LOVE FOR BEGINNERS

Letters by Kenny Mah

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Departures

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
April 11, 2008


Hey you,


I hate airports.

People leave you here, or you have to leave them behind. Even if there is a return date, that moment seems an eternity away, when you desperately do not want to be apart. Separation is Hell — for family, for blood brothers or sworn sisters, but especially for lovers. Young lovers, at that. Fresh and still bleeding from the melding of two hearts.

This is damn painful.

I don’t show this, any of this, though, I won’t allow it. Buck up, I tell myself, be a man and bear with it. Tough it out. All you see is my smile.

We head to the check-in counter after I’ve seen my friend outside to where her boyfriend is waiting in his car. It’s your turn now, except you’re not arriving. No, you’re leaving. It’s just Melbourne and Sydney. It’s just a week or so. It’s no big deal.

But it damn well is.

There’s just enough time for dinner before you have to head in. We decide on KFC, something reasonably unhealthy so we can both bitch about our virtually non-existent widening waistlines. We order enough food to feed a small village. For a week.

It’s not enough to keep our mouths occupied though, and we talk and I tell you not to buy me anything, knowing very well you will ignore this. What else did we talk about? Nothing comes to mind except you staring at me and whispering, “You silly boy.”

You can see it in my eyes. I’m missing you already.

And how could I tell you about the week to come? The days are duller somehow, without you here. Work is fine but to come home to an empty apartment once more — how did I ever manage to live alone before? How I craved for my privacy and my sanctuary. Now everything is lifeless without you.

You will tell me about the sights and sounds of urban Australia, and it is all muffled by occasional rain and the constant awareness that we are not together. When you check into the new hotel in Sydney and find out they’ve given you a complimentary upgrade, all you can say is you wish I was there with you.

You wish you had cancelled this trip after all. I wish I had said to hell with work and gone with you instead.

How do I tell you that I come home at night and I sleep now on your side of the bed? I don’t know why I do it but it has your warmth somehow. (And I imagine, a couple of time zones away, you are doing the same, and we are connected somehow, together again.)

We count the days together. Five more days. Only four more to go. Three..?

When you had gone in, past the gates, I walked away to the trains, to head back to the city alone. Sitting in the cold and empty carriage, I am so tired I fall asleep almost immediately. And all I can dream of is returning to the airport in a week’s time, to welcome you home, to you and me.


Yours always and always,
Me.




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