As I am shifted to a completely new place across seas, in a new discipline of study, and new people with their different language of expression, different history, different crops and weather, different currency and products, I struggle back n forth in my everyday missing the land where is supposedly a home and where lies a history that is mine and known to me. I struggle in my state of mind to be-(long) to.
Invariably this struggle and back n forth, pull n push, shows in the trend of dreams I have developed to have repeatedly in the past half month that I have shifted to a foreign land. These dreams are of a missed mother(s). My mother that I dearly miss each day more deeply breaking open spaces inside me I never existed. And of a mother like another who is denied and missed and loved and who became a foreign relative much before I had to leave. But her presence in this dream merging my feeling of missing both of them as one and more. The feeling of missing is so concentrated in the dream.
Letter to S
13th September 2017
I saw aunty occupied in her vast opening BBQ party in a beautiful place filled with long tables, lots of maple leaves (🤷🏼♂️), and people all surrounding with food. There was a mix of water fountains and leaves flowing from one bowl to another to another in circles beautifully in the flow of water. Something like the landscaped garden in your real home. The sound of water was filling the whole place up as much as the little chatters of small and big groups of people invited for it did. Aunty was all over the place enjoying managing the crowd, organising the event and holding things in control; and she was doing it amazingly well! She was magnetic as ever and firmly in control of matters backstage and of engaging with guests. She was a star! She was busy. She was happy. But she was tired too. Maybe she was missing you. I have always thought her as complete with you around, despite her soft spot for your brother. There was always this silent acknowledgment as if her role demanded her to desire that soft spot for her son, and while it felt like a sting to you, in that difficult silence and history of growing up with her, I think she is incomplete without you. And she knows it. I think it scares her as much as it assures her in her otherwise deep seated anxieties n depression. Because she cannot admit it and be away from you. And as a woman of control (of everything n emotions), she cannot let her feel or build or express it beyond this silent acknowledgement. Only doors open one threshold more when it creates a certain distance for you both to be able to express and live it without dying the depth of such a feeling. This distance allowed as if some space for safe expression.
She asked me something. I refocused my attention to her speaking from the motion image of the event above she was showing me. I realise she had messaged me as well to which I had replied in my sleep and which hardly made any sense. She was asking me why didn’t I attend her event when I could have. I wondered why would she ask me such a thing knowing our contract of separation time immemorial. Of course she knew it being the closest witness to it, signing our invisible contract with her invisible ink. Was she really asking me that then? Or was I so zoned out and dislocated in all this that I didn’t understand a thing? Like the feeling of unfamiliarity with home and the no longer distinction or the distance between home n foreign. The noise from the event’s moving image (I think it’s called a live photo) and inside my head made her words fade before they reached me. But she asked me again why I didn’t attend her event; what was the point of me liking her page on Facebook if I was never wanting to attend her big event? I was losing my words when she said this. Do I say how much I’d have loved to come! Or how much I love her. How glad I am for her. How beautiful her place is! Or how could have I come..How could have I come? I cannot steal spaces away from you. How can I have the luxury of expressing my feelings at the cost of your space to be(long). How could I ever belong to that home, and that mother like another? Before I could gather words from thoughts that made me forget the sense of place n time, and more importantly grammar of understood language, everything slowly faded and transported me from the home that couldn’t be resolved to another home where I belonging was a real struggle.
It was my last day at home. I was moving out. I had moved out before. I had hardly stayed in the house before. I have run away from the home and I have shuttled and bounced within the confines of the home. It was the grinder of my brains and being at home. I had bounced the question of my being focusing on my coordinates inside home, asking what it meant. I was stuck at home. And it was my last day at home.
I was packing my bags and heading to the airport. My dad was really unhappy at the recently dug worship place built right outside house (it was scary!). But it seemed his unhappiness was beyond this and projected all onto just that ditch. He seemed unhappy with the house and wanting to shift their home, even country? But he couldn’t say it. I didn’t ask because I had to pack and he had started to yell in his endless loop. In no time I get on a bus to airport city. My bags I see them half open and scattered all over the bus floor. I see some of my moms clothes in one bag and realise they had kept their bag by mistake! I couldnt ask the bus to return with all passengers, although it seemed like a small private bus with like four or five people including the driver. I thought I take with me which meant what would my mother wear for another year or so? (These were her all recent clothes, she doesn’t keep more than everyday required). No I thought. Must I get down? Do I have that kind of time? But seems my mom was coming to drop me to airport.
Next cut to airport and she is there with all the bags and I. We standing at the airport amidst all the people. Flight is a bit late we are waiting. I am trying to distract myself from the pain and unease of having to leave, by doing things on phone as my mother kept walking here n there finding something. A few minutes pass by and I can’t see her around. I start to look for her in minutes I am worried and haste up my looking. People everywhere I can’t see her. And I tell myself why was I on phone. In no time I will be alone and despite the pain this is the time to effectively spend with her! But it’s lost and it’s lesser time now. I come back to my spot as I keep thinking to myself and can’t spot her when I see her standing all this while right five steps away from me round the corner. I see her tired. Her hand on her forehead. Maybe she was emotionally tired as much as physically if not more. I see her and tell her I couldn’t find her and that I got so worried. And she has so little energy to respond anything at all but that her face said she was here for me. I hugged her as I cried out hurting my chest. I don’t think she cried but I could feel the weight on her chest. I see the black dress she is wearing closely from between the circles of water in my eyes as I feel the silky but a bit rough texture with little black beads on her dress rub against, pressed into my face as I hug her.