Give me

Give me back the unbearable heat of weekday mornings, when my bike wouldn’t start at first kick and I’d have to kick it to life over and over again until I was sweaty and breathless and thoroughly annoyed. Give me the locals gaping at me as they drove by. Give me the red dust of the dirt and the acrid smell of the burning waste on the side of the road.

Give me kids without helmets driving way too fast in their school uniforms, give me orange-decked monks smoking cigarettes and laughing at the back of ancient Korean moto-taxis. Give me an eardrum-piercingly loud wedding that blocks up an entire road for two days, give me a traffic jam in front of the market at noon on a Friday and the smell of fish and steam-cooked corn mingling sweetly.

Give me nosy gas vendors who only sell tiny cans of Coke and banana fritters for breakfast. Driving one-handed while eating breakfast with only one eye open and missing a flip-flop when it is just too early to go to work. Driving through flooded streets, unable to avoid potholes and falling on my ass in muddy waters.

Give me late night rides by the river when the moon is just too beautiful to let go. Give me tingling arms after driving for hours in the afternoon sun. Give me itching knees and drying pants while driving home from swimming at the dam. Give me back all my shitty bikes: Rocco, Alejandro, Baby and Scott. Give me one more afternoon with a bike under the Cambodian sky. But then, give me something to come home to.