I saw her again.
I decided to meet Taipei before I leave, before I go back to my life, before the end of my journey, before it all. It was pretty depressing at first, as I rode through the cat village and it was drizzling and pouring as if the skies are foretelling my end.
I saw her at the train station, waiting for me as the raindrops dripped to an invisible symphony. The rain has stopped but the city is still soaked with heaven’s tear.
“Hey! You’re finally back!”, she said.
“Uh… Hi!”, I forced a smile.
It’s really tough to be happy when I know every step is bringing me towards the end. We then head on out to several art galleries for the last time. This time it’s just us and the cloudy skies.
We came back to the Red House where I’ll be bunking over for a week before I go. Taipei decided to spend as many days as possible as we relived the good old times, where we prowl the night market for my favorite cheese potato! And she bought me to prawning this time!
We also do our usual art space hopping where we check off a few more art spaces on my list, and also we did a few hikes before I go. We’re at the top of Jiantan where I saw her looking into the distance, her eyes sending her soul miles away and I looked out too, towards the beautiful cityscape.
“Hey… You would be back soon right?”, she asked.
“Uh, yea… I would love to. I would try to come back soon.”
“I’ll wait, so… You better!”, she smiled and threw her towel at me.
“Haha, don’t worry, you’re my family. And I am going to miss you so much.”
On the last day, I actually had an amazing hotpot with everyone I met here! Over at the Red House.
It is really heartwarming and fuzzy when everyone I have stayed together with, tenants, vendors, artists and guests all come together. We shook hands and took photos while I was drifting through the last day like a ghost. I was so overwhelmed with emotions that I don’t know how to feel. It felt so surreal, and I was so used to life with Taipei and now it felt like a part of me would forever be missing.
And then I know I have to leave.
3 of them decided to send me off together with Taipei. A fellow Traveler, a Performer, and an Artist. It was the perfect combination as they are the ones I felt closest to. I held them dear in my heart, and we all took the train in comfortable silence. And from there, it was my turn to go.
“Hey… Pei”, this time I called her by her pet name.
“Hey… You…”, she smiled, cupping her right hand over the side of my face.
My eyes welled up and I blinked my tears away, hoping to not breakdown. Because from here, I’ll leave. I’ll leave the life that I have built over the past 60 days, I’ll leave all the magic back to the place where…
I cast away the unhappy thoughts and looked at her again, this time my eyes beaming with hope, and I could see my pupils reflected from the black in her eyes as well.
Maybe her eyes are welling up too, but I didn’t ask.
“Thank you, so so so so so so much! Because of you, the Red House had so much life, and I haven’t seen it grow with so much life. Please come again, and visit soon. Okay?”, she gestured and nod.
“And here!, before I forgot”, she took out a small postcard of a fox and a pilot, handing it to me.
“Awww you! I’ll read it when I’m on the plane before I….”, I slipped it quickly into the pockets of my jacket, knowing that I’ll not bear to leave if I…
“Ahahha, now go, get back there, grow stronger and we will see you again someday!”, She shouted, waving frantically together with the others this time.
I walked and kept turning back, only to find themselves still there. Part of me wanted to run back so much, part of me wanted to throw everything away to get back into their loving arms. But part of me knows it’s time, and there is no better time than now, to go, to learn, so I could eventually live.
They’re still there until I disappeared into the corner when I peeked out and saw them wave once more before turning away.
So here’s this one to you Taipei, and everybody I’d met here.
Thank you for making me feel loved.
Thank you for allowing me to be who I want to be.
Thank you for allowing me to discover who I can be.
For that, I’ll always hold you close... In my heart.