In the bus: a little Indian girl and her father are sitting across from each other. The child is tired, her little feet dangling in the air, red velcro sandals swinging gently as she slips into slumber.
Her father watches her as she nods off a little more violently, her little body lurching with sleep.
He tries to wake her up. Her eyes open blurrily for a second, she nods without processing what her father says and falls back asleep again.
This time her father scoops her up into his arms, holding her close as she curls into him and continues sleeping.
I have no doubt that one day, this little girl will grow up to see a similar scene in a bus and smile, remembering her father. Just like how this grown up girl, who’s witnessing this scene, smiles.
And she will furiously type into her phone to capture this memory, before life shifts it into a corner of her brain where she will forget.
It is this safety that we seek in love. The safety of letting our guard down, and trusting that the person/people we love, will hold onto us when we are barely able to hold onto ourselves.
Sometimes love really is as simple as that.
There are several long bus rides I remember.
2011: Girona to Barcelona. Fields of golden flowers, and sunshine in a shade of yellow I don’t know the name for. Watching the way the flowers and fields seemed to move to a tune only they knew (or maybe I was the one moving, I couldn’t tell).
2014: Pokhara to Kathmandu. Listening to music, surrounded by strangers, watching peaks of mountains rise and fade with the clouds along the river side. A gushing rapid, white foam angry and loud, roaring. Trickling to a placid stream at the place we stopped for a toilet break. I can still remember the arrangement of rocks along the river edge, as if handpicked by Mother Earth herself.
There is something almost comforting to be in motion. You are stripped of all responsibilities that arriving entails. You are stripped of all responsibilities that leaving burdens you with. You are in the in-between, a head space of freedom, and quiet. This is where I think the least. This is where I think the best. This is where sometimes, when the bus is moving so quickly that the outside world reduces itself to a blur, I don’t think at all.
2015: I am writing this in a bus. It is 9am in the morning, and there is one other passenger in the bus besides me. His head is lolling to the side, he is asleep, lost amidst the deep indigo of the bus seat, and the morning sunshine flickering through the windows. The bus ride continues.
Taken in Pokhara, Nepal.