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Louder Than Silence

Unlike my first visit to Mt. Popa, there was a thunderstorm hanging from the sky this time around. Almost three years ago, under the brutal heat of September sun, I watched the trees and the dust of Bagan at the feet of Mt. Popa from the top of the stairs - half out of breath, but in awe. There's nothing much changed of this place than three years ago.

We spent half of the day in complete silence and drove back to old Bagan. He let me sink in my own thoughts as we walked along the dusty road. There was no pedestrian walk, but there weren't many motorized vehicles passed by either. Our most potential thread on the street should come from the cow carriage and the thick dirt that got into our eyes every time the wind blew. The sun was almost set when we decided to climb up one of the temples. We picked the one with the least people seen around it. 

He found a narrow passage with ruined stairs that lead to the rooftop of the temple, where he let me climb before him. I could feel his gaze from behind my back. We walked around the roof, on the top of the half-ruined concrete block temple, from opposite direction. The time passed as we lost in our own quest of shadows, and angles and sights.

As I laid my back on the wall, he turned his back and paused for a split seconds. "Are you tired?" he asked me in between the blink of his eyes. I produced a laugh, and I could tell the sense of proud in his face - "Emotionally tired," I murmured. He tilted his head and pulled the corner of his lips, shaping a half-smile - like he knew exactly what's going on in my head. That this silence, was loud and clear enough.

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