Miro hugged me. I sat in the middle of his bed while he gently brushed out the half-formed dreadlocks I had amassed from the sun and sea. I was leaving Bali in a few hours. My shoulders slumped forward dejectedly, and I felt his arms around me, pulling me in closer.
“I don’t want you to go,” he whispered.
“I wish I didn’t have to.” I could barely recognize the sadness in my own voice.
Suzi and Miro’s house had become a paradise to me. In just a few short days, Miro and I had survived a close encounter with Satan-worshippers in an abandoned theme park, gotten a joint acupuncture session together, and spent hours on his favorite beaches. His friends taught me how to open beer bottles with a lighter and crowded around excitedly when I popped open a Bintang on my first try. Miro and I ran naked through a thunderstorm one night, laughing joyfully as rain kissed our faces and moonlight glistened across our pale skin. The heavens opened up for us, and it felt as if we were seen and blessed by the eyes of the Universe.
And so my journey in Bali ended in a strange combination of miracle and grief. After brushing my hair Miro played Hurricane by Bob Dylan. We lay on his bed in silence, tangled together as the threat of tears loomed. Somehow we both got up and frantically packed my duffel bag, shoving in the smooth, round piece of coral that he gave me. The taxi arrived, Suzi and Miro hugged me, and suddenly I was in front of the airport, immersed in a mythical battle scene of gold and white statues. I let myself cry when the wheels of the plane left the runway.
Sometimes, when I close my eyes and find a rare kind of stillness, I can still feel the rush of wind on my face from riding on the back of Miro’s motorcycle. This memory is timeless. I relive the tenderness of holding on to his tanned shoulders as he steered us through the twisting streets of Bali and over the threshold of each unknown adventure. To this day I am grateful for the thunderstorms and hurricanes of life, for the ways that they uproot and upend surfaces to make space for unimaginable wonder. I will always remember Bali as a time of dissolution and discovery, of dancing with ghosts and running through storms with the promise of what is to come.