There’s a cacophony of crickets, frogs and dogs barking that wake me before my friend, Jodi, does.
Laying on the bamboo floor in her hut constructed of the same at Elephant Nature Park, I am still. Present in the total darkness as the world softly whispers outside the slats in her walls.
Her soft footfalls come from the bedroom and into the main room where I am splayed out, tucked under some thick blanket a top a Thai mat typical of what people sleep on.
She approaches me, and in a hushed voice so as not to wake her son in the other room, or the two dogs and cat somewhere nearby, she asks if I’m awake.
“Yeah,” I whisper back, slowly peeling back the blanket from my body and standing up. The floor creaks softly the way woven bamboo does when walked upon. It’s a sound I haven’t heard for months. Since I left the park in December 2014 to start one of many new chapters in my life.
“Follow me,” she instructs, opening her front door.