It’s mid-November and my good intention of falling asleep a bit earlier than the previous night fails miserably. My mind is still wanting to play, it seems. And so, we press the ‘rewind’ button then ‘play’, on the tape cassette that is my mind’s memories. I stay helplessly awake. The distraction of a flickering light pulsating endlessly from an ethereal cable just meters away from my bed leaves my eyelids dry and irritated. Another unfortunate outcome of the pandemic with the addition of a home office inside my already small-sized bedroom.
What comes next isn’t bringing me any closer to a good night’s rest, as my nocturnal mind fills up with the repeated verses of Selena Gomez’s ‘calm down’, and now, the world’s ‘going-ons’ is flashing between the palms of my hands. The lyrics, the reels and the selection of IG video clips -all courtesy my personal algorithms chosen by the robot behind the device. My latest pop up feed – the revolutionary youth in Iran and western media’s mess of delivering their correct message – a result of our never ending paternalistic controls of world events and it’s negative impact on human rights – women, specifically. My head starts to throb.
I plead with myself just this last time to fall asleep so that the next time I open my eyes, I would be able to transport my body into my gas-fueled car and belt away to a cold spacious mall-of-a-bunker that’s guaranteed to be decked out in Xmas decorations. I could inject liquid sugar from a candy cane into my arm tomorrow morning and feel just as elated but I would need the extra jolt of Xmas jingles. The mall’s speakers will provide just that. There is the social aspect as well. Being in a mall with all the other mall zombies feels strangely comforting. They too had likely planned to go there first thing the next day, as well. Most are reaching for some external feeling of joy and others are just ready to part with a wad of cash for some therapy shopping. The mall would fill up quickly soon after I grab my expensive grande chai latte (with oat milk).
It’s 4am now and I am less convinced I will bring as much of a festive spirit along my morning drive to the mall.
It’s the same hour in which the night owl leads me to that dark familiar room. I grab a soft pillow, pull the duvet over me and lay down my aching bones. It’s bedtime and I’m ready to close my tired eyes. Im always the first to depart for the night. A sudden crackling sound of soft thunder catches my attention, but my heavy eyelids refuse to care. A passing thought surfaced from the daze as I wonder if the night will be an easy one with a quick flight into my dreams or, will reality keep me stuck on a hard seat at terminal 1 staring at a broken clock. But I don’t stay awake, and alas, I fall into a deep deep sleep.
The first sight of the morning light behind the curtains is the universe’s renewed embrace and she nudges me awake. Not a clock or early morning sound can compare with her divine grace. She reminds me that she flows through me and I am her. I have time to reflect.
We’ve passed the hour in question in silent slumber, and I smile. It’s been weeks now, I told her last night, that she is either arguing with her late husband in her sleep or whimpering. “It is time to stop”, I say with some effort of authority. She becomes still and stares in disbelief. But the universe runs through us both and we agree it’s time to move past the hurt. She is now post-surgery and her early cancer lumps removed with precision thanks to the most advanced procedure. They said she was the pioneer patient. Depression however came back in August along with pneumonia and a pinched nerve that made her temporarily immobile. The depression still lingers. No chemo needed but the radiologist will start her off with treatments in 2-4 weeks’ time. Christmas for once will not be the same and now we wait for the infection to subside. The return of the emptiness sitting deep in her chest is no stranger to us. It’s a quieter home but a safe one for healing. I too become friends with the quiet space. When you can hear a pin drop and it is loud, you too would scoff at any disturbances in one’s surroundings. Keep her safe.
I did not exist then and I will not be here forever. I am a visitor just like you, standing on the observation deck.
While we are here, we create and carry our stories, draw conclusions about her while we find comfort to ease our pain.
Say, does it really matter for the ruthless heart, a wayward wind lost from the start? For the rest of us, is there no sign to keep us hoping beyond a doubt? Is love a mould just like the rock beneath our feet you made- porous and hard?
Let’s sing and dance our way into the light then… No answer? Let’s wear our metal thread and climb back up onto the observation deck… no answer?