When I'm Gone ...

In between the time we get back from the classes/chores/movies/shopping, settle the heft of grocery on the counter – his things on the couch, put the kettle on, whip out his chocolate milk – the fragments of salad of stories begin to create a monosyllabic tag cloud.

In between the time I get the dinner ready and finish with the dishes and settle with a cup on the terrace porch to the background of telly droning Ben10 – words begin to drizzle – unfinished sentences, tangential arcs of plot lines, just ideas hurtling down.

Sometimes inside of my head feels like what it must have been at the beginning of evolution – barren - with a lurking promise of things to come.

While I sit swinging absent mindedly – the quiet of within washing over – noticing the way fading sun cuts through the clouds, marking vermillion streaks – there’s an orchestra flirting at the back of my mind. It’s just tinkering around but I know that there’s a musical in the offing – dark or sweet or something on the cusp – we don’t know yet. But, there it is. Inevitable.

In the here and now. It is happening.  The dare is to find the devotion to listen hard, and then to show up at the page.

Nirvaan is in a middle of summer vacation – entertaining himself by weaving scenes with his cars and superheroes and angry birds. Content as a clam.

All morning I work in my home office. The room repurposed as my office. Dad’s room...

Today I bring the angst, the guilt, the silence, my crushed paper ball of procrastination and a mug of coffee with me, enough to keep me fueled through the day. Kent and Linkin Park keep me company.

Then I sit, contorting at ridiculous angles in my chair. One knee up. Then both, perching. Then I’m spread out on the floor. I love the work I’m doing. But then the physics (both the straight and the meta versions) has its own ideas.

My body loves inertia, my mind doesn’t. Not at all.   

I stop.  I simply breathe. Feel the way my shoulders are holding on to the stress of things of recent past. Things this year has been modeled of.  I look up at the way the room looks same and different. I look up and see ‘him’ with his slight (almost beatific) smile playing out from the frame.

And, I stop breathing. 

Outside the window, day turns...

Today it is about noticing small. It’s about the way sun bounces off leaves and railings, slanting sideways through the window, and smell the scent of rain on dry earth as it begins to fall; from the sky. Petrichor.

Today it’s about breathing, until the wood-smoke burning is inside my lungs. Breathing until my lungs get claustrophobic.

For a while I feel as though I’m barely here, barely within my skin. It is the feeling that results from a day of intent focus, and of conversations I have in my head with the people I dream about at night. A certain almost indescribable intimacy, more real than real life.

It’s taken me a while to write because every street, every ritual, every instance of who I am, and who we are as a family and friends has been made new with this loss.

10 days’ shy of a quarter of a year gone by, since we held his hands while he breathed his last.

And then the radial shifts just a bit and right there in full blinding 'glory' - Loss in multiplicity!

A bit like an archeologist, sifting through the artifacts of my 2015 self; I’ve found notes, sometimes full journal entries, like the most distant stars, indicate the faintest outline of my chaotic mind.

There definitely seems to be some method to this madness. Randomly scattered sentences on the timelines of thoughts, like the shimmering Pleiades for me to pursue across my imaginations’ uncharted dark.

And there are other subtexts of these notes; asking me to take a breath and let go. Take a breath and slow down.

Yet I never listened, and followed instead the uncompromising rule of “should.” Pushing far past my limits because it was my default; the only way of being I’d ever known.

Have had the hardest time trying to write about this journey here. Somehow it feels both tender and silly and yes, weak; as though I am in some way admitting defeat.

I’ve begun a hundred posts, only to delete everything and start again. Yet I also feel like sharing this work of reclaiming balance and learning to live less forcefully will be useful. My own therapist, if you will.

Last 8 months were one of the most exhausting, turbulent times I’ve lived through.

I felt like we were all at the fragile surface of our lives; so many of us anyway. Walking on eggshells. Reminded of our mortality, pressed to ask hard questions, reach for new horizons, and confront limitations real or imagined.

Any time could be the last time. The last hello-goodbye. The last drink. The last caress. The last to be biryani dinner, yelling match, email, orgasm, inspiration, idea, breath.

Anytime could be your time. To leave. To arrive. To become. To cease becoming. Any instant could be your last.

Above the sky is blue and cloud-spun and the light is milky. Crows, three of them fight over a piece of food. Each one claiming their space, each one claiming some piece of the other. 

But in the end, just like us, each one will fly away alone... 



Copyright © Neerja Yadav

2 comments:

shelly chakraborty said...

Well said!!! Spurt of emotion....with pragmatic life!

Margie said...

Dearest Neers
It's always such a pleasure to read your words as you write
so beautifully!

I am truly sorry over the loss of your father,may his memory always be a
blessing!

You are in my thoughts and prayers!
Thanks for your kind words on my last post!

Love
Margie