In the distance white clouds cascade down the mountain. From the alpine valleys above on Yangmingshan heights, where the clouds are sweetened with the scent of flowers growing gently in the sun. From there, enriched with the moisture from the choppy waves of the Strait, they amass like some great horde and roll down into the sea of buildings in the city below. 

I sat at a cafe along the banks of a river looking back at Taipei from one of the last open areas left in the crowded city. For some reason this area has stayed open, and farmed. I was told the families that own it refuse to sell. Others said it was in a flood plain and the cost of Typhoon proofing it was far too high. 

Either way the sun still shone down, and the play of the clouds and the mountains looked like the brush strokes of some ancient master. 

Bikes zoomed by and she turned to me, ice cream in hand. She prooffered me the spoon. The favor was Dulce de Leche, it reminded me of Latin America and the beat of cumbia played in my head, though Mandopop played over the speakers. 

The cafe stood oddly by itself along the bike path. I really liked visiting it. It felt like a little country store from my youth in Kansas- if you add mountains nearby, a crowd of Taiwanese people and a bike trail in front, and a solid Mandopop soundtrack. 

In my mind, the city seemed to be blanketed in the golden satin of the late afternoon sun and seemed in a drowsy peace. I looked over at her, she sat upright with excellent posture. Her hair was in a ponytail- which was rare, she usually kept her hair down, only raising it when she was hot or working out. She wore a black t-shirt that fit her perfectly, and she ate the ice cream lost in thought. Her eyes seemed to scan the cemented banks of the river, remarking but not judging any aspect of the scene before us. 

“This is wonderful.” I remarked to both her and the world at large. She grunted in accord with the spoon in her mouth. 

“Thank you for sharing this with me.” I continued. She turned to me and the sun caught her face. She glowed brilliantly in the light, her hair playing on her face and a smile dancing about her mouth. 

“Well, you did say there was ice cream and beer involved,” she laughed, “anytime you want to come here, I’m down. She took another spoonful and seemed to think for a second. She took the spoon out of her mouth and spoke with a mouthful of ice cream “Well,” She raised her hand to cover her mouth while she laughed “well maybe not when it’s pissing down rain. Barring then, I’m down. “

Our laughs rolled over the field and up to the clouds on the mountain, where our happiness melted in the sunlight and left us contented there in the cafe beside the river, where we remained as our love grew and the universe turned. 

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