Life for Beginners

Stories by Kenny Mah   |   Live Everything


Don’t wait for the end of the tunnel

I sit down. I’ve ordered us our coffees. You wanted the affogato and I decided I wanted one too. You smile at me shyly. It’s been too long since we’ve talked or shared a drink together. How unusual that we wanted the same thing; usually you’d go for something white, for the latte art, perhaps, while I prefer it black and unsweetened.

But we both do like our coffees.

We talk and the months — the years, really — slip away easily. I curse a lot more when I’m with you; you laugh a lot more too, I think. We recall our former colleagues and clients with fondness and fatigue. Old loves and pursuits with regret and relief. Ah, but that’s all in the past now.

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“Breath in.”

I am breathing in. Fresh air fills my lungs. My chest expands, lifts up. My eyes close gently. I am hope, expectancy, a full day about to begin. Magic, miracles, and remarkable feats await me. Anything is possible. Everything is possible.

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“Running up that hill”

Life feels like a struggle on some days. Okay, make that on many days. More often than not.

There are bills to pay and waistlines that stray. Parents are getting older and so am I. (I feel it; jetlag affects me now when it never used to.) Every plate that is placed before me is scrutinized: Am I spending too much on this? Are the ingredients carcinogenic or from factory farming? Will it make my waistline stray even further? Late nights: are you kidding me?

It’s an uphill climb.

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Nothing is better than this

Nothing is better than this:
just waiting at the departure
gate, an hour, no, two
before it’s time to board.
The anticipation is
thrilling, mere hours
till I get to see you.
So it takes more than half
a day and it’s a continent
away. But once we
share the same space,
baby oh baby,
then it’s all worth it.
(See you soon!)

“Goodnight, baby.”

You slip into bed. You pull the covers over your lips coquettishly, only your eyes and fingers visible. They wink at me, even the digits.

I sink into my pillow and I pull yours into my arm. I’m fond of stealing your pillow. I laugh and blow kisses at you. I’m fond of stealing kisses too.

We are in bed together. Almost time for me to sleep. Goodnight, baby, I say. Goodnight, baby, you say. One final kiss and I end our FaceTime session. You will go out to the phone shop to ask the nice Dutch guy to upgrade you to a postpaid plan. Summertime so it’s still bright over there. I turn off the light and dream of you in our bedroom.

Goodnight, baby.

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