Goodbyes in Yangon

Today was the first time I’ve ever felt very badly homesick.

He dropped me at the main road. I got off the pushbike and said goodbye to him in an insolent, childlike manner. I felt irritation because he spoke to me in a patronizing way, asking if I knew what to say to the cab driver.

This morning when I was getting ready, I felt that there was a finality to our interaction, like this would be the last time I saw him. When we said goodbye, I said ‘bye’ nonchalantly and walked off without a second glance. He said “see you later”, as I was already walking away, I don’t know if he meant it. I could feel his eyes on my back as I walked away, and I wondered how he was feeling. I wondered if he felt relief, like I did.

I spent the last two nights with him. On Saturday night we went to a pool party and drank, snorted Ritalin and smoked weed out of an apple. You called me a princess at one point during the night because someone offered to carry my bag and I let them. It stung a little bit. After the parties we went to, we went to wind down at someone’s place before heading back to his place. We went to bed high and happy, and talked until we both fell asleep. Sunday morning, I had to drag myself out of bed and planned to meet him later that night.

Last night I went back to his place, but he wasn’t there yet. Their house is a transient house, in which people are coming are coming and going all the time, with all the doors unlocked. People enter and leave freely. I had bought strawberries for him in Chinatown, which I placed on the table. It’d been a long time since I bought anything for anyone.

I took a shower and waited for him to come back, it felt like when I used to stay up and wait for my ex-boyfriend. He told me to make myself at home, so I did. I looked around his room, I saw a notebook on the table, so I opened it and read it. I felt guilty, but I couldn’t help myself. I wanted to know what he thought, how he felt. His writing was beautiful, and I was envious of it.

There were names in his notebook of people he’d loved, people he’d enjoyed himself with. I wondered if my name would come up in the pages to come (I hoped it would). He was the hookup that wasn’t meant to be, and it surprised me now, when I realized that I felt something for him. I saw the word ‘polyamorous’ written in his notebook and wondered how I could have not picked up on that myself. His blankets and pillows smelled like him, but his scent also reminded me of someone else I’d forgotten already. I wanted to stay up and wait for him, but I was so tired I gave up and went to bed. I went to sleep on his side of the bed. It wasn’t long before he came back. When he came in, I heard him standing behind me. I pretended to be asleep, and he went to bed on the other side. I moved over to him and said that I wanted to wait for him but got too tired. We talked about our day.

We talked about a lot of things. I felt like I couldn’t get close to him despite him saying that I was the more guarded one out of the two of us. We talked about the way we loved: me, selfishly: I like to keep my loved ones near me forever. Him, independently: he loves people and lets them leave. He said his last relationship had been with a male, and that he left because he wanted to sleep with other people. The both of us fell asleep at some point. I woke up intermittently during the night, when he kissed me. I saw him smiling when I looked over.

He woke up early this morning to go to Burmese lessons. When he was about to leave, he lay on the bed next to me and kissed me goodbye. I liked the way his eyes crinkled when he smiled. I found myself wishing he could stay. I didn’t open up to him about my feelings, but I found myself being affectionate with him like I hadn’t been with anyone in a very long time.

Waiting for him to come back from his lesson in the morning, I wanted to write ‘you are magic’ somewhere and leave it in his room, but I couldn’t, because I didn’t have any paper. I didn’t want to write it on the board because I didn’t want anyone else to see it. When he came back, I was in the bathroom wearing his t-shirt and cleaning my ears with a cotton-bud. There was something in the way he looked at me, but I couldn’t tell what. I felt that he wasn’t as warm towards me after coming back, and I couldn’t tell why (maybe it was just me).

The books on his desk were slightly shuffled around, and I wondered if he knew that I read his notebook. You asked me if I wanted you to put my strawberries in the fridge, and I said that they were for you. You were surprised and pleased, and I was happy, but I also felt embarrassed at my show of affection.

Maybe I shouldn’t have said goodbye to him like that. I felt unreasonably frustrated with him for something that really wasn’t his fault, and I also felt annoyed for doing this to myself again. Another name to add to the list of lovers scattered across the world. Sometimes I repeat their names to myself, like Arya Stark and her hit list. I say their names like a spell, like a wish, and then think, where are they now? Where are they now?

I should have told him that he was special, he was magic. But I didn’t.

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