The air of Shang Simla was only warm compared to the chilled and metallic air of the rumbling airplane that had deposited Maebe, minus airfare and associated expenses, into the bustling airport. The airport was almost a tourist town in its own right, and the only difference between there and home was the plastic knick-knacks being sold. Even the fast food places were the same.
Instead of there being a hostel in one part of town, and extravagant hotels in another, all tourists were isolated way up on high ground, struggling students and rich jet-setters alike. It was beautiful, and felt extravagant, and certainly kept people too tired to complain. Just getting up the stairs could make anyone feel like a sim fu champion.
The breeze, which was now decidedly cool, carried the damp scents of the city-town up and around the hills. Home, Twinbrook, smelled swampy and green - Shang Simla smelled damp and green. It was a difference that very few people could appreciate.
Familiar insect noises cried and fluttered, like a heartbeat. The wind rustled the bamboo leaves, sounding like someone had thrown the next chapter of their book to the breeze. From a distance, a tinny stereo belted out a local favorite, all strings and wind instruments, and the music wafted up to the hostel along with the scent of something that was obviously fried and also, just as obviously, delicious.
Maebe hovered on the porch. She sighed, and whispered softly, "If only I hadn't sold my guitar..." Gently, with pizzicato steps, she let herself in, found a bed, and dreamed of the next day and the wisdom and peace she would find.
Maebe had yet to hear from her parents. The last text message she received, before shutting off her phone, was from her cousin. Toni had wanted to know why Maebe had stopped answering.
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