I didn't know it then but his magnolia walls washed in 15 watts of pale yellow light would get embedded in my heart as an image of warmth of home. Everytime someone would utter the word 'home' after this moment, this image would flash before my eyes, like the mouth waters at the smell of food.

And will the fingers tremble? With the memories of a touch, when I found how erotic touching a face can be. How impossible it was to not want to run my fingers on those lips. Will you tremble my fingers?

Seasons and full moons have passed since then. I've broken a knee, a wrist, and more than once, my heart. And each time I lay suffering, looking up at the roof wondering what shape the stars are collected in above it, imagining a flock of wild geese flying silently between them, like a memory of migration from dust covered streets of old Delhi to snow coveres streets of Princeton one icy January night, with a tear stuck in throat I would feel his gentle kiss on my forehead, feeling it with closed eyes, standing against a wall. The 15 watt pale yellow light washed magnolia wall.

And each foreign meal I have had since, each unfamiliar meal; each bed I have slept in, each lesson I've learnt, from finally understanding that they say "for here or to go" at McDonald's, learning to operate an ATM machine, the vending machines, right hand drive, pressing buttons for walk signs, I've felt I've taken another step towards him. Moved a little closer; walked towards him a little more. From my side of the world, to his.

We sat on the carpeted floor facing each other that night not talking much. We asked each other about home and I told him of mountains, he told me of lakes.

smell | sound | sight | taste | touch