two events of small significance transpired within minutes of each other, and though they are moments that could be easily forgotten, something in me held on to them still. maybe if i write them out, i will be released of them.
I sat passenger on a motorbike being zigzagged through vehicles and potholes. crossing ring road and being delayed by an uphill slope, we happen to fall behind a police truck. the blue paint chipped off the edges, uniformed men sat in the back looking out, uninterested, at the traffic. they sat, casual, with guns in laps. i know very little about armory (almost nothing in fact), but one look at the wooden base and thin metal neck and i knew the rifle must have been manufactured before i was born.
and yet there it was, slim yet kind of bulky, with tattered straps that denied it its dignity. i gazed into the dark hole and wondered what would become of me if it fired, perhaps accidentally. it was not the first time i’d seen a gun, and it surely won’t be the last. but i remember being young and feeling the thrill of seeing guns in their nests. hanging off of hips. us being stopped at the way too many security checks. back when Nepal was even more unstable than what it now is. back during the not-so-long-ago insurgency. i didn’t see the faces of the army or the cops, i only saw a catalyst to injury and death. i don’t think i’ve ever held a real gun, but i’ve always wanted to. i’ve wanted to shoot rounds and feel the live fire vibrate back into me.
i have a weird fascination with death, you see.
but on the back of the bike, i didn’t want it to be the moment that i died. and as we swerved and tried to find our way around to get ahead of the police truck, there was a moment where i looked into the gun, and the hole of an eye stared into my forehead. we were connected. so perfectly aligned. is that what it is then, to be at gunpoint?
don’t ask why, but that moment was heavy with an odd acceptance, with entire serenity.
shortly later but on the same bike ride, something to my right caught my eye. i looked over and was surprised to see, the shadow of a bird next to me. wings extended fully, the dark but sharp avian outline glided on asphalt. watching the shadow ripple by my side, as if we were sharing a road, for a small small moment, it felt like i too could fly.
cheesy it might be, but that’s what it felt like to have the shadow of a bird in flight for company.
and there it is folks, nothing and yet so much.
a gun, a bird, and me.