• H. M. L. Swann

Day 25: Taxi


300 Days of Writing

Day 25 Taxi:

Dorlog is hard of hearing.


“BAINA UU?” he shouts into the phone, and I chuckle to myself. Standing outside the guanz, just thirty minutes from the Dragon Center, I shout back, “Baina. Baina. Haley baina. Guchin minutiin daraa irne.”


Despite my efforts, Dorlog can’t hear me across the phone. I ask the driver to shout to my friend that I am coming. The bus driver takes the plastic Nokia phone and shouts until Dorlog understands.


When the bus pulls up to the Dragon Center, the taxi drivers are already swarming another bus. But seeing fresh prey, they move towards us. As we step off, they surround us as we fight for our luggage in the under storage. I shake them away, telling them my friend is coming. Once I have my backpack I wear it on my front to avoid pickpockets and scan the parking lot for him.


Dorlog is shorter than me, wearing a cap, and smoking. He waves an arthritic hand in the air, smiling.

We greet each other with the winter greeting as it’s our first time seeing one another since summer. He asks me about Mike, and I tell him all about our work and life in the countryside. I ask him about the capital, the weather, and we make jokes about the traffic and snow. He asks me what kind of candy I will buy for my office and for Mike, and I laugh to myself. Candy from the capital is an essential item to buy and bring back to the countryside. I ask him which kind I should buy, and he advises me to get either Russian or German candy as it's “the best.”


He coughs hard as he laughs, and I feel a pang of guilt at causing him pain through our banter. I see him eye up the cigarette carton, but he never smokes when I’m in the car with him. I wish I could tell him its okay, but I understand he’s doing so to be kind so I let it be.


When we get to my guest house, we part ways. I ask him if I can call him again in a weeks time to go back to the Dragon Center and back on the bus to the countryside.


“Tiim!” he says, happily, and I wave as he drives away.



Сайхан Бичээрэй!


H



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