When you first told me about stateless people who live in Borneo, in the middle of the ocean we were in the Gili Islands, waiting for a boat to Bali. I was exhausted from booze, sun, and sleepless nights, and I told you angrily that if you don’t stop talking, I will jump into the water. You sipped a Purple Ceiling cocktail and said: “Go ahead and jump, I don’t think you’d make it all the way to Bali.”

Three years later, you are not living on this earth anymore, and I am in Semporna waiting for a boat that can take me to the place where Sama people live. I’ve been traveling from island to island to make peace with the past. What do I want? Why am I always on the road? What am I trying to achieve? What am I looking for? Is impermanence attached to my soul like dead weight? Is it the reason for all my actions?

“All conditioned things are impermanent; all conditioned things are painful, all dhammas are without self.”

The impermanence of things.

I’ve had bad dreams. Every morning I wake up sweating, but I don’t remember what I dreamed at night. I feel my thoughts are an extension of me, and they run parallel to my life in different dimensions. An image appears and later vanishes… a trace can be found, but it’s lost somewhere deep inside the labyrinth of my brain. Sometimes I wonder whether those dreams are really dreams or are they a hybrid sleep-wake state of consciousness.

I still have your phone number on my cellphone. A few times I even tried to call you. I imagined you lying on the bed of a cheap hotel somewhere on an island. You are sleeping. Your eyes are closed, and you have a smile on your lips. I could feel the beating of your heart. I dialed your number. After one beep, I hear the most annoying robotic voice: “The number you have dialed is not in service.”

You showed me an intact, blurry fragment of my past life like a distorted hologram projected nonstop on a cracked wall. You taught me to love without understanding that life’s essence is still to love, and our feelings are illusions anyway. Existentialism entered your consciousness “like an elephant entering a dark room.” You accepted it, and you didn’t even laugh when you realized that the “elephant was there to stay.” Your life formula: ‘existence precedes essence’ antagonized me, for I didn’t share your belief in creating my own values. For you, it was the only way to understand life. It was an axiom.

I felt void.

I was tired…

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