(this is still in need of a lot of changes. will make the edits periodically)
by Pranaya Rana
The first time we listened to Bob Dylan together, we didn’t speak for the longest of times. Prasit’s vinyl kept spinning and the record kept playing. How old were we then? Thirteen, fourteen? I don’t even remember, all I remember is that moment, that room, that music and us.
We were in Prasit’s room, neat and ordered, with everything in its place. I was sitting on his bed and Tara lay with her head in my lap. I was absentmindedly playing with her hair, twirling a lock round and round my index finger. I remember how she looked then. So young, her face smooth and unblemished, except for that one little dark spot on her left cheek. Her hair was full, and smelled like oranges, sweet and tangy. I remember looking down at her, looking into her eyes as the song played and not saying anything, not even smiling, just looking into each other and losing ourselves in Dylan’s mournful voice.
I remember Prasit as a nerdy little kid then. He wore his jeans high, and his glasses were always coming loose. He’d push his glasses up with the middle finger of his right hand each time, a nervous little move. That day, he was sitting on the floor, cross-legged and resting back on his hands, staring at the vinyl as it spun and spun.
We’d been hearing about Bob Dylan for a while now. Our fathers, our uncles, they talked about him, they reminisced about him, they tried to claim him for their own. But they’d never seen him play, and I bet, they never experienced what we experienced that day. So when Prasit found a Dylan record among his father’s old Led Zeppelin albums, we decided to give it a try.
Prasit’s record player was old, I don’t even remember what company it was. He had found it in an old box, inside his dad’s closet. The mice had gotten at it and all the wires were frayed, chewed on. Prasit took it upon himself to get that player working and he did. Record players were rare in Kathmandu. I only knew one other kid who owned one and that too was broken. Prasit’s dad had a whole collection of records though. He’d lived in India for a long time and had built up a sizeable collection, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, and Bob Dylan, among a hose of Nepali music that only came in cassettes.
So that day, was it a Monday? All three of us were wearing our school uniforms, ugly plain white shirts with blue pants or skirts. I remember sneaking peeks at the flashes of skin that Tara’s shirt often offered from between the buttons, and always feeling guilty later.
Prasit played the song. It was The Freewheelin Bob Dylan album and the song we listened to was Girl from the North Country, the second track. I don’t know why we skipped Blowin’ in the Wind, arguably one of his most famous tracks but Girl from the North Country just sounded so much nicer. From the quiet little guitar picking to Dylan’s raspy voice, I fell in love with everything about the song. We said nothing when the song ended, but Prasit moved the needle back, and replayed the song. We listened to the words, to his quiet guitar and to the emptiness that seemed to run through and through the song. It was spare, it was minimal and it was poetic. It was everything that we weren’t used to. Our musical tastes veered towards Nirvana, Guns N Roses, Metallica, anything with noise but right then, listening to Dylan, I was afraid. I didn’t know what to make of this. I had never heard of such words before, I had never heard that much intensity, that much eloquence, from anyone else before. Right then, it felt like all I had been listening to was just noise.
Prasit kept replaying the song and maybe after the fifth time, he finally stopped. Tara still rested on my lap, the back of her head digging into my thighs. Her eyes were closed and a slight smile played on her lips. I brushed a few errant strands away from her face. We had a conversation then. I don’t remember what it was about. I don’t think we talked about the song. I don’t think we talked about anything important because our minds were still occupied with what we had just heard. And in my memory, that was the first time I actually felt a connection with them. Before that, we were just friends. We hung out a lot at school and at Prasit and Tara’s homes after school, but it was then, that I actually felt like we were something more. Right then, they stopped becoming my friends. In that space of time when the song was reverberating off of Prasit’s eggwhite walls, I finally realized that in some strange teenage way, I loved both of them. I had known both of them ever since I started school. Prasit and I became friends in second grade and Tara became friends with us in fourth grade. But right then, right there in that room, I loved them both with a passion that frightened me. This was a passion I reserved for my mother, my brother, not my friends. And although it scared me, it felt right.
* * *
Our last tenth grade exam was on a Wednesday. All three of us had optional mathematics as our final exams and when the bell rang, we passed forward our papers like good kids, we packed up our pens, pencils and calculators quietly, walked out of the classrooms in single file and then, the moment we got outside, we erupted. Pages rained down on us from above, and there were screams, actual screams, of joy and of liberation. Books and papers were shredded, kids hugged each other with fierceness, and there was pandemonium. I ran outside and waited for Prasit and Tara. The moment they showed up, we took off.
