Everywhere I looked the air was full of soft pinks and purples. Somehow I was dressed to match in soft pinks and purples. The day was young, barely 10 when we entered the gardens to see what could be seen. It was quiet. We were practically alone as we walked down the paths. We took turns taking pictures of each other.
I looked at the small animals, and the small fish, and the small turtles, and the Asian gates and I wondered how I could feel so at home in a place that was so far away from the land I called home for almost 13 years. I had a lot of trouble leaving Korea. I was back at least once a year until, in 2016, I asked not to go. It would be the first time since 2002 that I had not stepped foot in any part of Asia.
Here I was, at the beginning of 2016, walking through field that reminded me of home. A long lost home.
I was older now.
Was I wiser?
I don't know. I was different. So many changes then, so many changes now, this constant pace of change that I feel I can barely keep up with it all. In the span of a single year I had been reduced to just myself. The circle of friends and lovers I held most closely had collapsed. The few I had remaining were further afield and not nearby to New York.
I had become, was becoming, fully isolated from any sense of connection with others. There was the computer, Hellion, and my dog. There were the conversations I had with myself. Even the ability to write was becoming stifled under the weight of so much change.
I remembered a similar walk under pink trees some three years ago in Daegu. I had walked with the Irish and the Artist to the bell park. We climbed trees and laughed. I was in love with all of them that day, even though our hearts were breaking with the loss of one we loved. It was a strange day to think about love and loss.
Here I was under similar blossoms, some three years later. The Irish is a name and face I remember lost to time and distance and mishandling. The Artist a ghost, vanished into the ends of the world, no goodbye and no explanation for why she was going.
My love, my boy, had also taken leave and so, all the connections and entanglements, friendships and loves were now parted. Here I was, in a familiar setting starting along a new and strange path. This year I would turn forty.
This year I would have to figure it all out again.
Hellion was sweet. He held my hand. He pointed out favorite places. He sat and drank wine with my in perfumed air.
Life changes, but not all changes were bad.