I don't remember nights wide awake with someone there but not there. I don't remember staying even after he had left, I don't remember drunken nights begging for a love existing only in my mind. I don't remember feeling empty, stranded, and broken. I don't remember living in fear of the stranger, wanting something concrete and spoken out loud and simple. Transparent. Honest. Colorful and bright. Light and full. I don't remember half formed sentences and explanations. I don't remember a dead year. Weighty, heavy, disembodied, suspended. Nothing held. I don't remember thinking, life is a long walk through a waterless stretch of desert. I don't remember long letters written to loved ones far away with a single desire to convince them of excitement, when in reality it was a trudge. I don't remember wanting so badly to convey my story, this story of a powerful and novel experience, the drama of my discovery of a conspicuously different culture. I don't remember a hardening heart, sensitivities calloused over, compassion merging into fatigue. I don't remember turning to disfigured conceptions of reality.
I remember a conception of reality debunked by existing reality. I remember learning to retain sensitivity. I remember somehow making a crucial connectivity with existing reality, engaging with a situation as it was found. I remember reaching out to another human being as meaning, as the most basic form of energy found in a shared experience, the wings of a hummingbird, or perhaps more subtle, a dove. The sound a faint flutter. An unwavering sense of life, of hope.