Seeking Spring

A Nest for the Lonely Commuter

“Life is like commuting. I like it, but it’s a lonely journey. We meet new people, and then we leave, on to the next destination. Is that a bad thing?”

I sit back and wonder, reflecting on the last 22 years of my life. The only truthful answer I could give was to my friend’s question was: “I don’t think so. As much as I love my friends and family, I end up leaving, too, because leaving has always been a crucial part of my ambition. I left people I claim to love, detaching and then finding strength in the pursuit of my dreams. I agree that it can lonely, but I don’t necessarily think I’m alone.”

I think about mockingbirds, of how they don’t migrate even in the harshest of winter and choose to change their eating habit instead. Perhaps I’m more like swallows, or hummingbirds, who migrate to survive, to seek comfort and make living in new habitats where and when they see fit. Then, when the time comes, they will make their journey back, when the day gets warmer and living becomes more bearable, back to their nest.

“You don’t necessarily have to build a home,” I tell him, because I have known him since a lifetime ago and I don’t know if he will ever have one, like I was a few years a go – until I put my foot down to find one. “As long as you have nests here and there that can be a source of comfort for you, wouldn’t that be enough?”

I was met with silence, and I let vulnerability leak through the broken pieces that he left in me. “You’re a nest, for me. You, my best friends in Japan, my family.”

I don’t tell him about how, long ago, his nest had made me doubt of the hummingbird in me, about how I would have had been contempt (not happy) as a mockingbird, if he had asked.

(And perhaps that’s why he never did, because he knew what I was destined for and it was never to commute with him).

The smile he gives me is raw around the edges and I am both melancholic and proud of knowing that it doesn’t affect me more, after all these years.

I look at the time, think of a million of other things I want to share with him within the remaining time, consider where that would leave us, and finally let out an exhale before I share my parting words. “I think it’s okay that people come and go. It just means that they have fulfilled their purpose in your life, and you have fulfilled yours in theirs. When your paths are meant to cross again in the future, it will, and you will once again fulfill your mutual purpose in one another’s life, and it will be different than before.”

Like us, I say to myself.

“Okay,” he says, knows.

I end the Zoom and the piece of my soul that has been called for pulls me to reach my phone. I smile, indulge my soul’s quenching thirst, and text the one my soul has called home with conviction for two years now.


My soul calms, satisfied, and I thank God once again for giving me the life partner I needed (and wanted, after some time) to commute with as we navigate this complex journey called life together.

5 thoughts on “A Nest for the Lonely Commuter

  1. I was once afraid when knowing my relationship with my family felt different as I meet them again after going far away from home. Thank you for sharing this, Zha. For telling me that it is fine and normal.

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