So a boy and a girl meet, and he is big country small town, and she is small country big city, and as far as the other is concerned they become the whole world.
I sleep as I wait on the turbulent plane ride and wake heavy with ideas.
As we flew on through the velvet night, I looked out the window and felt upside down–there were constellations both above and below me, sparkling. One set wistfully beautiful like spilt glitter from childhood, the other reliably patterned warm yellow specks. Sometimes they blurred, like they were reaching to become one in the forest fire-scented clouds.
The lights that shone below looked like the illuminescent internal structures of a giant, prehistoric fish. A blown-up version of the tiny tropical freshwater ones I know. That made me feel a little more at home so far away. But the dark gaps between the lights made me wary because I could not tell if it was land or sea or flesh. When I set foot outside would my weight be borne or would I sink?
Even as an adult I make sense of the world in the language of my father’s tongue translating images native to my motherland.
It feels fitting when the boy tells the girl that the forest fires are burning where he is. As she flies she thinks of embers and crumbling charring wood, growing ever bigger like a festering wound. Burning burning burning forests, she wonders how much of the boy is left by the time she steps off the plane, and whether she’ll be able to put it out.