Saturday, August 7, 2010

I Want a Crazy Love Story Too

A Kite That Couldn't Be Tied Down

"She was a poet living in a castle-like apartment flooded with plants and books I’d never heard of. The details of her exotic childhood, I learned, included an organic farm in rural Texas and a private girls’ school. She did origami and left it hidden for strangers to find, knew the secrets of library basements and overgrown alleyways, and wore vintage hats covered in rusty brooches. She was into queer theory. She got her clothes from the Goodwill Dumpster. She was everything I’d dreamed of but never knew existed."

"A year after we’d met, just as I was getting a handle on Ursula K. Le Guin and Anne Carson, she called me: Would I like her bicycle? She’d bought a one-way ticket to Japan."

"By June I was at Peking University studying Mandarin on an open-jaw airline ticket; six weeks later the program ended and I was standing in Tiananmen Square. And to my disbelief she was there, too, standing next to me, flying a makeshift kite. By then she had quit her Japanese job and come to Beijing with her teenage brother. Her plan was for the three of us to take the Trans-Siberian Railway to Moscow and sort of wing it from there."

"Nights were hard. She was inevitably inches away, sleeping peacefully as my desire for her boiled."

"She laughed and played with my hair, knowing it was true but not wanting to show it. The shrine I had already built for her was painfully exposed; in two years my mainstream existence had been razed to the ground to make room for a garden in which her every eccentricity was welcomed to bloom. What was I doing in Mongolia? It seemed I would follow her anywhere."

"As I turned my back on her at the first major fork in the road, I was grudgingly conscious of a painful realization: My life was not one of one-way tickets. Not yet."


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