Sleep arrives like death—sudden, uninvited, overpowering. I let it overwhelm me dreamlessly, snuggling into my tired bones, forgetting promises of going to the gym or being productive. Sleep is immediate. When I wake up, 2 hours have passed.
The tiredness is new, it is a form of protest. I have never before had to exert my body like this, even if this was mild. My build is non-athletic, atrophiying slowly towards early old age. This is a jolt to the body. Today, I ferried a laptop between tables and departments, standing for hours, letting technicians take my place in taking turns. There aren’t enough chairs. Just like my old job. When I came home, my bones ached, angry. Don’t let me stand so much! they seemed to scream. I sniggered. There is not a lot i can do about that.
My job is now affiliated to Stanford, so I am indirectly serving them. Technically, I work for them. Isn’t that the strange how fate functions? But everyone is giving me my space for now, so I am relieved. It’s not as terrible for now. You could actually say I am comfortable, the job is not as hard as I had perceived it to be, and my mobile phone doesn’t have dreadful, persistent callers. For now. I am absorbed and at ease at the workplace. I am relieved for now.
I read the Lowland when I am home and am both amazed and saddened by Lahiri’s lines, like they seem to profess and underline the apparent blandness of American immigrant life, so that a profound loss occupies me and I chide myself for even reading someone as depressing as her. I want someone to say things can be fun here too. I need happier books, light laughter and vitality.
We were not made to give up: we were tailored to survive, we were molded to persist, we were born to live. So when N tells me: did you know, he plans to give up on his phD? I do not answer her. Because I think there is much more to you than just that. There are places that we have to return to—an eventual culmination. Like embracing our beginning. You will never forget your roots—but look at yourself. Look at yourself better. This is symbolic, this is survival. Give up when you feel life has greater purpose, give up for something better, something stronger. I will applaud you then. Don’t give up to cower in the shadows, don’t give up to return with a sorry excuse, don’t call it a mistake. Own your hate for the place. Own your solitariness, and know I’m by your side too. Own the struggle, feel it slice you, and keep pushing. Don’t give up. Now is not the time. I love you no matter what. Decide.
I sit for the last time in my balcony, like learning an imminent death. The rooftops are still but the trees are responding to the small despair, flailing madly that the despair might be tossed about, passed on, bequeathed. I watch them at it, and do not watch them, eyes glazing as the sun dims like pulling away, tugging at me to open my eyes wider, work harder to hold this all in. I sit there, a frozen picture of a girl with ghosts reflected off eyes that belong somewhere else, a body rigid and unflexed before the whitewashed balcony, fixated, unborn, unrealized and unforseen. Papa tells me the sight makes him sad.
He asks for me, why all the trees in the backyard are gone. Two weeks back, we had marveled the firs, looking at how they stretched to the heavens. A dozen of them. She tells us that the rains ripped two out, so she cut all of them. I don’t understand the logic, but I don’t see. I can’t bear that, for the image of growing trees is intact in my memory. That’s how I’d like to remember it.
His gifts have come. I lie to them that I ordered them, they believe me, but also believe the worthlessness of these things.They say that coffee flasks and active gear are useless and should be returned. I close the door.
We watch Ramleela at night. They comment that the movie has nothing, but in my head are star-crossed lovers, shooting each other to death over falling prey to enmity. I think the idea is actively explored and I think that’s fucking beautiful.
Hi. You are a good person.
Thank you for thinking so…
I love you