Thailand – 1975

crecente

I am free.

Free of gravity, of mother’s tender hand wrapped in mine. Free of brother’s shadow. Of father’s quick temper. Free of fear, of sorrow, of loneliness and self-doubt. Free, for a moment even, of myself.

There is only the sky above, blue, hot, enveloping; the roiling water and jagged rocks below and everywhere the glistening greens of the jungle.

I stretch my arms slowly as I float, reach for something that isn’t there. My feet kick as if I’m in water. I soar. I smile.

Later I will stand quietly in the jungle surrounded by aging vines, under the ceiling of flickering emerald and gold within nature’s chapel, and watch the gentle rise and fall of approaching gibbons.

Later I will walk behind elephants as I tinker with a radio smaller than a matchbox, looping a wire, which is both antenna and single earphone, around my arms, my torso, over my head, in an attempt to hear anything but the static or the anger.

Later I will sit, lost in an aging, oversized sofa, in a swelter cabin, using straight pins heated with a lighter to singe away the leeches that dot my legs.

I will nearly die. I will laugh. I will cry. I will mourn and celebrate. I will grow old. And surely I will die.

But now I am free.

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