Hanoi ephemera

I remember the first winter rain was the night we were together. The raindrops were light yet the air felt burdened from the mist and the Marlboro smoke. I remember the smell of the wet grass and dirt and wastes and sewage blending. I remember glasses clinking as we invincibly sipped our iced tea, our frozen beer, our frosted breath, with floaters and the futures in front of our eyes. I saw them with you.

I remember how time waltzed to the soundtrack of the clock tower. Twelve beats. Twelve movements of the eyes. I remember the way your eyes spoke to me. Sheltered, with a cluster of uncertain words. I remember the way you looked when you caught my glance. A little tense yet too much self-assured. I remember hearing nothing else but the susurrus of the breeze. Maybe there was some other sounds out there, but I obviated them, too scared to break this space between us.

I remember the night was still young, yet we lived in the constant fear that “our time” was running up. We craved not to waste our dreams in prosaic lives or get tangled in the temptation of daily blisses. I still remember to wonder where we would be, and where we are.

I remember when it was 10 Celcius degree and we insisted on the slimmest clothes. Our bikes racked up to 80, and we drifted under the yellow lights. Sometimes we drifted apart, sometimes closer. But I remember how we never left each other behind. The only thing we were racing was the wind, and the only one we were letting down were our guards. I remember how the cold penetrated through our shirts and crawled onto our skins like hungry ants. I remember the consequences belonged to tomorrow, yet the feelings were in the now. And I remember knowing I would not regret it any bit.

And goddammit I remember the music. I remember you sitting across from me, humming to even the oldest and most instrumental songs. I remember the way you smiled when you looked over and saw me swaying to the same melodies (oh please! I was goode long before Johnny ever was). Some people know how to wink, and you’re definitely better than them. This city is not the birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll, but I remember it always being the musical spirits in me.

I remember your timidity and my awkwardness when we tried not to touch. I remember the way our intimacy wasn’t physical, and our romance didn’t mean love. I remember not wanting any of that to change, ever.

You don’t remember the stories. Me neither. I think some day I’ll forget about the feelings, too. But if there is anything left in this blurred memory, it’ll be you. I remember you.

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