Sweet

Vivid.

Drums.

Walking through desolate places, so beautiful.

Geese, wings cutting the air, as startled, they took flight.

Green trees ringed the scrub grass and dusty flatness.

Before we began:

L. and I at Elsewhere. His brow furrows. There is concern. He’d borrowed a credit card from his cousin, “the small blond one,” to buy the plane tickets. Because his cousin had loaned him the card but L. hadn’t told him that it was for plane tickets, now he was nervous.

“Do we really have to have the card to pick up the tickets? I already gave him the card back, and I didn’t tell him it was for plane tickets.”

We had found a way.

It was India again, and a group of us trudged across the dusty field.

Geese, startled, back to where we began this.

A small village, trailing down from the driveway of a prominent local merchant. The merchant, an expatriated American whose son was now attending college in the states, was throwing a party.

On the drive we met two men who remembered me from my first visit so many years past. We are truly back in India, land of my dreams, a place where 1000 years is young for a communal memory and where tradition dictates the coexistence of 300 million gods.

Our host also remembers.

He says our friend P. and his partner B. (now of two years?) had been there but had already gone. He is most insistent that we make it back for the Festival of Lights (Diwali?) in a couple of months.

Perhaps insistence is too mild a word. He offers to pay for our trip from his son’s college fund.

His family immediately embraces us. Hospitality is the key here.

There is so much food, laid out on silk-covered tables. The servants keep the glasses full.

As we lay back against brocade cushions to enjoy our meal, the sun is setting in a sea of crimson, amber, violet, gold — a vibrant and cacophonous tapestry of light. The lake, rippled by the most temperate breeze, mirrors the sky in its audacious display.

I look around.

Home: sustenance, fond friends, lovers, and family. Sometimes all the same thing.

I feel only a hint of tomorrow’s jet lag.

Life is as sweet as the bowl of lychees at my side.

Then the alarm comes, a digital rooster crowing.

I awake.

I am a raft in a sea of pillows.

Surrounded.

And I am still home.