Wednesday, January 9, 2013


“When you're young, you think everything you do is disposable. You move from now to now, crumpling time up in your hands, tossing it away. You're your own speeding car. You think you can get rid of things, and people too—leave them behind. You don't yet know about the habit they have, of coming back.
Time in dreams is frozen. You can never get away from where you've been.”
                                                       - Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

When I moved back to Hong Kong I knew that things would be different- you only needed to look at photographs to know that, boy, things had changed.  But somehow I still expected a comfortable sameness that no longer existed.  Buildings of my childhood were gone, objects that were so large in memory were in fact quite ordinary, and the present reality was a simulacrum of the past familiarity.  Even SB had changed in the year that we were apart.  He had a harder edge from working in his stressful, competitive environment and his youthful exuberance was replaced by something much more potent. 

I struggled to adapt to a changed landscape, to accept actuality over fantasy.  I had to relearn SB in many ways and I didn't always do so gracefully.  In our year apart SB had established himself in a new community while I was trying to catch up.  One day while I was wallowing in my self pity I realized how futile it was to try and cling to ghosts of things past.  I couldn't keep going the way I was, which was by trying to nudge SB back to what was familiar.  Times were changing, we were changing; only I was standing still and becoming obsolete. And so I had to start moving.

Five years later I can only be happy that I took those forward steps.  It's not like the alternative would have been so horrible.  I am fairly certain that had I returned to the US I would be living in a large city, much like Hong Kong, and working in a similar capacity to my job here.  I would still be playing and coaching rugby.  I would probably have picked up new interests similar to here.  I would have a larger home than this one here and would be much closer to my old friends and family.  But I wouldn't have SB, and he wouldn't have me.

Maddening, exhausting, and wrinkle inducing as he may be, he is my other half.  He is the apex of my adventures and my time with him is often the highlight of my day.  During this Hong Kong chapter of our lives we have learned how to match each other's stride while navigating the complex terrain of constant change and ghosts.  With each door that closes in this city, another one opens; we just need to take it all in stride.