Today I am poised to enter a new phase in life, Mi, and while I know anything can happen, the immediate future manifests as a closed door. I wait for it to open. I am not quite sure I know what to do. Should I knock? I do not know what lies ahead behind that closed door. All I know is, when it opens, I am ready to face whatever it brings. I know I don’t have to wait long because Time does not wait for anyone.
The potted cactus looks prickly, sitting smugly on the well worn floor. Rather than worry about the hurt and pain that will surely ensue should I get in contact with those thorns, I choose to look at the cactus’ tendency to be sturdy, last a long time and manage with the minimum resources. Self-preservation on the face of adversity.
The grill on the door may appear like a restraint or constraint but I choose to think of it as security.
The cool blue frame tells me to stay calm, practice serenity.
The street may look deserted, but that is temporary and probably because the people who might stroll around later are probably enjoying an afternoon siesta, away from the heat of the sun.
I want to think, believe everything will be okay.
But I know I am nervous.
Nervous about doing blood tests at home every morning.
Giving insulin shots every morning
Administering medication throughout the day
Being physically present
Interacting with a doctor every week
Being prepared for an emergency
Planning a menu that is conducive to feeding every two hours
Managing work and other commitments
Right now, I have no choice.
I am guilty to think I am not excited about being the choice for this phase.
I am trying to think of pleasanter things. Of another day in time, exactly four decades ago to the month, and probably, day. When I returned home from boarding school to be with you. Our home was on a street similar to this. In place of the cactus were flowerpots spilling over with color. A similar door but without the grill. Red frame instead of blue. Tiled roof. Rangoli designs adorning the patch in front of the door. Hymns filling the air from the temple record player a few houses away.
Neighbors going about their day, smiling when there was eye-contact, even if they didn’t know each other. The vegetable vendor with the basket on her head, cushioned by a coiled length of cloth, home-delivering fresh vegetables from her garden. Some days she also brought jasmine flowers. I used to marvel at how they dexterously lowered and raised the basket, laughing indulgently when I offered to help them.
The milkman on his bicycle, with impossibly large containers on either side to keep the balance, ringing his bell to announce his arrival. The joking about whether he added water to milk or milk to water. The inquires about family members he had never met nor was likely to meet.
The couple with the push-cart, who picked up clothes from residents of this street for ironing for a nominal fee.
The maids rushing about their work banging about the pots and pans, oblivious to those cringing from the noise.
Grandmothers relaxing in the backyard of their homes, shelling peas or cleaning rice on a winnowing fan as pigeons pecked around the yard, having their own private conversations, undisturbed by the little children chasing them in the warm sunshine.
My Grandma busy cooking at the stove, as she chants prayers in time with her actions.
I watch and absorb and store away these memories. Perhaps I subconsciously knew that I would bring them out in the future to bask in them, when I need to psych myself to feel better.
Back to the present.
Yes, everything is going to be okay.
I will handle things as best as I can.
I pray for the strength.
And this too shall pass.