A Piece of the Moon

Jasveen Bindra

We met over a Lonely Planet guide that had seen better days.

We circled Barcelona and Istanbul with our homework-blunted pencils. We contemplated the world outside our lives while staring out of dusty windows in New Delhi. We poured over texts on the Indus Valley Civilization while practicing our splits; we downward-facing-dogged by the Mughal ruins in Lodhi Garden; we searched for narrow corridors in middle school basements perfect for imperfect pirouettes.

We skipped class that one time to watch Blood Diamond (or was it The Departed?) and hang with boys who baked brownies without hash.

We were pre-cynical and pre-ironic and didn’t quite care about the difference between travelers and tourists and walked on cobbled streets asking for directions to Roman piazzas and gelato stands; we rode bicycles through labyrinthine lanes of Spanish neighborhoods, and packed picnic baskets for lazing away the hours by the banks of the Seine.

We are separated by rivers and mountains and nations and seasons and latitudes and (9.5) hours and a sliver of apathy.

When I smell yoga mats in a crowded class in New York, I think of us.

When I drink pamplemousse, warm beer, apple-flavored vodka, ginger-cardamom chai, and mediocre white wine with cheese spread (and nothing to spread it on), I think of us.

When I taste rum-soaked strawberry pies or butter-soaked clams, hastily-assembled fajitas, and egg parathas(1) from under a bridge, I think of us.

When I wonder about the number of tomatoes in a pound, I think of us buying vegetables off a street vendor in Bombay and getting conned.

When I see a broken-in pair of jazz shoes or regret the fading scars on my feet, I think of the hours we spent in a dimly-lit room full of mirrors dreaming of a moment on the stage.

When I dream about everything that’s possible and everything that no longer is, I think about that note in my yearbook: “If the delusions start to fade, sing ‘Stand By Me’ and remember the time we invented awesomeness.”

When I put my hand in my pocket and feel a piece of the moon, I think of when we danced on the stars.

When everything is perfect and nothing is, I think of you my huckleberry friend. I think of the original drifters now standing still.

1 Paratha: flatbread that originated in the Indian subcontinent

Jasveen Bindra grew up in India and moved to Washington, D.C. to earn a master’s degree in International Conflict. She currently works in New York at a non-profit focused on poverty and development issues in Asia and Africa. Find her on instagram @gemmazemma.