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19 April 2011

The Longer Route Home

DSC02199-1by Rayla Noel

She was staring right at me, her indigo-black eyes not filling with a single tear.

Not yet. Every word she was not saying stood tall in the thickening silence between us. I tried to inch away but my spirit leaned in. Needing to see what she was going to say.

"Run!" I screamed inside but my voice spiralled in, echoing within the silence I had welled in deep over the years.

Maya looked beautiful in the blue striped wide necked tube smattered hospital gown. Four years, and she was not ready to go. "Not like that. Not like that!" She said. On the phone, text messages, email, whatever she could lay hands on, or get a nurse to punch out for her.

"What are you staring at Karin?" She was laughing. "Will you tell him for me. He isn't here and won't be I know. A woman knows and for pitys sakes , she's fun, ten decades younger..."
"Not ten Maya!!
"Can you blame him? Four years of living with...me, hospital, stinkn tubes..."
"Shut up!" I said.

My throat rasped. Maya had that effect. How could the woman still look ravishing without her hair or eyelashes. Her skin was transparent, almost blue in places. Her mouth a wide crimson gash in a face perfect.

"You're still staring you darling idiot!" She said, her long almond shaped eyes filling.
"You have the best bones on the planet, one cant help noticing." I wanted to take pictures. It would be difficult.

"So. Will you tell him? Lets finish this. I believe people should be with those they want to be with..."

I must 've nodded. To say she surprised me was understating it beyond belief. The four years of therapy, two babies one after the other, both with her sister in Tibet now. And Jed. Not every girl's dream man, but her's definitely.

Jed was elsewhere. How long had she known? With Maya most things were hard to tell; they rarely surfaced, not until she knew what she could do next. Right now she knew. Saying goodbye seemed to come easy for Maya Mae, and I wondered why as I took the long route home. Walking helped. It was getting warm already ; last night there had been rain , winds and hailstones. Mid April was unpredictably beautiful in India.

Somewhere a Koyal called. What was she saying? Do birds say things to us or do they talk to themselves? The pavement suddenly felt lighter. I loved my city; its chaos; its streets sometimes raggedy, sometimes not. The road home was uphill, marked with Gulmohar, Flame of the Forest.

How could everything look so normal normal normal?

When was a good time to call Jed? How did one intrude on other people's lives and say the things they were supposed to say to each other?

What were the right words? Why did I so love these people? What was this Thing we called Love? What could I do here? Tell him it was okay? He could go? Pack bags? Leave? No more reason to hide behind work and traffic jams?

Oh Maya Mae. Why did you have to be so ill? Who...what held the cords of Life? How did some people pull through? Maya, what keeps you so so beautiful? What for?

Sometime last April, she wrote me this letter from a vacation at Panjim beach, Goa while I was at Nepal.

Dear Karin
last night I met my spirit. This one inside of me. Not too young, not old. I saw her Karin and realised she's all I've been afraid to be. I know the truth about how life shaped me into a particular type, unique, different, even hard to figure out. I dont care. This makes us sensitive and human. I'm seriously impressed by you Karin! There are things and things we will see one day. Sounds preachy, but its a fact.

Each day is a miracle; each moment a fresh start. No point cud chewing. Life is bigger than we suspect.

I could give you the details but it'll wear you out. Bottom line is, at the end of the day, there's a form of peace if we can let go and allow the pain to say goodbye.

I wish I had your strength. It's like gold. Gentle, giving, precious, meltable, and yet...strong.

Its tuesday here. A million things to do, and all I want to do really is curl up and be. The nurse'll arrive in 3 mins, then its a dizzy chase. She thinks she's my mother! There's a half finished canvas, and a blogspot waiting. Feeling real dumb today...beneath all our many words and goings and comings, our chores and chasms, whats the deal Karin? What's the biggest thing here?

Did you know I've been ill ever since lil Timmy was born? Around that time, and frequently now, I met my spirit. The real me, our essence. So like me, and not. In the quiet moment I try to meet the real me. Its a shock to see who I really am. And afraid to be. Why Karin? Why are we shy...afraid to disturb what we're used to? Are we social prisoners?

Why aren't we tuning in more frequently to the reality within? Is that possible? To be the ageless creation within? Am I mad? I'd rather be completely insane than like the rest of the zombies!

Feeln better. You have that effect. You and life and rest of that distant kingdom that somehow connects to my fingers here...I want to just say this - you're awesome.

Hey have great day...v v v jealous of your new job and new bag! And the forest in front of your house. And all those silly rain frogs you grumble about.

Here its a dream we wont even dream. Here if theres space to park your toes, and you stand too long, they'll fine you. I better shut up. Dont I talk too much?

Maya Mae wrote like I thought thoughts. Punctuation and rule skidding into each others yards. It was the way she dressed. And lived. Breathless, irresistable. Provoking you to stand. Tall.

Me? Who was I? What was my "essence"? The front door opened easily. That was unusual. Maybe the summer rain had softened the wood again. My phone was ringing. I hoped it wasn't Jed.

"Karin - do not call him. Lets just leave this be for now. And Kay..."
"If you're going by my house, could you bring me those new shoes we bought December?"
" You're going out?"
She laughed. "Yeah I wish. No. Its for my friend here in Intensive care... Nothing. Just a silly prank on Mama Matahari here."
"Who is Mama Matahari there?"
"Oh, Chief of Staff! Show you when you come with the shoes...Kay."

I couldn't wait. And I liked the way she just said my name. "Kay."


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