after you leave, there are places i no longer frequent. the city is pierced with memories of you, you see. and from where i sit, i can remember your arms around me and the sting of your kiss. the salt from after the earthquake  dusty on your shirt and your skin. 

you were so happy to see me in that moment. you sat next to me, not across, so you could whisper in my ear and make me giggle. a spectacle were we, those men had reason to stare, we gave them that and we laughed carefree. 

i don’t come here much anymore, thestaff expect you by my side, you see. and though i don’t need you to be complete there is an emptiness to sitting here, alone, no one across and certainly no one beside me. 

i loved you too much, maybe, and in the aftermath of a twice broken heart i try to recover in iced appleade, no sandwich today, not for me, not even if it’s chicken and cranberry.  

i don’t want this missing of you, i resent still blinking back tears. it’s either love or hate, i can’t find inbetween so slowly I’ll go back to those places, my places, you will eventually fade into dusty salty memories. i always hated how you ate most of my food anyways. 

it would start with a wedding. what better way to set the scene for a confusion of culture and contrast of creeds? the wedding would be the culmination of it all, the frustration, the clashes, the conflicts in between. and from there, from there we could launch in the question of identity. the value (or lack there of) of nationalism. from there we question ourselves as cultural animals, socially constructed, we attack the beliefs we should have inherited. we debate beliefs at all, their purpose, their value, and inevitable, the point of the human self.

from there, maybe from there, i could get this booking going.

i’ve been retelling this story lately, the one about when i was a little girl and would write songs. “write songs”. day in and day out over what must have been at least a few weeks (if not an entire summer), i would walk out to my “invisible tree”. the one on the main path leading to the main campus. the one in clear view.

i would settle on a branch enthralled at having a view over everyone (but no one could see me remember?). and there i would sit prepared for the task of the day: to write the next hit song launching my career as a child star.

based on what i don’t remember i would start singing. so sure was i that this, this was the next hit that i wouldn’t even bother to write down the lyrics. the song was going to be so good i would automatically remember it. yes. that’s how good it was.

i’d belt out and whisper and carry my voice where i thought it needed to be led. i gave it my all. i knew, just KNEW that this would be the one.

i never remembered a song past 5 minutes of when it born.

but the next day, with my confidence unfaltered, i would find my way to my tree, knowing today was the day.

i’ve never been as confident of anything ever since. i wonder where that little girl has gone.

being in the company of others no longer holds the same appeal as solitude. while there is an individual here and there that i feel like is an extension of the world in my mind, others, i weary of.

what is there lacking in the presence of others that adds discomfort to my sense of being? am i then under the pressure of presenting myself as they perceive me? am i too tainted to show that i am not well, that there are matters deep inside which are heavy and unsettling? do i not related to those i am surrounded by anymore? have i alienated myself and allowed them to become strangers?

i’m not sure.

what i am certain of is that i find immense peace is being with no one by myself, a notebook, a book, maybe my computer/phone, and a pen…and some music please. these days i enjoy not uttering a word out loud all day. i enjoy puttering around at my own pace. i am thrilled that i have picked up a pen and have started expressing the state of my mind in patters and not in words. and i am happy to come back here and try to construct thoughts into sentences. there are things i want to write, you see, and i need to find the right context and frame to present them in.

and for all this, the silence and the safety of being alone is precious.

here, i am alone but i do not feel lonely. loneliness is more apt at grabbing me when surrounded by others where i feel a tinge of inadequacy. the constant competition that prevails when in groups holds no interest. social niceties are more than i can bear. and the meaningless meanderings of day to day tasks that are said to be important, i have not the heart to take part in these activities.

i find myself in contrast and in solitude i simply want to ponder and create. i want to be. to be without judgments, without preconceived notions, without expectations. i am most happy when left to paper and pen, words and books, music and beats. this is how my soul will heal, how i’ll find direction, where maybe i’ll find me. the little girl i used to be, i want to do her proud, because for doing it for her, i’ll be doing it for myself. and that, somehow, matters.

he was frustrated, and therefore frustrated at me.

“how do you not even have a table? how do you live like this?”

it hadn’t really occurred to me before. the impracticalities of my living condition. but it was true, i didn’t have a real table, nor chairs, and as he repeatedly pointed out–my kitchen lacked a proper counter and I also don’t own a bread knife. or an oven.

in the past i had jokingly said i still live like a college student, because in many ways i do. the furniture i own came free. the dishes were extras my parents had. the bulk of my possessions comprise clothing and books–the same articles i have carried with me from room to room, country to country for most of my life. i have things, but few belongings. i could be packed and out of the place in a day.

he wanted a station to paint. and he hated the lighting.

