1.23.23 02°45' N 051°53' E
I have a memory of going to Chapel Hill with Lillie. It was before this whole thing I’m now a part of. It was cold and windy and neither of us were particularly warm and I haven’t been cold in weeks now. We were picking up our grandma’s sculptures. And Christmas shopping. And just enjoying siblinghood. I remember this because I don’t know why but I miss it dearly.
One of the last days before I left we lunched at the Raleigh Times on the roof on a warm December afternoon and even then neither of us were particularly warm. Lillie asked if they had coffee and they said to go next door and I gave her my credit card and she ran away and came back with some and we passed it back and forth until it was gone. We went to Fleet Feet afterwards to use up the gift cards Mom had given us for Christmas but Lillie had forgotten hers but she had more time than me anyways. We settled on some sunglasses and I’m proud to say it’s been three weeks and I’ve yet to lose them.
We shared a lot of dinners as a family in December. Dad cooked I don’t know how many meals and they were all better than anything I’ve eaten here and that’s not saying much but we’ve been spoiled with real food for decades now and it’s the thing I’m most thankful for in my entire life. I don’t feel homesick. Not yet at least. I don’t feel seasick either. Not yet. The swell has been bigger lately and sometimes when you look out the window all you can see is ocean and if you turn and look out the other all you’ll see is sky.
I saw India. It was smoggy and cold and smelled like rose incense and old almonds and vanilla and often like sewage and spices and sweat. It was hot in Mumbai but in the north in Jaipur and Agra I was grateful I had my down jacket. It wasn’t more than 40 degrees some mornings. Everyone brought malaria pills because we were told to because we’re tourists and everyone took them because India we’re told has malaria but there’s 1.4 billion people living in India and they manage alright so I held off. And mosquitos don’t like the cold but apparently I was the only one who knew this and I can imagine the joy Dad will get from knowing I knew this.
I saw India through a window on a tour bus and I realized later that the surprised smiles and confused stares we received were likely because our roof was so glaringly vacant. Other than childbirth I saw every stage of human life unfold on what felt like one never-ending street that stretches the whole country and that everyone uses at the same time. People sleep on the street in faded colored blankets and children half naked play on the street and their parents beg or maybe sell things and old people hobble through crowds and some die and some live a little longer and everyone. Everyone stares. And I won’t remember a single face.
We’re headed towards Mombasa now. It’ll be warm there I’m sure. And there will be mosquitos and I’ll take my malaria pills. And I’ll think about Mom and Dad and Lillie. And I’ll be happy knowing they’re thinking about me.