Prasit’s Hero Honda CBZ easily supported the three of us, not that any of us weighed more than 60 kilos. Prasit didn’t have a motorcycle license but we didn’t care. Our school exams were over, we would beg for forgiveness from the traffic police if we were caught. And three people on a motorcycle was illegal enough.
I squeezed in behind Tara and held her waist. Prasit sped off, maneuvering the machine down narrow alleyways in order to bypass the traffic cops blockading the major thoroughfares of Kathmandu. From Lagankhel, we turned into a narrow stone-topped alley with high brick walls on each side. Prasit didn’t slow down; he maneuvered the motorcycle as if it were part of his own body, moving with the ease of one well-practiced. Tara let out little screams from time to time, when her bare knees would almost brush against the hard bricks. Luckily, we soon emerged into a bigger path. From there, on to Satdobato, where we took a highway leading south.
Prasit knew exactly where he was going. I had a vague idea too, but Tara complained constantly. She wanted to drink, she wanted a smoke, she was uncomfortable, where were we going, what were we going to do later tonight. Eventually, when both of us wouldn’t answer, she stopped talking.
Prasit stopped the bike abruptly in front of a dilapidated gate, broken and falling apart. There were missing gaps in the brick walls leading from the gate and around a massive property. Well off of the main highway, around ten minutes down a narrow dirt path, just big enough for a car, the gate lay hidden from view by a mass of bushes and undergrowth. Prasit motioned us through a gap in the wall and we followed.
There was a small beaten path leading straight through the brush. Trees stood like columns, sporadically among the dense shrubs. Two minutes from the gate, we came upon what Prasit wanted us to see. A neat little brick structure stood among the trees.
This is Boris’s house, said Prasit with little fanfare.
Who’s Boris? asked Tara meekly. I could tell she was scared, I didn’t blame her. The forest was eerie, too silent.
Boris was the first tourism entrepreneur in Nepal. I don’t know, I think he was European, German or something. Anyway, this was his house. He lived here with his wife but after he died, vagrants and thieves plagued his wife so much that she just abandoned the place. She never sold it and now it stands here. Prasit said and walked towards the house.
It was strange house, completely devoid of any kind of paint. The doors and windows were missing their frames and strange graffiti adorned the walls, both inside and outside. We peered in through the windows and saw strange items, a shoe, underwear, condoms, hypodermic needles and empty bottles.
Prasit and I wanted to go inside but Tara refused. It was an interesting house, a little creepy maybe but it had a strange allure. I wanted to explore it, walk through its empty hallways and rooms. So Prasit kept Tara company while I went inside.
There was broken glass everywhere. Bricks and concrete lay in chunks all over the floor, victims of a senseless assault. The rooms on the ground floor reeked of urine and shit and the walls were plastered with strange material that seemed to be congealing, like dried blood. The wooden staircase that led to the second floor had been cruelly decimated, leaving only two pieces of wood like broken bones, gaping from the wide staircase hole. I jumped up, grabbed the ends and pulled myself up with little difficulty.
Upstairs was cleaner, in some ways. There were more condoms and drug paraphernalia but less urine and feces. A rusty metal ladder led to the rooftop and thankfully, this hadn’t been destroyed. I climbed up gingerly, careful not to cut or scrape myself.
The rooftop was a square open space, lined with leaves from the trees surrounding it. It was a beautiful space, with soft light filtering through the canopy of trees. There was little refuse up here, probably because the addicts who frequented this place were too lazy to climb up. Amid all the destruction and abandonment that this house stood for, there was this secret beautiful place. It was the perfect place for us. I walked to the edge and called out to Tara and Prasit.
It was difficult getting Tara up. But we managed. Prasit and I both grabbed one of her arms and hauled her up bodily. She kept complaining that her arms had been jerked out of their sockets.
We sat on a bed of leaves, making sure there were no needles nearby. Prasit produced a bottle of Johnnie Walker and we drank slowly, taking swigs straight from the bottle. Tara pulled out her little iPod speakers and we listened to Sufjan Stevens in shady light. Jacksonville carried in the silence of the surrounding forest. It echoed from tree to tree and I imagined the song as something real, something solid bouncing along, reverberating in a space that it had never occupied before.
What’s going to happen to us now? It was the question that I had longed to ask for so long, but had never had the courage to articulate it. It was Tara who did.
