I never thought I'll write about my stories with Kyra, but walking down my Spotify memory lane today brings me back to my Taitung backpacking days, reminiscing the connections with had. Before I know it, my fingers are running across the keyboard on their own, wild and free, writing our stories.
Kyra's probably the person I never thought I'll connect with, as I awkwardly say high to afew random people in the hostel, while clearing the pool table, I started to arrange the balls inside the triangular rack while gesturing them to play.
"I don't know how to play"
"It's okay, just hit the balls and have fun"
Afew a game or 2, some people went off, some people retired to bed, and it's down to me and 2 girls (with one of them being Kyra). We exchange more stories, talking about what we do, what we love, and why we're at Taitung. Taitung by itself, you'll have to know it's a special place. You'll always need a reason to be in Taitung. Either hiding amongst the forest, leaving footprints at the black beach, or overseeing the world in the hot air balloon to surfing lessons, Taitung is a place that held different meanings to people. There isn't much to do in this sleepy town, where the frequency of buses goes as far as an hour, where people walked like clockwork soldiers, seemingly oblivious to everything else. Except that they're not. From sharing a dining table with a fellow auntie to hitchhiking, Taitung has heart. Taitung is an enigma of places, and amongst the enigma of places, I met you.
After C went to sleep, it's just me and you. And honestly, it was awkward for abit as we were both asking her questions, so technically she's carrying the conversation. I hesitated for awhile before starting to warm up to you, and I guess you did the same.
We hit right off after I start playing the songs on Spotify. You went "yes yes yes!", as I echoed the same from my heart. It was a true moment. We decided to even do laundry together and spent the night talking about more things, exploring the different bands and artists that we're into. In the spur of the moment, you said, "let's get a drink, I feel like drinking".
"Of course now! Let's go", you said with a tinge of amusement.
We went down, got a cheap whiskey and just drank straight off from there. It was a great night as nicotine filled the night skies together with the melancholy of music. Maybe it's the alcohol, but we had a really long and intense eye contact with each other that I could probably never have with anyone until this day.
"You know, this is a really long eye contact"
"I know right", I replied while not taking my eyes off you
I don't know how long we went on like that, but that night, all our favorite songs aligned like the stars that night that created this bizarre friendship.
We decided to spend the next few days together since our plans are also almost the same. Going to Lu ye, and also another night to catch the sunrise (for me), before heading up to Hua lien (for me), and you'll head back up to Taipei. We headed out the next morning together towards Luye, feeling alittle hungover from yesterday. We found out that we missed the train, and I decided to hitchhike.
"The next train is only in 2.5 hours"
"Well we can wait"
"Yes, of course"
We walked back to the train office, to borrow a paper and a marker in which you wrote down hitchhiking in Chinese. I like how amused the staff are and some laughter filled the air of the quiet train station that echoes across the halls. We walked out to the roadside, and I began doing the universal sign while waving the newly created signboard. After 15minutes, we got ourselves a ride. The trip to Luye was an interesting one since you're there for (Ah Rong), and I'm going there to meet up with a friend. We caught up back and decided to make our way back since it's dark.
"I'd been wanting an English name, help me think of one haha", you said
We went through afew name before I decided to settle on this one name that I always thought was special, because of the Y.
"Kyra", I said. "Kyra with a Y", "K-Y-R-A".
I saw your face light up by the bus stop and before I know it you're going "Yes yes yes, Kyra!", it was a eureka moment for the search for your English name, and I'm glad that I'm able to play a part in helping you discover it.
We took a bus back and got dinner together, and we brought some food back to the hostel to go with the remaining bottle of whiskey. We practically spent the night gathering the rest of the people to hang out in the hostel together, this time 4 of us. People started retreating again at midnight's arrival, and soon it's just us again. We decide to continue hanging out, and I told you that I'm still determined to catch a sunrise here in Taitung.
"I want to catch a sunrise or sunset in each and every town/city of Taiwan I'd been to", I said.
"Let's go later"
We took an hour nap before clumsily made our way down the hostel stairs to get a quick breakfast before using the hostel's bicycle to cycle to the beach. The whites are soaring across the skies, while we try to pedal as fast as we can, afraid that we'd missed the moment.
We reached the beach, only to realize that a portion of the
“Are you sure that the Sun is this way?”, Kyra asked.
“Yea, maybe he’s late. Let’s just wait for a bit”, as I gestured the source of the light leading to the educated guess of the position of the sun. And then a ray of light shot over as if a laser pointer. The beams of the burning gem glowed across the skies.
We stood in silence, as I uttered my wishes for the clouds to clear under my breath, and we wait. It was a moment filled with fatigue and excitement as we saw the sun slowly peering out from the clouds.
“Yes! He’s here”, I said.
The orange lushed through the gaps of the clouds, as if a shy fox peering through the bushes, looking for the little prince. We saw the sun slowly emerge before rusting out from the top.
As much as it is timeless, we saw the gentle fox dipped right back into the bushes before we knew it. The passing clouds made us play hide and seek with it before he eventually ran into the forest.
“I’m glad we caught it”
“It is good enough”
“Yes, it sure is. I can’t believe I’m getting a lot of goosebumps now”
“So, what are you going to write about it as this time?"
“Well, wait and find out! I’ll send it to you when it’s out”
At this moment, I'm still typing away, while you walked towards the ocean, heeding her calls. The tide gestures us, beckoning us into the sea, with open arms. That day felt like the end of our adventure as we'll possibly never see each other again. It was a sad moment, however fleetingly beautiful.
We went back to take a rest, where I experienced an awkward slight earthquake, before we head off for lunch, as I'll see you off first since your friend is going to pick you up to head back towards Taipei. We chuckled over lunch, recounting the moments we had, the songs we sang, that day the stars heard all of our secrets, and we'll very much rather keep it with the night skies that day. You promptly pushed a postcard into my hands, asking me to keep it and only open it after you'd left. Before we know it I'm waving goodbye by the road as I see you zooming down the street, before turning right into the corner.
I walked back, packing my back. I decided not to open the postcard fearing that the moment would be lost, and I'd like to savor it for abit. It's been a moment of adventure, a story that'll light me up whenever I went through memory lane in my head. I finished packing my back and had a brief conversation with the staff before I exchange contact with and I gave one last look at the hostel before walking down the stairs. I ran my hands across the railing, looking over the place. pass the bicycle parking garage at level one. There, I decided to read the postcard before I leave this place.
And I smiled.