An Estimation of a Memory

This image is no more reliable than my memory.

As E and I headed up to Guangzhou, the morning sunlight streamed in through the large windows, dappling the train coach with gold. The repressed scene of the same July sunlight at a higher latitude filling a Moscow train hit my senses with a certain vengeance. I was sitting beside L after a day out in the city, heading back to Malakhovka where we were staying with D’s sister. I looked across the aisle to see the warm light casting a golden lining over D’s hair as industrial buildings and urban graffiti sped past us. After considerable hesitancy and checking more times than necessary that L was indeed fast asleep, and feeling increasing anxiety with the approach of our destination, I finally picked up my bag and clambered over to lay my head on D’s shoulder. It felt like some kind of transgression for leaving L, and for offering something to D that I well knew I wouldn’t hold myself to, but I could not resist the feeling of being wrapped up in him again.

Beside me, E continued to talk about his upcoming Russia itinerary. I shut my eyes to try to imprint that memory of the Moscow train on my eyelids, but it escaped me. Yet when I opened my eyes, its vividness felt too overwhelming. The thought that I wanted to go back to Russia crossed my mind, but I knew it would be pointless. It wasn’t that place I wanted, it was that time, when I was so close to both of them. But I knew: 回不了去。

A burden turned, testing the ground with its paws, and finally settled itself over my heart, nestled in between the aorta and pulmonary artery. It’s been two years. I’m looking for a resolution, but I don’t think there is one.

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