My body is about to give out, completely and pathetically. My heartbeat is slamming against my temples. And my parents are not here to ask if I am okay. It is just me and my clammy sheets of skin. The sun is the only being watching over me and I’d rather it not, because I’m on the edge of unconsciousness thanks to its piercing arms of fire.
I am in Hong Kong without my parents for a month and have decided to go for a run at 7 in the morning. I had a very misconstrued hope that the heat would be more bearable if I sacrificed my sleep. I very quickly realized how wrong I was. My calves buzz. The sack I brought hypnotically taps on my back with each stride, making me slightly insane. But my heart flits in protest. I push harder. The challenge is exhausting, but I refuse to surrender to the blistering slabs of concrete. My feet chase each other in a pulsating rhythm; a seemingly infinite game. There is a raging desire to slow to a walk but I have to be on time for my internship in Central Hong Kong. So I run.
Until 9 am, I do not cease commotion, and where I go, the sticky sunlight follows, steadily tinting my skin a light caramel. I plop down at my desk, which is completely hugged by oatmeal colored walls. During the day, I periodically look up at this boxy space of cream and let out an internal whimper as a tribute to my aloneness. But I also breathe in an aura of self love and comfortableness to dampen the terrifying fact that I have reached one of the most important points in my life. I taste the salt around my lips gifted to me by the crushing sun, look out the window at the expansive architecture of the city, and in pours nostalgia. Clouds of images float through my head: whimsical childish laughter, miniscule knick- knacks, meowing kittens, and tiny muggy fingers clamping around adult thumbs.
I am grown. The weight of it is cumbersome and I realize that this trip is unlike the others I have taken. Here, my soul and heart are engaged in every step. With each minute in Hong Kong, I am reminded that this is the start of my adulthood. The independence has somehow altered my senses. The green tea in Kowloon has a more leafy aroma, the tips of my pinkies are smoother, and the ticking of the seconds no longer appears constant. While I leave the office and tread to the shuttle, I push aside the creeping notion that I am like a snake sloughing its paper skin or a blue crab breaking from its carapace. In no way am I leaving behind traces of my former self. On the other hand, I would like to imagine myself more as a tree, adding metaphorical halos to my oaky being, symbolizing an increased wisdom and maturity.
This trip has let me coexist between two worlds: that of necessary dependence on the love I have for my family and the newfound planet of complete independence. Walking through Wyndham Street, exploring the sounds of the Hong Kong Zoo, climbing to what seems as the top of the Earth, and scarfing down varieties of rice is the way I have learned how to find peace upon the tightrope that divides these two worlds of my life. My soul has been stirred by Hong Kong. It has fluttered awake in the midst of the oatmeal walls and the sticky sunlight.
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