Parents- our first cognizance in the universe. Sanctuaries emphatically residing in our memories. Roaring synapses of incense beheld with tactility- ramifications in variety for each individual.
24th- My best friends’ mother passed away- This was the third time in my life I was woken up to the news of death- I hadn’t slept the night before, my cellphone rang but I didn’t pick it up, awoken I checked to see who it was and I had received more than one text from different contacts
“Shani and Mani’s mum passed away”
The fleeting seconds were slow, I was already drowning in the past and nightmares- I did not know how to respond, I couldn’t feel anything and all I uttered back was,
If it’s possible please come over”
If I could trade a limb to have felt pain at that moment- I would have- but I hadn’t. I went to my mother and broke her the news- she remained silent and I hated it. I did everything as fast I could and it was dumb luck there was a raincoat laying conveniently on the bed- in this killer summer this year there was no hope for rain but the sky was indeed weeping that day. I was contemplating if I would be able to hug my mother, things were not good between us but we did and she told me to convey her condolences. I took off on the motorbike.
As each blurry and soaked scene passed by my thoughts kept running faster than the engine-
What was I going to do?
Should I visit my father on my way back?
Will I feel anything?
But the only thing I felt was time slowing down- each minutes was too many nights my thoughts kept me awake. On the last turn a faint palpation went through me – this place was the closet home of all the homes I had lived but I felt like an immigrant.
There stood Mani- on the lane, his tearless eyes searching out for a ghost. I walked up to his blank expression greeting me- a sight my eyes couldn’t meet, I took him in hold and I could feel his pain watering up my eyes- He muttered a reassurance I didn’t register- A part of me kept pushing to utter but I couldn’t find words. it lasted a year-long minute.
I pulled back to meet his eyes but I failed and looked away to see his big brother- his tears visible, I walked up to him and met his eyes, they were easier to look at behind the cold glasses- I took him in hold and he whimpered
A hush finally escaped my lips and my hands rubbed his back- muffling his whimper. I felt my heart breaking and I was glad- I wasn’t dead inside. I nuzzled my face with his and I moved back to meet his eyes- I asked him what happened and he told me. Pulmonary fibrosis.
I wasn’t aware. We stood in silence next to each other- I kept staring blankly at the air hearing her voice echo- The conversations I had with her, every time my face turned I thought I’d see her standing behind me. I couldn’t believe she was not here anymore. Soon I saw their father hiding behind a mask receiving hugs and condolences- He kept quiet.
There were too many people, too many for me to approach him but in time they scattered and we both were left under the gloomy tent- trying our best not to make anymore eye contacts until one slipped from both of us. He approached me and It gave me the courage to approach him. As I hugged him like a cripple with no voice- he tried to utter and through his broken voice he said
“She loved you all like her own”
His mask breaking- I nodded with my eyes closed but I had no words- but it was true, they both loved all of us the same- from kids to adults now.
I sat with familiar faces- friends of friends, and I realized most of the people there were busy with their own conversations- smiles, muffled laughs- was I seeing callousness I wondered- Mani and Shani were attending to things, I wondered what they were seeing, if they were seeing what I did- but I shook my head and realized I couldn’t comprehend walking in their shoes.
I looked at her laying peacefully in the casket, I didn’t believe it was her, I couldn’t feel anything- until her voice echoed again in my head, the prayer of padre faded in the background and as they placed her in the grave- I stood in my place but I was in my memories- time had passed by too quickly and the roses were laid.
I closed my eyes and said my final good-bye to her.
In the middle of the night,
I was on my way back home
Tears kept watering my eyes
Everyone I loved Kept flashing in the red lights
It was a long ride back home.