Nothing. We go on, Prasit said.
But where? Have you even thought what you’re going to do now? Are you going to do plus 2s or A Levels or IB or what? I asked him.
Well, I’m doing whatever you guys are doing, said Tara dreamily. I don’t know what I want to do with my life. I’m 15, I’ve just finished tenth grade, I really don’t care right now.
Yeah, we stick together, right? Prasit said, looking at me.
Yeah, I answered, looking right back.
* * *
We grew up. I don’t know how it happened or even when it happened. But suddenly, I looked around, at them, and I realized just how much older all of us were. We were in our second year of A Levels, Prasit and I had just turned 18 while Tara was still 17. But we were older. Prasit had a beard now, a small outcropping of hair, defiant against the smoothness of his boyish cheeks. Tara had long hair, and was beautiful. It was only me. I felt unchanged, I still felt like a thirteen year old, and before long, I felt like I didn’t belong with them.
It had happened gradually but I had barely noticed. On their own, they seemed like minor things, but seen as part of a whole, the person seemed to change, drastically from what I had known them to be for the longest of times. Prasit wore contacts now, gray ones that made his eyes look like slits. His hair was long and he always tied it back in a ponytail. He’d bought a new motorcycle, a Royal Enfield, one that sounded like a shotgun each time he started it up. And he was smart and silent.
Tara was almost the same. She was small and lovely, with sharp dark eyes and a mischievous grin. To me, she just seemed like a bigger version of the girl I’d always known. Tara’s changes happened inwardly. She’d always been silent and shy but now she was confident, aggressive and open. She talked constantly, even rambled sometimes. But when she talked, I felt like she was overcompensating for something.
Whenever we hung out with other people, I felt insignificant and invisible. No one talked to me, no one seemed to be interested in what I had to say. Tara was the funny extrovert while Prasit was the smart introvert. That left nothing for me. I had no role, I felt like nothing. But then, whenever it was just the three of us, it felt like nothing was wrong. Tara was still Tara and Prasit was always Prasit, my closest friends.
We hung out with each other less. Our circle of friends had grown. It wasn’t just the three of us anymore. Sometimes when I was at home, I would put on City and Color’s Sleeping Sickness and close my eyes. I would try and conjure up images of Prasit, Tara and I. What usually came up was us listening to music. Most often it was Bob Dylan, but then, there was Pink Floyd in Tara’s room, Led Zeppelin in Tara’s living room, The Beatles in my room, The Cure on Tara’s ipod, Arcade Fire on Prasit’s roof, Sufjan Stevens on the roof of Boris’s house. But then, when Sleeping Sickness got to the line could it be, this misery will suffice, I always opened my eyes.
Despite all of our own changes, we still made it regularly to Boris’s house. Every Saturday we’d meet outside Prasit’s house. We’d buy some booze, cigarettes and ganja. Sometimes there would an extra person or two, but we always managed to get there. Tara had a scooter now so it was a little easier. Prasit would lead and most times I would ride behind him but if Tara was wearing a skirt, I’d sit on her scooter, just to make sure that every guy who leered at her got the finger.
We always climbed up to the roof, and we always hauled Tara up by her armpits. We never had an incident there. We never got too drunk or too stoned. Always enough to have interesting conversations but never so that we couldn’t ride. A few times, we had run-ins with the junkies who frequented the house. They were never there on Saturdays, which is why we picked the day. Usually, weekday evenings, there would be some five or six people, shooting up and having rampant sex on the floor.
The first time they saw us, they ignored us. This was on our third time to the house, before we’d seen only traces of them. We didn’t go into the house but just sat outside, on the grass. Prasit and I built a fire and we drank quietly, talking amongst ourselves. Soon, two of the junkies came over. They were haggard-looking, deep bags of skin hanging limply from under their eyes, skin a pasty white, dry and flaking, and their frames so thin, you felt like they would break if a strong wind blew. They sat around our fire and talked to us. They stared uncomfortably long at Tara and I found myself looking around for a rock, a stick, anything. But they did nothing, just talked to us about life, school, girlfriends and boyfriends. They asked us if we did any drugs and we meekly said no. And then they asked us for some money. We forked over fifty rupees and they seemed fine. A few minutes later, they left.