“i want to redo your place.” he talked and i allowed myself to imagine my living space turning into a home. moving into the bigger room. turning one corner into a chilling area. making a guest room that could double as a study. a full dining table, and chairs. a proper set of kitchen knives. new curtains. i thought about where we could hang the random pieces of art and décor i have.

as i thought about transforming my apartment to into something more comfortable i wondered why i hadn’t already done all of this. why had i never actually bought furniture? why was the closest i had come to owning my own bed been an uncomfortable futon? why did i move all the time but never settle anywhere?

“we should buy a table,” he said, “it could be our first big purchase together.”

it was a nice thought. it made me smile. and then a moment of awkward took over, the moment where we realized this was fantasy. we would not buy anything together. we would not redo my (maybe “our”) place together. he was leaving the country, and as history is prone to repeat itself, that meant he was also leaving me.

and there it was, the resounding presence of non-permanence.

the constant of people coming and going. the constant of moving. the banality of acquiring possessions. of setting room again, and again, and again. of having each living space be temporary. so why buy a full sized bed? and then get new bedding to go with it. why find a dining table, and chairs, and dining accessories? why invest in a place that i am only passing through? why do all this unless i actually settled.

“once i settled” used to feel inevitable, it was linked to a career, a life partner, things that stayed constant. things in reality i know very little about. i believed they would come with age, with adulthood. and yet as i grow near 30, i wonder what i missed along the way. a table. a lamp. the right bulbs. a house being a home.

maybe one of these days, i’ll go find a table. and then i’ll get a chair to go with it.

on the inside of his bicep flashes a tattoo of a leprechaun holding a spliff, wearing a doctor’s coat. ‘oh yah, I was so drunk when I got this’ he says with the most beautiful set of teeth I’ve seen in a long time. but then he explains he had discussed the tattoo five times when sober and so his tattoo artist obliged while the client was inebriated, still a sane decision though. “sane”. some 20 odd minutes later he goes into a small albeit entertaining spiel about how he’s off now and anything he says or does henceforth happens with the absence of his mind. everyone is in the know and they send their best through fits of giggles.

in my mind, i’m asking myself, what am I doing here. what am I doing here. what am I doing here.

how did I get here?

but that story is much too long, and much of it is irrelevant for now. for now, what matters is the group that I find myself in the company of. americans, germans, poles, Canadians, and some mix of Yemen and Russia–an eclectic collection of characters. here they sit in relaxed smoky respite all connected not by their indulgences but by this strange experience of having been part of a medical camp in remote post-earthquake struck Nepal.

the guy with the tattoo, did I mention he’s a medical student. and the guy with blonde dreads that’s been growing for 12 years—he’s the camp doctor.

and i, as the only nepali with Nepal in my heart and in my blood, i am the outsider. it’s impossible to miss the irony of this situation. i’m the outsider in their world which is but a pocket in my world, my country, my (what I suppose I must confess) home. and they are here, taking part in the larger good. living out what the professional respectable world of INGOs and institutions have struggled to do – stay in the mountains for two weeks straight, serving.

there are complications. A Nepali family opens their home and these oddities free of spirt and also so free of mind and body haven’t the sense to realize it’s offensive to get high and have sex while guests in a Nepali home. details. but these the realities of the situation i see myself an outsider-insider, insider-outsider to. regardless, does the socially inappropriate activation of their libidos undermine the hundreds that benefits from their collective effort? i think not.

the earthquake eh. there’s been so much said, written, thought, criticized, critiqued, conversed and it’s not stopping right away. over a month after and the one sentence snippet I catch off of passing by conversations—it hasn’t changed. where were you when the big one happened? and the second big one? no, the big tremor not the other big one. oh yeah, the government. INGOs. independent groups. media. tremors. another big one. So on and so on and so on.

i tire of it. i truly do. it fatigues me and i find it tedious.

all this talk. just talk.

but then there’s this group. and if nothing else, i am entertained. there, for how every many hours we remained in the mist the earthquake barely came up. the tragedies were just about irrelevant. and yet there is a presence. a song that doesn’t suit the vibe comes on and i hear a comment behind me from a boy who turned into a man after seeing his share of war, “as if we weren’t depressed enough already.”

they say, these trips you take—it’s an escape. you’ll lose yourself in it. but maybe people journey for another reason, and there is much to be found.

