One morning in Chiang Mai I felt as if a big bouquet of yellow flowers suddenly faded inside my chest. I was sad because my good friend left Chiang Mai.
I was riding my bike looking for some happiness around the old town. In front of a temple with a golden roof I found a little shabby cafe which served bagels. Bagels with cream cheese, with peanut butter, with eggs and bacon made my mouth water. The smile of the girl who worked there was contagious. The sun was kissing my face through the window.
I kept going back to the Bagel house, but one day it disappeared! It was the two rainy weeks after New Year’s when cold shower gave me goosebumps and wrapping in thick blankets was my favourite evening ritual. But the Bagel house?
When the unexpected rainy season was over, I got my New Year gift from Chiang Mai. The Bagel House reopened in the northern corner of the old town. I would go there for my artist dates with myself, and write texts and poems, and look out of the window smelling my strong Americano, and let my soul rest.
These days, whenever my soul is tired, I go back to one of the safe spaces I created in my memory – the Bagel house, the old walnut in my childhood neighbourhood, the river in my grandma’s village, Khata Maysternya in Carpathian mountains, Pamir mountains – the roof of the world, our Kunming rooftop, the smiles of my friends and the arms of the man I love.
Where is your safe space?