I crack open one precious mangosteen,
A bite of food to ground me from the night’s ceremonies.
The red skin stains my hand as I attempt to peel myself away from the tribe.
The rain has stopped, my ride home will be quiet.
This part is all downhill – I don’t even need to peddle
As I coast past palm trees and rice paddies,
The sounds of water running off plants
Mix with the frogs and the crickets
And my sighing tires on fresh wet roads.
The sky is empty with the new black moon
The single spot of my headlamp guiding the way ahead.
Mind wanders to the requests just made of me –
Social media posts, youTube videos
Going full power with the spoken words that seem to stir my brothers’ hearts.
But it wasn’t until I offered my iPhone to the Gods
That I was able to
The gentle pull of the open road reminds me
I don’t have to figure it out now.
As a shot of adrenaline kicks in with the barking of wild dogs
And “please don’t chase me”
Becomes my only thought.
I turn a corner onto the central highway.
And for the first moment in my weeks here,
I can imagine this place 10 years ago
Before the throngs of tourists
Drawn to this place to meet themselves,
Tickled by endless entertainments
Along the way
I press open the squeaky gate
To the family compound where I live now.
I’ve never seen it closed before,
Must be my latest night out yet.
As I return my bike to my favorite hitching tree
I notice the banana leaf and rice still sitting beside,
Leftover from the morning’s offering
Someone had cared enough
To ask the Gods that I travel safely
Tomorrow, I must share more mangosteens.
(Photo credit: Thomas Hubauer)