On earth we’re briefly gorgeous

On earth we’re briefly gorgeous … at the intersection where Ocean Vuong’s moving words from the book entitled the same reminded me of my story.

“Autumn. Somewhere over Michigan, a colony of monarch butterflies, numbering more than fifteen thousand, are beginning their yearly migration south. In the span of two months, from September to November, they will move, one wing beat at a time, from southern Canada and the United States to portions of central Mexico, where they will spend the winter.

They perch among us, on windowsills and chain-link fences, clotheslines still blurred from the just-hung weight of clothes, the hood of a faded-blue Chevy, their wings folding slowly, as if being put away, before snapping once, into flight.”

From On earth we’re briefly Gorgeous

And from somewhere in my own memories:
We reached the UK on a cloudy day in May. I remember the taxi journey from Heathrow to a flat in Thornton Heath, South London. Dad had gone a few weeks earlier and rented a flat. The house felt silent still, full of undisturbed shadows when we reached there. We didn’t stay here long but it still felt important to spread our luggage, drop our crumbs on someone else’s sofa and soak the air of the flat with the smells of Indian cooking. My brother told me with his 15 yr old knowledge, “ You take the bed in the living room. That way you can watch films after everyone’s gone to bed”. I lay awake that first night in the living room sofa bed, lying in the vacuum of sounds that no longer came, a darkness which was not broken by the wooden thumps of the night watchmen. Instead there was the intermittent brooming of car engines from the main road which gradually seeped in and I stopped waiting and let go.


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