I was trekking with two strangers into the remote mountains of Nepal.
My relationship, my job, and my life all hung up in the air—juggler’s balls abandoned to the whims of gravity—while I walked upwards, and away. The absurdity of the situation didn’t escape me. It seemed almost mythical, like something out of a movie. Walk into the mountains and return enlightened.
I took a few more games from the Malaysian. Either he had gotten too stoned, or I was starting to understand his playing style.
“Tomorrow, we will play again?” he asked me as I stepped back from the board.
“Nah, I have to go trekking tomorrow,” I said. “Need to redeem your reputation, losing against this youngster?” I say, half-joking. He had handily taken the majority of games from me. I knew he was the better player.
“Don’t flatter yourself,” the Malaysian said, looking down. “You are not that young.”
“I’m only 23!” I protested.
“Exactly,” he said. “That is not that young.”
I stepped back, slightly offended. He was probably right. He seemed like the sort of man who was usually right about things.