Dare to Exhale

A good friend and I make plans to meet on a beach on an island in Thailand.

I’m wandering around Asia with a backpack on hiatus, or a sabbatical, or hiding from real life, or engaged in something for which I don’t yet have a term. His marriage is apparently breaking apart; coming to Koh Chang probably won’t help matters, but he says he needs time away.

I tell him my ‘hotel’ name, it’s just a scattering of thin-walled huts raised off the steep hillside overlooking a thin strip of sand, up the beach, just around the bend.

He arrives late at night from Bangkok via minibus and ferry; in the morning the hut-runner, a nice Thai lady, says to me: “You friend here.”

“I certainly feel that way–thanks”, eating my muesli with bananas and yogurt. One US dollar.

In the late morning he emerges from his hut. I look up through the foliage and we smile. It’s quiet, hot, not a breath of wind or even the smallest wave to break the feeling of profound stillness. A Dali beachscape. He comes down and sits, and for fun we say nothing.

It’s the beginning of a movie, an absence of context for a moment. Anything can happen.

“I feel my lifespan increasing.”

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