Sri Lankan Dreams


Lately, when I wake up in the mornings, I am already thinking about Sri Lanka. I am already thinking of how we wore the thick heat, how everything dripped in it and slowed down because of it. And I am thinking of the harmonica and of the words you spoke to me on the bus, and of climbing stairs that rose from stone and existed for so long my comprehension of time could never touch them. It feels like a dream I just woke from. The palate of greens and the smells and the noise and the silence that was louder than the noise all feels just outside of my grasp.

In the mornings a heavy dense fog would roll and peel away from open fields where bone thin cows ate grass, and our bus would ramble by– jumping from one side of the road to the other. We would climb slowly to our next place, my tank top sweat soaked before we’d get there, one head phone in my left ear the other in your right ear– back then we knew how to share things. Everything is dripping in greens I have never seen before, and greens I do not have words for, entire crayon boxes of only green. I think of tables of fruits so long I could never eat my way from one end to the other– fruits I didn’t have names for, fruits that dripped down my chin and stuck in my long curls, fruits that were sour and sweet and hot all at the same time. Slow down, you would tell me, slow down.

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And I have memories of standing on mountain tops I believed I could never get to where kings once lived and with all of their wives, and we could see for miles and it felt like maybe the entire world was ours, and that maybe things were going to be alright because of it. In the nights we slept in haunted hotel rooms that made you shake while you slept and I never wanted to be alone. You carried in your backpack coffee with you from home, and every morning you would share it with the staff who made our breakfasts of fat mangos and fresh omelettes. I remember feeling childlike the entire trip, raw and exposed to things I didn’t know were out there to be exposed to. I think about buying bracelets in the street market and how you let me do it on my own and that made me feel big. And how every day I wanted an ice-cold Coca-Cola. I have memories of wandering through an empty school-house to find a place to pee, memories of bats flying overhead down a river bank so dense the sky’s turned black, memories of caves and water dripping from the ceiling– deep and dank places that smelled of time and earth and silence. You would point to the paint peeling from the walls and I would find you lingering in the strangest of places, near corners and carvings no one else took the time to look at.

But what I remember the most is this afternoon we went to visit someone in their home, up high in the hills, and a storm came. We ate lunch though I do not remember of what, we were always eating. The storm rattled the windows and rain came down in thick translucent sheets that soaked the hillsides and turned everything an even greener green than before. And I fell asleep on the floor curled up near a window like a dog, and I watched the rain run down roof tops until I slipped away and dreamt I was somewhere else. And when I woke, I had the feeling I have now, that everything is a dream, and that this place is just a little farther than I can reach.

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