As it is with most people, even I tend to mythify my past, turn it into a montage of events and coloured emotions. However, of late I have realised I tend to remember some sequences that repeat in the theater of my mind over and over again. I suspect when I am old and starting to suffer from memory loss (I know for certain this is the disease I will inherit from my genes), they will form a tapestry of my life and maybe that is all I will remember from the act of living.
If I packed my life into a neat little suitcase and throw it over the edge of the ocean, would it get caught in the dizzying of the universe as it shimmers around us. Would it spill open and tumble out into the palms of someone waiting to catch me? Would it fall freely unencumbered by the weight of everything that tied it down and be set free?
I keep thinking of what I could have done differently the night my dad had a heart attack. It plays over and over in my mind. Some nights after I have returned from having a glorious day, been given a free berry-tart at the bakery, rode the e-bike, bought a new lip balm, I come back and be haunted by the relentlessness of “what could have been”. It’s something I will never get over, something I will take to my grave. There will be other griefs, of course, maybe that of a disappointed child or that of the book I didn’t write, but this will go along with it. I have realised tend to live in a cycle of the could-have-beens rather than making peace with what has-been. It is heartbreaking and tiring.
What if grief creeps up on you like an old friend in a new city wanting to know how you have been since? Since when, you might ask? How can you stand at the intersection of old roads and new? How can a phrase of a word describe your years upon months upon days of trying and being? How can you be someone other than this person who has been stopped at the sidewalk of familiarity in an unfamiliar city? What if grief showed up just like that?
It has been a long trip now and from time to time, I think about going home. I think about my parents and my friends. I miss them. I think about the life I made back there, one which snugly fit, of the warmth of my people, and the incessant rain. The unforgiving, unrelenting rain. It is not someplace I want to escape. Change? Sure, yes. But not escape. Except maybe, just go away for a while just to hear the sound of my thoughts. From time to time I think about going home, just to belong.
Would we be any different if other people didn’t exist? Would you love me more? Or less?
There’s this scene in ‘This Is Us’ where Randall and Beth’s house is full of guests days on end. During that time, Beth tells them she’s going for a conference out of town overnight and she’ll be back the next day. Later that evening, Randall finds her shopping at a supermarket in the opposite direction of where they live. When he asks her, she confesses she was just going for a stay-cation by herself, to have some mindbogglingly unhealthy food and wine, and watch her favourite TV show. They argue about it for a minute and then Randall tells her to go ‘coz it is important to her. Beth, being a woman, doesn’t go.
This is the scene I think about when I see around me how much women sacrifice their own space, time, wants, and needs to put their loved ones before them. Nothing wrong with it. I’d do it myself. But it amazes me how it is everywhere I look. It was in the way our grandmothers and mothers brought us up. It is in our girlfriends. It is in our house help. It is in our reddened blood.
I wish I learned how to put myself first. I wish my sister did it. I wish my girlfriends did, too. I wish my mom did it the most.
It is as if bleeding comes to us naturally, ordained by the way we are wont to live our lives. As if God didn’t tell Eve just to refrain from the Fruit of Knowledge, but trick her into believing that if she went after something for herself, the heavens would open up gushing forth with blood. And yes, ever since, they did.
At some point, I might stop writing about God or the Universe and forget about it like an old friend. At some point in my writing, I guess, though this is not that point.
For posterity, it must be known that an infinite amount of magic can reside inside an moment or an experience. It could be walking through the forests, climbing mountains, writing a perfect poem, baking a loaf of bread, embracing the silences of your mind.
It is this moment of infinite magic, the indescribable kind that we try to catch and put inside a glass box for everyone to see and sell. And yet it is found only when we lose ourselves, forget everything that ties us beyond and answer to the magic that beckons.
Maybe this is God — letting yourself go when you respond to something greater than you, something invisible.
Maybe this is what is meany by finding the universe in the grain of a sand.
I think about you, of the days that the orange sun set upon the floor of my house, of the dried lavenders on my dressing table. It has been a long time, you say when you call. I can’t hear you well. The line keeps disconnecting. A cat meows underneath my window. I don’t know what you’re saying. But I don’t hang up.