spring, still, hope

Spring in my neighborhood.
Spring in my neighborhood.

Hello in Reggae. In Swahili. Any time of the day. Flat white at Dos Mundos. Taking a day off in the middle of the week for no reason except to enjoy life. Coffee, always coffee. His unexpected reappearances. Witnessing his scrambled thoughts and his inability to deal with them. Forlorn feelings on my side because I couldn’t offer anything appropriate in return without being, well, inappropriate. But.

There’s still hope for both of us. Things can still work out in our favor and we won’t have to pay the price for making wrong decisions because we were too young. Because apologies won’t do anymore. There has been much hurt and disappointment conjured up from afar and in proximity, and there is no space for it. Not anymore. I deserve good things and I know he can offer them in return for very little.

There’s still hope. I have to remind myself of this daily because sometimes the world just comes down, crushing on me and I can’t handle it. I am homesick but I can’t place the feeling to a place. Sometimes it’s Hong Kong, sometimes it’s the Balkans, sometimes it’s a place I’d never been to. I don’t even know what I am looking for. As much as I love Prague, it doesn’t feel enough. It doesn’t feel like the place I want to settle in. The only thing I know is that I have to keep moving forward. Belonging everywhere is a blessing only a few know how to live with.

Spring has arrived and Prague has awakened. I have awakened. There are shocks of color everywhere – green on the streets, flowers, more colorful dresses. Opportunities to sit outside are almost daily and my coffee tastes better. It’s become sweeter with the spring air and blue morning skies. There’s nothing quite like the morning freshness in the middle of April.

I take my time as I walk through my neighborhood, the borderless area between Jiřího z Poděbrad and Vinohrady. I am grateful that this is where I get to live right now. It’s always been a bit of a dream of mine. This neighborhood, an apartment with hardwood floors and double windows. Having a corner coffee shop and a cute barista who hands me the warm flat white with an irresistible smile. He checks in on me sometimes. I write messages in response when I catch a glimpse of him having a bad day. It all adds up to something meaningful for me. Having a place of my own, a place that will be remembered as the place I raised up from the bottom.

If I don’t appreciate the little things, what else is left?

There are also others. Dreaming of old memories and things that were long meant to be forgotten. Reading Maya Angelou’s books from the beginning, again. Morning phone calls with maman. Keeping in touch with friends in Seattle, Melbourne, Kigali, Seoul, and Beijing. Looking up flights every once in a while, booking more often than before, too. Despite my genetic composition and inclination to the Mediterranean, I have been flying north all winter. Hamburg, London, Copenhagen, Malmö, Berlin. I have more plans than I am capable of realizing. I am yet to find comfort in that.

Cities collect in my memories but the wanderlust I feel for him is quite something else. There’s still hope. I’ve always been someone, long before you knew me. But the person I’ve become after you’ve left is someone only you will understand.