That was the first time, the second time they weren’t so friendly. It was maybe a month or two after our first encounter. It was the three of us again and there were five of them inside the house. We saw them through one of the broken windows and decided to sit outside. We didn’t build a fire this time, even though it was cold. We were smoking a joint when two guys and a girl came out towards us. Past them, I could see another guy and girl wrestling about on the ground, kissing madly.
Kids shouldn’t come here, one of the guys said. He hadn’t been here the last time. He was taller than the rest of them, bald and didn’t look as pasty or as weak as the others. But his arms were the same, dotted with little points of dried blood and blue with bruised veins.
It’s not safe, the other guy said. He was familiar, shorter and smaller, with bleached dirty blond hair.
We’ll leave soon, I said, trying not to look them straight in the eye.
The bald guy squatted on his haunches in front of us. He looked Tara straight in the eye, reached out a hand and brushed a lock of her hair away. I was frantically looking around for some sort of weapon, anything.
I could Tara was scared. Her eyes were open wide but she wasn’t saying anything. She was looking down at her legs, fiddling with the laces of her Converse. The bald guy still seemed very interested in her.
Abruptly, he stood up. Come here as often as you want, he said, smirking evilly. As long as you bring her along, he added over his shoulder as the three of them went back inside the house.
That little incident didn’t deter us. School work stopped us from going after school but we almost always made it there on Saturdays. It became our own little ruin on the Saturdays. We listened to all kinds of music on Tara’s iPod speakers. It was at the ruin that we discovered so much good music: Narayan Gopal, Jhilke and the Rockers, Nepathya, Sufjan Stevens, Joanna Newsom, Explosions in the Sky, Red House Painters, Sun Kil Moon. We talked about the music we listened to, the movies we saw, the books we read. Tara introduced us to David Sedaris, Prasit to Ratatat, and I Chris Marker.
It was there we had read Laxmi Prasad Devkota together, savoring the Nepali words in our mouths like strange pieces of delicious fruit. Living in Kathmandu, going to a school that taught us in English, we had learned to speak English and think in English. We couldn’t even say the Nepali numbers from one to hundred. But there, in our own little world, we read Nepali with a voracity akin to hunger. We devoured books by Devkota, BP Koirala, Lekhnath Poudyal and Bal Krishna Sama. Usually, Tara would read, enunciating every word, carefully and slowly, as if afraid to make a mistake.
And it was on that roof that I would have my final, meaningful conversation with Prasit. And it was there that I first kissed Tara.
* * *
By the end of our A Levels course, we’d grown considerably apart. Prasit had a girlfriend and Tara had an endless stream of suitors. Every day, she’d tell me some new tale of some poor sap who’d been unlucky enough to fall for her. She didn’t go out for long with any of them, just flirted and led them on mercilessly.
I started going out with a girl named Rinchin. She was Tibetan, with a curtain of straight black hair that came down to her shoulders and bangs that made her look younger than she actually was. I don’t know what she saw in me but it was she who professed interest first. I went along for the ride, unable to resist being drawn in.
The first time we missed our Saturday at Boris’s place, none of us said anything. Prasit was spending time with his girlfriend, Tara was on a date with two of the guys who liked her and I was in my room, waiting for them to call. When it became obvious that they wouldn’t, I went over to Rinchin’s and we watched Fight Club together. She cringed when Edward Norton shot himself in the face, her body tight against my side. I thought she loved me, but I never knew what I felt for her. I told her I loved her, but I doubt I ever meant it.
Rinchin was a lovely girl, but also insanely jealous. She resented my close friendship with Tara and even before myself, I believe she saw through me. Whenever we had fights, she always brought up Tara. How I was obsessed with her, how I never talked about anything but what she did. Rinchin brought everything to the surface. From the deep well-hidden dregs of my soul, she drew out my feelings for Tara, placed them on the surface of a table and made me look at them, see them for what they were.
We missed another Saturday too. The same reasons as the last time. The third Saturday, I called up Prasit and he agreed to come. Tara just couldn’t make it. It would just be the two of us on this trip. He picked me up and we made our way to the house.
As we walked down the well-worn path, I noticed differences. The shrubs seemed denser, the trees higher and broader, even the house itself seemed more dilapidated than before. It was.
An entire wall was missing, the bricks having been picked apart and then stolen. No doubt it was the work of locals, using the bricks for their own purposes. With the wall missing, it looked like a garage, with the door up, and also like a gaping maw, the inside dark and frightful. We climbed up to our usual spot and we smoked a long joint, passing it back and forth for what seemed an eternity. The sun went down fast, drenching the horizon in orange and glinting off of the distant mountain peaks.
