I look up at the sky. It is dark. I look down at the sea. It is dark. In this stretch of land, there is no light other than the weak beam that comes from the pinprick of a moon. It feels further away and smaller than I remember.
I lean my elbows on the railing and I close my eyes. I take a deep breath and listen to the ocean’s waves. I pretend that I am back home in Hong Kong, standing next to you. I pretend that we are still talking, and we are still young, and we are not separated by artificial borders. I pretend that Kowloon is on the other side of the ocean, not France. I pretend that I have not set borders around myself and that I still have friends.
Falmouth, the United Kingdom. A seaside town, much like Hong Kong. Fewer lights, more trees—and borders away from you. There are horses like they do in the racecourse in Happy Valley. But these horses don’t run, and they have acres of land for them to just roam and graze. And they are borders away from home.
Even though I am wearing a thick, winter down jacket, the bitter ocean wind still bites through and I am chilled to the bone. I squeeze my eyes shut and I see just as much as when I have my eyes open. The ocean crashes into the rocks below me and then suddenly, I am back at the pier opposite the World Trade Centre in Hong Kong. You are still standing next to me, a cigarette between your fingers.
I look down at the ocean. The city’s lights twinkle on the water’s surface.
“Did I ever tell you about what Angela said to me when I left for England?” I ask you.
“She told me not to be so distant and make more friends. She knows I have a habit of setting up borders and stopping people from getting too close.”
“Ain’t that something.”
Ain’t that something.
I open my eyes and I see blackness. There are no city lights twinkling on the water’s surface and the only thing that is bright is the pinprick of the moon above me. I can see, in the distance, parked boats.
As I stare at the horizon, where France is supposed to be, I think about how funny it is that humans make up artificial and invisible borders to separate themselves from one another. I think about how sad it is that some borders stop us from bonding and getting along.
I think about what Angela said to me. I think about how I am borders away from anyone who cares for me, and how I have set up borders with those who wanted to care for me.
And so, I am alone. There is not a single soul around me. I am my own lonely country. I am my own desert island.
Categories: fiction, short stories
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