I lay in my room at the Hotel Snow Leopard, the light slowly dying, outside and in.
Pokhara, it seemed, also suffered frequent load-shedding.
Despite that surface similarity, I could already tell this was a different place than Kathmandu. For starters: it was quiet. After what had felt like a lonely eternity in the insanity of Kathmandu, it was nice to be able to hear myself think again.
Not that they were all welcome thoughts, as I’m sure you can imagine.
In Bali, I’d picked up the habit of meditating once a day to calm my thoughts. Once I’d lost my job, and got off the midnight shift, I took time every morning to go outside, to sit and think and give thanks. I’d even maintained my meditation practice throughout our time in Taipei – somehow finding a way to make it work in the tiny, damp apartment Holly and I had shared.
Hong Kong and Kathmandu had blown a hole straight through my practice. I’d tried to meditate once, in Kathmandu, but instead of calming things, sitting quietly had just intensified my emotional distress. Things had been black in Kathmandu. Here in Pokhara, I felt that blackness lifting.
I believe in the power of places.
You’ve heard me go on about airports and ceilings already. You know my tendency to fetishize places over people, even if you haven’t bothered to think about it. After all; I chose this place over a person. Or so she would say, I was sure, despite what had happened in Hong Kong.
I still wasn’t sure what had happened in Hong Kong.
Still. Something had pulled me here, to Nepal. That same something hadn’t wanted me rotting away in Kathmandu. It had brought me here, to this quiet town by the lake. In the shadow of the mountains, I could start to heal.
It was a stupid, romantic idea, I knew.
But I’ve always been a bit of a romantic.
I sat cross-legged in the middle of the floor, closed my eyes, and tried to meditate. I didn’t get there, but I felt a flicker. And that was something.