A Keycard & Chinese Food Meditation On Letting Go

In our collective post valentine’s haze, I think back on times in my life that embodied romance and I suppose the keycard is one of my favorite stories.

It all began with a Book of Memories.

A few weeks and nights ago I’d decided to a do a little premature spring cleaning. So many conversations with myself and endless rumination led to me believe that divesting my self of a few tangible possessions would be an excellent exercise on impermanence. You know? How things change, how quickly they change, how little we truly control? This book, I speak of, seemed to me to be a totem to all that had passed.

In truth, it’s a simple non-descript single line 90 page notebook. Like the kind you find tucked away in schoolbags everywhere. Many years ago, it was brand new and the only thing lying around when I suddenly needed to archive a memory. a sentiment. a feeling. Oddly enough, there were no words ever written on its sheets. But squirreled away amongst its pages were…Train tickets from a final journey, Flower petals from the first and last bloom, A paperclip made into the shape of a heart…And doodles of stick figures in love, dancing on a napkin.

Among other things.

So there I sat with the book in hand, flipping its page, evicting it of its inhabitants for the past many years. Occasionally I let loose a laugh, sometimes I gazed in wonderment and all the time, ignored the errant teardrops.

As I turned the page, I came across one more memory. A Hotel Room Keycard.

IMAG1832 1 A Keycard & Chinese Food Meditation On Letting Go

THIS Hotel Room Keycard

In our collective post valentine’s haze, I think back on times in my life that embodied romance and I suppose the keycard is one of my favorite stories. It’s a good story – a tale of love, sex, romance, a traitorous stomach (mine), jet lag, croissants and gajar ka halwa.

Quite simply, I once travelled 9300 miles – something like 23 hours packed in like a sardine in a tin can split among 3 plane journeys to spend a narrow window of 24 hours with a gorgeous, warm, spirited lady with whom I was head over heels in love. Now, If this was going to have been a perfect story and not a parody, we would’ve gone to the hotel room, tumbled into each others arms, made unending love and tearfully said goodbye a day later.

But that’s what I love about this memory – it was hilariously imperfect. Somewhere between the excitement of actually seeing her and my disdain for airplane food, I’d stopped eating or sleeping. As a result, I walked into the lady’s arms with a churning tummy and a tsunami of jet lag waiting to hit me around the corner.

There we were. Plush hotel room. Nervous me with a newspaper in hand, a gurgling tummy, impending jet lag reading aloud about political strife in Tamil Nadu to a bemused audience of one. Thankfully, she had her hormones about her. She got onto the bed and humored me for a few minutes. And 10 deep breaths later, without a word –  she pulled my face to hers. And just like that, we had our romance back.

After 24 hours of sexy discovery regularly punctuated by my not-so-sexy errant tummy (briefly saved by the excellent croissants at the hotel we were at) and flagging energy levels – I, myself, a tub of gajar ka halwa and this keycard boarded a flight and came back home.

As I came back to the present I chanced upon one more memory, ensconced between the book’s pages. This one achingly bittersweet. A receipt for Chinese takeaway.

At the time, my partner and I had been having problems that appeared unsurmountable. Yet after a long day away from her, I stood outside a Chinese restaurant in the Asian part of town giving her a ring to ask her what she’d fancy. I recall in that moment all I wanted to do was grab some takeout, take the short train ride back home to her, give her a hug and a kiss and the little surprise I’d gotten from the all encompassing Asian store, watch a scandinavian crime series we’d both started to like as we ate and just be with her, around her again. The love, the eagerness, the desire I felt then, gave me hope. Perhaps I thought good chinese food would be all it took to solve our underlying issues. Sometimes I really do wish that were true of all things in this world. and yes. I really really like Chinese food.

It wasn’t to be. We parted ways shortly after. The receipt, however, I kept. To me, it signified hope against all odds. A fool’s hope even, but I think that a wondrous thing.

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Valentine’s Day Cards That Remained UnsentIMAG1814 1 A Keycard & Chinese Food Meditation On Letting Go  


The Book of Memories now no longer exists. It’s remains are scattered at sea.

But as I’d flipped through its pages my fingers letting go of each, I slowly realised a singular truth.

The real memories were the ones I held in my head and not my hands.

About the author

Queer Coolie

Queer Coolie is the pink and cheery avatar of a single Indian lesbian recently repatriated from the US. She also dabbles at being the following - Editor @gaysifamily | Dimsum Lover | Kettlebell Swinger | Startup Standup | Bathroom Beyoncé