in light of events we can’t explain– the shaking of the ground beneath our feet so violent it leaves nearly 9,000 dead in the rubble, what god or ideology can offer sound condolence for that? what theory, what amount of money, can offer justification? Class-quake. Inefficiency. Poverty. People at risk. Development. Infrastructure. Politics. Corruption. words and phrases get thrown around and in the back of my mind i hear this voice singing this line, “i’ve smelled the stench of loss”.

and though the mind wanders, though you seek release, we have to confront this. we must. i do not know how he processes seeing villages collapse, watching bodies laid out, seeing death…smelling loss. a truck passes and previously unnoticeable sounds now causes my heart to quicken and my feet wonder if they should run.

run to what. run away from what. what brought these vagrant, shoe-less, borderline degenerates here? most of all, what’s most interesting of all, how do we end up in the same room, sharing the same air, all of us having our own thoughts.

there is much i do not– i cannot–write about. several years ago i made a commitment to myself regarding this blog. i told myself that every word i put up here, i would do it for me. i wouldn’t do it for the readers (how ever many or few there are), i wouldn’t do it for those i wrote about, i would intend nothing of my posts, save for being posts i wrote for myself.

making that choice wasn’t too hard. i knew what i was signed on for. i knew i’d have my vulnerabilities out for show, out for comment, out for criticism. and i decided to accept it all.  what i didn’t know this decision would do was prevent me from writing about so many things.

it’s one thing to ramble about something i saw on the street, it’s another to put my wounds into words, to allow myself to be seen through my eyes as i construct sentences. so there is much that remains unsaid. there are hurts and tears and struggles and fears that are lost in drafts, mostly lost in thoughts.

so what can i–what do i–actually write about? this and that. bits and pieces. important things and not so important things.

i have felt a silence on this blog that has been echoing in my head for many months. yes there are words i put up, but they feel restrained, restricted. like i’ve been using words to hide the things i cannot say. there are still many things i do not think i could resign to being posted here. my hope is one day, with the gift of 20/20 hindsight i’ll be able to reflect on ongoing situations with good humor and the gift of understanding that comes with time. until then, there are other things.

today, i’ve had many thoughts, i’ve shared a good lot to S at work. sweet sweet sweet S who is a daily reminder of the best of what humanity can be. earnest. humble. open. and kind. so so kind. S has listened, she has listened well, she has allowed me to regain my sense of peace. and this peace, this moment of calm i feel in an otherwise chaotic place, is a reminder that the universe conspires.

i do not much care if your credit the universe or if you know the universe as God, it is what it is and i am eager to submit to all of it. this presence. this sense of divine. this thought, idea, concept, that is so beyond our understanding. i make another human effort to glimpse at the bigger picture. and for the most part, what i see is good. what i see is the possibility of good beyond all the darkness and horror of humanity.

i think of the hurts, of the sufferings. i think of injustice, i think of rape, i think of abuse. i think of the wounds of my soul, the scars of my heart, the pains in my head. and i know how hard it is to see good. how hard it is to believe in good.

i think about those hurtful, hateful, horrible words i stumbled upon last night and i know “good” is much further away when blurred by tears. i know. i know the pain. i own the pain.

and yet, what story actually ever ends? what tale is truly, utterly, “complete”. even in death the story goes on, it will move, and so it is, so the universe is conspiring. and so, i’m trying to understanding everything in the much larger context. not just of my individual experience, but within the revelation of history, the expanding of space, and the ultimate mystery of the divine.

it is a heavy task. it comes with many thoughts, many complications, and ultimately there are black holes i cannot see into or get around. but i am learning, slowly, that it is well with my soul.

being “well” doesn’t mean being fixed. it doesn’t mean being healed. there are many more tears i have to shed. there are many hurts that continue to be repressed. no, the wellness of my soul doesn’t come from exploring every splinter i have endured. the wellness comes from knowing there is so much out there beyond me. that there is great joy in a cup of tea, a blade of grass, in a hug you didn’t think you’d be getting.

the wellness of my soul lies in accepting the universe as it gives itself to me…good one day, bad another maybe…but always giving. the wellness comes from 1 hour conversations on the phone where i cried across countries, and where i was heard, and i was heard because i am cared for. i am cared for in so many places by so many people, and each person has been designed for me. and i for them. so i am well.

i am well knowing things i don’t like lay ahead. i am well knowing i dread the confrontations that are being orchestrated without my trying. i am well despite knowing that i have a plan to remove myself from this world should it ever come to that. i am well, to know, that even when it feels like love was lost…there was so much i gained.

i am well to be human, to be flawed, to still be learning. i am still a rather broken soul, but being well is more than i had once hoped for.

and one day, i’ll write about all of it.

 

 

 

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