnings for China, and a tolerance for cosmic weirdness.
Many things have happened. A shift in geography. A shift in necessity. The roamer is ready to feed again, and even while, I, like dearest Rob, may feel the uncertainty shining with the moon's lonely halo. The heart is also ravished again. For more. For the next continent. For everything.