Locked Out... and in
Memory of love is a malleable metal
Locked out… or in
The lock on my mother's home refusing to open.
The key feels wrong, inadequate. Spins, takes a turn, pretending.
The door sturdy, stubborn, steady. Ace mimic of gravity, fate and death.
Call the Dhobi*. He’ll unlock it. That steady witness in my parents’ story.
A search is launched. Dhobi’s phone is called. And called. And called.
No one answers. No answers. The chowkidar* wrings his hands at my desperation.
He’s back from his village…but isn’t answering! So unlike him!
Attending to wounds and scars from the village he left behind? I wonder.
Maybe he too needs a day before yielding to this merciless city’s keys and calls.
I know. I’ve lived up close to that state of suspension between two worlds.
Acknowledging his remorse when they’ll demand to know where he was,
I leave without entering. Surrendering this last invitation to my lost home.
I walk out and about and around. My daughter’s tears recall her inside.
A perambulation of her home, her abandoned terrace where a million flowers unfurled
shamelessly even after she was gone. I’d had THAT goodbye.
I close my eyes imagining her inside. Gathering consolation photos of the outside.
Locked out in a prison of grief. Locked out from yet another goodbye.
Another key I’ll shape from the only substrate I know: the memory of love.
Days later, I find a bridge among many. Spanning canals of the city.
A single bridge, like the ones I saw in Paris years ago.
Carrying a multitude of locks affixed by lovers.
Lovers who threw their keys away!!!
Claiming their love is all. Locked. Unbroken. For eternity.
I found some answers.
*dhobi = washerman; the man who works the family's laundry - wash, fold, iron. No machine except a coal-fired iron is used by him. Shreepal is his name, and he was an integral part of the trusted help at my parents' home, always available in time of need. His kind attentiveness and heart for what's significant will always remain with me.
*chowkidar = night watchman or guard at the gate to the apartment complex where my parents once lived.
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Conversations with a citizen historian…
If you haven’t seen it yet, here's an essay published by my generous friend and fellow substacker Minter Dial that I wrote on what I learned about myself from recording oral histories of my people. It's part essay, part confessional, part self-improvement-journal-entry for a journey that I find myself on. Tell me what you think.
Here’s a beautiful article “Meditation in a Toolshed” by C. S. Lewis for you. It’s about the importance, no, actually the necessity of seeing things as they are (i.e., with reason) YET not losing our capacity to see them with heart! Because an unyielding reductiveness lessens both our humanity and our capacity for meaning. See if you agree?
Well said. Strange are the ways of our arrivals and departures....