"The sunset at Penang is at 7:16 pm"

Jonathan Neo

There are songs of the seasons and this one was Strahan singing to you as you laid your yes on my shoulder, mad, rushed, passing by outside. Perhaps the most contented silence in the whole of this island country was in the back seat of the rickets as we deepened our gravity to another being and perhaps that yes was the longest. The hardest to keep down.

The yes of a jazz cafe as four university professors croon to the pulsating rhythm of an ever-fading sunset of an unimaginably wild city – you could do anything and be anyone and, in that moment, we ordered black tea with four sugars. And a hint of elderflower. As the world around you turns to dark and the throbbing rhythm of the four seasons erupts into autumn over your forehead you say yes, yes and yes! And in an instant the joy you have heard – how do you even describe joy, maybe through the experience of people collecting stories – it occurs to you.

I was dancing with a girl in the streets of Penang and she reached her hand over, a strand of her soft blonde hair landed on my arm and she said ‘do you feel it’, and all of a sudden with Xavier Rudd in that exact moment playing in the background to the rhythmic movements of my body and hers, I am overcome by the yes! of indelible joy. I now understand this raw emotion of feeling as if you are carried in the upper winds of the eastern moon to the highest skies and your begin to become only aware of one thing – anything but yourself.

The yes of a twilight as you sit by a sunset, and she looks at you, throws stones into the water, watches them skip slowly. She squeals when she hits three.

‘Yes! I did it!’

It sounded happier in person. More real. And as the auburn canvas of Muir’s lover burned a glaze into my mind I watched you dive into the ocean to remain, a memory of busy jazz cafes street dances and a fire in a person’s eyes which I will probably only ever see once or twice in my brief life.

Issue 11
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