Kai Tak Airport
Kai Tak Airport in Hong Kong is smack in the middle of the city. Pity planes don't fly there anymore. The landing approach is harrowing, and you get to see people cooking in their kitchens of their crowded flats, a few minutes before the plane makes a very sharp bank to line itself with the runway that has no choice but jut out into Victoria Harbour. Every safe landing seems a miracle, and you're rewarded at the end of the runway with the sight of a giant neon billboard of Knife Brand cooking oil.
She asked me one particularly horrid day while I was in Hong Kong, whether we could still be friends if we weren't anymore a couple.
I was stumped. Not because it was totally unexpected, but because I had thought she was just as much in denial as I was.
Like any relationship seemingly going good, we had plans. Long term ones. We were good for each other. We fed off each other emotionally and intellectually. And I think, that was just it. We weren't ready to stop growing. Being perfect for each other at that point in life was not on. And according to her, according to what I think she meant, I think we had to be apart to be who we were.
For those blurry, ill-defined reasons, she suggested we break up and I assented. I then went out and bought her a book on architecture, and wrote a little something in it to the effect of, 'maybe some day we'll build real castles'. She cried buckets, I cried buckets.
Next day at Kai Tak, we quietly shared lunch, and waited until it was past final call for my flight home. We embraced for the longest last time, before grouchy ground staff escorted me onto the bus that took me, alone, to SQ7 parked on the tarmac.
Shortly after, the plane shuddered into take off over Victoria Harbour, past the kitchens of the crowded flats and over the South China Sea.