I got into Hampshire, said Prasit suddenly.
We were leaning against the low barricade that surrounded the roof and looking up at the stars. The dark was all around us, silent and suffocating. Prasit’s declaration cut through the silence like a blunt cleaver.
I’ll be leaving next August, he said.
Oh, I said. Congratulations. I had applied to a few schools, asked for a lot of aid, and hadn’t gotten in. I had already decided on a year or two off, it would give me some perspective, I’d decided.
What’s happened to us man? I said, more to the air than to Prasit. You’re always busy, with your girlfriend, with applications, with work, with all kinds of things. Tara has her guys, her internship and her screwed up family. When are we going to listen to some Bob Dylan together?
Prasit turned in his bed of leaves. In the complete darkness, I could barely make out his shape, his face turning towards me.
That part of us is over, he said quietly. We haven’t listened to music together in months. Tara’s moved on, I’ve moved on. Maybe you should too. You have Rinchin, pay attention to her. I can see she really loves you.
I never let Prasit see how much he’d hurt me then. I had read Julius Caesar for literature class and right then, I felt like Caesar, stabbed in the heart by Brutus. Et tu, Prasit? I wanted to scream. You too? I thought the whole world was against me, against us. We were together in this. This was our ruin. This was what we were, I wanted to say. But I didn’t. Instead, what I said was, Yeah, Rinchin does love me.
We talked some more. But it was all unimportant. I couldn’t stop thinking about what he had said. About how they’d moved on. Had they really? Even Tara? Maybe that was what growing up was: severing old ties. Maybe that was what college would be for Prasit. A new start. He’d forget old friendships, start new ones. He’d reinvent himself, not that he needed to though.
We left Boris’s house at ten. The roads were relatively empty and only Prasit’s headlights broke the all-encompassing gloom. He dropped me off outside my house and before he sped off, turned in his seat and said to me, I’m having a small party of sorts, to celebrate my admission and the scholarship. It’s next Saturday. You should come. And then he sped off, spraying dirt onto my shoes.
I had become an afterthought. Once upon a time, I would’ve helped plan the party. I would’ve organized it, invited people and I would’ve been the first person Prasit would’ve told about his admission.
Later that night, I called Tara. She knew about Prasit’s decision and his party of course, he must’ve just forgotten to tell me, she said glibly. We talked for an hour. Then she went to dinner. But she called back again. And we talked all through the night.
My dad’s hell bent on sending me to India, Tara said to me, almost in a whisper, as if afraid her dad might be listening at her door. I don’t want to go. I want to stay here, go to Kathmandu University. This is where all my friends are. This is where you guys are.
I’m taking a year or two off, I told her.
I’m sorry you didn’t get in anywhere, she said instead.
How about coming with me to Boris’s tomorrow? I asked, hoping against hope that she would come.
Tomorrow? How about tomorrow evening? We can go to Boris’s and then we can crash at your place, she said easily.
We were back at Boris’s place the next day. Prasit brought his girlfriend, this girl named Aditi who complained about everything. Prasit took her for a walk around the house, and Tara and I welcomed the relief. We sat on our bed of leaves and drank our vodka.
I don’t like Aditi, Tara said matter-of-factly.
I don’t think anyone except Prasit does, I replied. Maybe she’s a good lay.
I don’t see how. She looks like she might be frigid to me, she laughed.
Are you a virgin? It slipped out. It was not the way I had meant to ask. I wanted it to be more subtle, less intrusive, but it was out now.
Why do you want to know? She asked, smiling. You don’t think I’d have told you?
I don’t know, I said. Emboldened by the alcohol, I pushed ahead, Would you have told me? I bet I was the last person to find out about Prasit going to Hampshire and I bet I was the last person you told about going to India. Why would that have been any different?
Tara looked at me. Her eyes were misty, but I attributed that to the alcohol. Her face was flushed, a red blush in her white cheeks. She stood and came closer, sat down next to me with my hand in hers.
It was summer, the air was cool, the wind rustling through the trees sounded like faint whispers and there was Ruslan Vodka burning in my veins, clouding my eyes, adding what felt like an external layer to my skin, so that when Tara ran her fingers on my arm, I felt it mutedly, as if from beneath a layer of clothing. When she kissed me, she held my hands tight in her hers, as if afraid they would escape.
