Three hours. I kept checking the time. It’s been three hours since your plane supposedly landed, but you are nowhere to be seen. I stood at the second floor overlooking the arrivals area of the Bali airport, looking, searching for your blonde hair and tall frame every time that sliding door opened. The worst case scenario. My mind always went to the worst case scenarios.

Then, I see you arrive, holding your flip-flops in your hand, looking obviously flustered, with a security guard beside you. You searched the faces of the hundreds of drivers sent over by the different hotels in Bali, holding name plates of guests in front of them. I shouted your name from the second floor and you looked up and smiled. You looked relieved. I felt relieved, too. You were here. That was enough for now.

Why aren’t you wearing shoes? I asked but you weren’t paying attention. Your expression was still a little panicked, uncertain where to begin, so we start with the most basic thing. Your ATM was not working and can I loan you 300,000 Rupiah to cover the Visa. Of course. Of course. Then you get your passport back and we walk and I ask again.

Why are you holding your flip flops?

They broke.

Are you okay?

And so, you explained. About the incorrectly flagged hijacking that resulted in police bursting into the plane you were on, an hour after it had been sitting on the tarmac. Sixty countries, you said. That’s how many you’ve been to. The worst thing that’s ever happened to you, you said. It wasn’t, of course. I know. You’ve told me many stories. But right now, in that moment, it was.

It had been a battle for you to get to Bali. Passport lost in the mail. Getting passport rushed. Rescheduling flights. Rescheduling hotels. Now, this.

***

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Sanur was a good choice for us. You couldn’t have been clearer about how much you disliked the very busy Kuta, so I avoided that as much as I could and researched options. Quieter, more family-friendly Sanur was the choice I picked. I picked the guest house, too. The Little Tree House. It looked perfect. Small enough that no crowd bothered you, but nice enough to relax, and close enough to the beach. How can you go wrong?

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Sanur felt like a sleepy suburb to me. One of those suburbs we have in Manila where I grew up, except this one was close to the beach. It was a perfect place to relax and forget about all the trouble you went through and not think about your trip to Papua for a second.

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Remember that day we woke up early to watch the sun rise? It was beautiful. Or the day we rode our bikes out to the grocery store to buy supplies for cooking? I loved cooking with you. Then eating. Remember that local restaurant in we ate at three days in a row? That was fantastic!

***

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Bali had been a really good trip for me. An island I had never really been curious to visit in the first place has completely changed my mind. I get its charm now.

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