April 2, 2016

His Own Little Universe

For a minute tonight, as I looked in the mirror while brushing my teeth, I realised that I have become the tanned salty slightly burned-red tattooed older gentleman with salt and pepper hair. It was a look that fit well, like a well-worn shirt you might find in a Goodwill or vintage store on the Lower-East side. His eyes were slightly blood-shot and teeth yellowed and misshapen.

The man looking back at me from the mirror looked familiar, as if I had seen him in a dream from my youth. He was tired and hot and nursing a slight cold and a sore throat, but he looked satisfied. Content. He looked like a man who was confident in his skills and his career. He had the means to be in this nice room but didn’t need more flash to be anything more than he was. He was a father and middle aged, but attuned to the young and hip enough to be relevant at least in his own little universe. He had traveled the world and on this given Saturday he was in this hotel room, just up from a nap after a few days of a much needed and a perfectly planned holiday.

He would return to his comfortable home, where he would strum the guitar he so missed when he was on holiday. He would get back into his running and get caught up on work that was already creeping in and haunting his holiday. He looked a bit like an artist, a writer perhaps, but not the kind that had been totally committed to the craft in any way beyond a hobby. Sure he was writing a book, but even he wasn’t sure of it would ever actually exist in the world. He had things to say and a tiny audience that humored him and told him that they cared, but all of that could be so fleeting and trivial.

He knew that he would survive even if the book never materialized and because of this haughty ambivalence, there was a calm doubt knit in his brow as to whether or not said book would ever be published. Regardless, he missed the characters he was creating and his bed and his home and his cat and his car and the comfort of being middle aged in a time and place when he loved the life he had been dealt and playing with a healthy competence.

He could cash in at anytime and feel he had gotten his money worth at the table.

The last day of a holiday is never the best. I was tired and cranky and the glimmer of the sea was replaced with stagnant water, filled with jelly fish and more trash than is okay to look at. After a long walk around the island, we discovered that we have found the perfect little nook and beach on Koh Lipe. We spent a lot of day snapping at each other, reading and overheating.

A nice dinner. A few drinks here and there and a nice quiet last night in the room- AC cranking and ready for a final night back in Langkawi tomorrow night. I am at the point in a trip when I miss my bed. We have spent the exact right amount of time here. Great holiday. Done.

I have about 50 pages left of To Rise Again At A Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris which I am enjoying very much, a slight head ache, and a runny nose. April is upon us and somewhere not too far away from my psyche, I am missing my students. Not too much. I have another week to unwind, but my mind is on the next eleven weeks and our trip back home to the US of A.

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