After the kiss, she looked down her hands, holding my hands. The blush never left her cheeks. I felt hollow, like her kiss had sucked out what little was left inside me. I put one arm around her shoulders and waited for her to speak.
I’m not happy about what’s happened, she said finally. You don’t think I’ve noticed? I think we all have. Prasit sees it too. He’s not dumb. He probably understands it better than both of us. You know what? We’re too invested in our emotions, you and me. How bad do you think things are right now? My parents are going to divorce soon, I just know it. My grandfather is so old and sick, I’m afraid he might die in his sleep. And I’m so afraid of leaving Nepal. I don’t want to go to India. What am I going to do there? School’s over now, college’s starting and I don’t think I can handle it. There’s so much to do and so little time. Before you know it, college is over and life’s starting. It’s like it’s over before it’s even begun. And what do we do? We move from one thing to the other, like frogs hopping from stone to stone. We change schools, friends, jobs, partners, everything. Who’s going to love me? Who’s going to stay with me?
I looked at her and she was crying, dirty rivulets of tears staining her cheeks. I held her against me, and she cried into my shirt, her tears seeping through the cotton, finding their way to my skin.
I’ll love you, I said. I’ll stay with you. I whispered into her hair, muffling my words, saying them more for my own sake.
Tara looked up, wiped her cheeks with the back of her hands and smiled at me. She kissed me on the cheek and stood up to go.
I sat there for a while, not saying anything. Then I followed her down. We sat on the grass in front of the house, holding hands, tracing the lines in each others’ palms. When Prasit and Aditi reappeared, I tried to let go of Tara’s hand, but she wouldn’t. Prasit decided to drop Aditi home and head back himself so it was only Tara who came home with me. We slept in the same bed, my arm around her, my face nestled in her hair.
* * *
The last time we visited Boris’s house was almost six months later. Tara was about to leave for India, so she suggested that we go back one last time, just the three of us. After that night, the night we kissed, we never went back to the house. Something seemed wrong, something missing. Maybe it was the missing wall that made it feel foreign, or maybe it was us, but we never went back. Until that last time.
The house was almost gone. All the wood from the door frames and window frames had been used to build fires. The second floor was inaccessible since even the beams that we pulled ourselves up by were gone. Entire sections of the walls were gone and the forest had requisitioned the house for itself. Grass, shrubs and weeds blanketed the floor in some rooms now, growing rampant. Many of the trees that once formed the little canopy above the roof had been cut down, only their stumps left behind, like carcasses on a battlefield.
We sat outside and watched the house. It had been ours for a while. We had possessed it. Even the junkies had recognized that. It had felt familiar, a ruin among ruins.
Tara brought out her iPod and her speakers and we listened to Bob Dylan’s I Shall be Released. I sat between Tara and Prasit. Dylan’s mournful vocals felt naked and empty in that vast space, the harmonica sounding disjointed and broken. And yet, we listened to him in silence.
Tara would leave soon and so would Prasit. How long would I stay here? I don’t know. I don’t know if I even want to leave. I’m like Tara, afraid of the unknown, scared of what I might become if given the chance. But I had a choice, not like her, not like Prasit. Prasit was a good student, hardworking, smart and capable. It was expected of him that he go to a good school with a good scholarship in America. It didn’t matter what he wanted. And I never asked him. I never asked him if he wanted to go, just assumed that he did.
When the song was over, I stood up. They looked up at me questioningly and I told them what I never had.
You were my best friends.
They didn’t say anything, but they both stood up. We wrapped our arms around each other, our heads colliding in the middle.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this you know? Prasit said after a while. We were supposed to stick together.
We were, said Tara.
I had lots to say, but it wasn’t the right time. I don’t if the right time would ever come. Maybe the right time had been in that room, long ago, listening to Bob Dylan for the first time. Maybe I should’ve said it then, all I had. You’re all I have, I should’ve said. You’re my friends and I love you and I’m afraid of losing you. But of course, it would’ve been too early then and now it was too late.
That was it. The last time. Tara left a few days later. Prasit a few months later. I stayed back, started work and never got around to college. I worked things out with Rinchin and we were happy together, at least for a while. Then things changed again and she left me for a Swiss mountain climber.
I saw Tara and Prasit on their holidays. They’d bring back so many stories about their escapades in college. I listened to them all, sharing little in return. Nothing happens in Kathmandu, I said often. We’re plain people, I said.
10 February 2009 – 15 February 2009