Unloading my Pack

Brought my sadness to south east Asia, packed tightly in my new hikers backpack. Ready to be unloaded, released at a temple, in quiet meditation on a beach at sunrise, after too much laughter with my daughter. Instead I find Thailand has its own sorrow, so deep so pervasive, there is just no room for mine. Grief rides the rickety bus. Hopeless shuffles the feet of even the youngest. Heat slows everyone, there is no escaping the reality of destroyed buildings, lost generations. Rubble and rubbish at the foot of signs for new smartphones.
Riding the night bus overflowing with mattey haired hipsters whose clothes are more authentic than the locals we stop to pick up, I watch as the mopeds swarm us, lead us like pilot fish to the whale. Or is it a shark? During the ride I’m not sure which belly I’m in and can’t sleep the narco-induced slumber of these kids. So I carry the anxiety for my bus mates while the rest jolt and toss and shift but still they sleep. Odors joining, mixing with no concern for boundaries or states rights. Germany Canada Finland France USA.  There are no superpowers, just dust and yesterday’s dirt or maybe the day before and a bit of mosquito spray with incense. I’ve lost track of how many days I’ve worn which clothes, having already shed some at the last two hostels to lighten the pack. With each repacking I evaluate what is critical to carry further into the trip. The sorrow has begun to weigh too much but now in Cambodia I see they too will mock my grief. Only a generation long? Just one year of sadness? How can I give them my tears when they continue to mine bones in the killing fields. No, I came to the wrong continent. A plump middle aged white woman taking artsy pictures of their homeless cats and broken buildings, their old women selling the same pots of noodles her mother and hers before made, this woman has such audacity to dump more sorrow on the broken backs, barely beating spirits. It is truly the rich who seek purpose. The rest seek survival

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