I woke up at 5:00 AM, earlier than I ever would have back home in Kent, Washington. I jumped up, ran across the floor, slammed the screen door open, and sprinted up the stairs to…the roof. I took care to avoid the cot and rocks on the ground, and picked up a pink, tattered kite from the gorund.
The sun was there to greet me, basking in its victory – I had missed the sunrise again. I took a deep breath and imagined the cool air filling my body. Across the street I could see the gray-bearded street vendor frying some Samosas for the day ahead.
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A wet samosa slipped from his hand and a skinny, black dog darted across the street to grab it. The dog ran past an excited child at the kite shop, who was bartering with the vendor, each trying to save a rupee.
Even at 5:15 in the morning, the air is festive.
I suddenly realized that this would never happen in the fast-paced, efficient environment at home. Here, my grandmother's house and that of her neighbors is separated by a short wall with an entryway. Back home, I share a forbidding fence with my neighbors. Here, I can walk to any house in a two-block radius and invite myself in. At home, I wouldn't get past the door. At home, we've forgotten what a neighborhood is.
It's never silent here. There's always the rumble of the street vendor's cart, or the gentle roar of my uncle's motorcycle. At night, you can hear the constant clack….clack of the nightman's stick.
When you open up the front gate and slip through the narrow crack to take a walk, you're immediately surrounded by people, each with his or her own story and dreams. This is true at home as well, but it's never as apparent as it is here. The man at the tea stall smiles as you meander by and says hello. There's a young boy with a towel around his neck, polishing the cups behind the counter.
I look up and watch two kites darting back and forth, and one string breaks. The pink, now-tattered kite glides down, and I suddenly wish I could stay here forever – in a place where I have the time to stand in the middle of the street watching a tattered kite glide to the ground.
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