To connect

How do we sometimes fall so, so quick?

There was someone, from early August, in 大连. We met at a bank — me, taking out money from the account my parents had set aside for me in China, and him, depositing money he had made from his work at the naval base.

We had just under two weeks together. Little fractures of every other day were spent together by the sea or by the square or buying groceries. After all, he was there for his military training for the Benin army, and I was there to care for Grandma. One of our last conversations centered around how people would exit the elevator when they saw the colour of his skin as he stepped on.

A man yelled at us on one of our last walks together. He was shouting at me for holding hands on the street with a man with the softest, most electrifying skin I had ever touched.

And then there is the man who always seems to be in a different city. We do similar research on Indigenous language preservation, though he is eons ahead of me in intellect and academic accomplishments; he just finished submitting applications for his PhD.

The curls on his head are sometimes loud, but he is a quiet man. I don’t know why he is so generous in allowing me to frantically fill up our silences.

The geographical spaces that separate our physical bodies are made up in part by exchanges of pieces of poetry and photographs and check-ins on what the other person ate for dinner and “are you sleeping okay?”

And then there is the stubborn and stubbly boy from Stuttgart two summers ago. The language barrier proved to be evident as he took a hairdryer out of the bathroom cabinet when I asked for a hair elastic. It was a deeply intense and therefore sometimes unstable-feeling kind of closeness, the closeness with that boy with a last name too long for me to hold with even both of my hands.

What does this all mean? I have moved past kicking myself for falling for people too quickly. I think it is just a foundational part of who I am. I have decided it is okay to have bits of my too-big heart in different corners of this world. I think we all do.

Rosemary Xinhe is a third-year speech science student and poet. She likes effective communication, and shoulder kisses.