Letters by Kenny Mah

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Taxi ride

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April 9, 2008

Hey you,

The taxi driver is talking on his hands-free headset, in a world of his own, yet managing to keep us on the road safe and sound. It’s Friday, but the traffic’s not too bad. Our shoulders relaxed a little, after the earlier tension at the train station, where the rains had flooded the tracks and forced us to quickly switch to our contingency plan: grabbing the first cab in sight.

We breathe.

In little over four hours you will be on a plane to Melbourne. Vacation. I needed one too, but there was work. So much work. There’s always work, you had said, but you didn’t press the issue. You even considered cancelling the trip but I wouldn’t hear of it. Better one of us get a break than neither of us.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Our fingers curl together beneath the shield of your Prada bag. The taxi driver mumbles on, happily ignorant of us, and perhaps, even the traffic that surrounds us. We’ll get to the airport on time, no worry, he tells us at one point.

It’s getting there that I dread. Why does this feel like letting you go?

“Why are you looking at me like that?” you ask, and it’s only then do I realize I’ve been just looking at you, just you, for goodness knows how long. What are you thinking about? you ask me.

“Would you ever ever consider spending the rest of your life with me?”

There. It came out, simply. Speaketh what you thinketh. And I did. Oh bloody hell, what did I just say…

Then you start laughing. Really laughing, till the taxi driver peers at us through his rear-view mirror. Sputtering down to a smile, you ask me if this is a proposal.

“No, of course not, no. It’s just a question.”

“Good,” you answer, “cos you don’t even have a ring, do you?”

“I don’t.”

“Not even the pull-tab ring from a Coca-Cola can.”

“No, not even that.”

“There, then. This is definitely not a proposal.”

“Definitely not.”

We smile again, and I know you will return, safe and sound, and we will be together. That’s all. That’s enough.

We don’t need a proposal. We don’t need to say “I do.” For everything that does matter, we already do.

Yours always and always,

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