Friday, April 22, 2016

Today I needed a minute. Because our office is a studio it's usually hard to find a break if you need one.

I abruptly got up and walked out- waddled down these oh-so- familiar streets. It's funny that after all this time, my brain still tries to rationalize, compartmentalize sad news. It always surprises me the things that will impact me at this point-hit hard and burrow down deep and lodge there for awhile, as I try to make sense of this broken world.

I walked down the street, passing vendors, apartment complexes, shops, and song tow drivers that I frequent.

I remembered how me and one of my first colleagues joked about what the Thai neighborhood thought of us, when we first started frequenting this area. There's a bench at a sort of gathering place in the neighborhood. Always I met clients there, then followed them to their apartment,spent some time there then came back and waited for my next client to pick me up. We often joked people must wonder the nature of our short and frequent visits with these young men. We got many questions and even more looks those first months.

But now, now they know me. I'm friends with the drivers, the vendors, the 7 11 workers. I know this neighborhood better than my own, and I am known here better than in my own neighborhood. Even as I am walking and reflecting and a little bit sad and shedding a tear, I know this behavior will be seen and discussed amongst this Thai community, and eventually trickle into the gossip of the Somali community that lives here as well. So be it.

I wander towards the mosque, and cut through the short cut to the klong. It's disgusting and smelly but a little bit private. So many memories at this mosque, passing through this mosque. My day for the last two years marked by the call to prayer. Something I will very much miss. I laugh to remember the home we tried to rent by the klong, the many trips to Ali's.   The countless times I piled into the Song tow with smelly teenagers.

I'm not sure if nostalgia puts this new news in perspective in a better or worse way. Only I think of the endlessness of it all. The fights and victories and defeats. And I guess, in the end, how it's all worth it for just a small victory, even if that victory is just that you smiled, patted someone on the back, and cared for them-bore witness to their story, even if in the end there was no justice found, no happy ending.

There is an immense amount of strength in those who stubbornly get up day after day and do this work, despite the reality of it. I have found that strength in me.

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