Bree (Part 2)
(If you haven’t read about Bree before, click here)
It has been three weeks and three days since I came home. Three weeks and three days since Nyanza called me, and the moment I saw her call, I knew something was wrong. I knew something was wrong in such a huge way that my heart would break, again, and it would take a lot of time before it healed; or tried to.
So I ignored the call for the first time, switching my phone to silent and pushing it back into my pocket. But when it rang again, I knew the heartbreak, whatever it was, couldn’t wait.
It has been three weeks and three days since I sat in my mother’s living room, my head buried in my arms, begging my heart to calm down. Calming the rush of blood in my veins. Begging the voices in my head to quieten. Hoping, and praying, that all that was happening, this thing that has started to seem like a roller coaster, stops immediately.
It has been three weeks and three days since I asked my mother, “How can this happen to us? Why us?” And she calmly touched my hand and said, “It is the way life is. Sometimes, it deals us what we think it is the hardest of blows, only to show up moments later and strike again. And sadly, that won’t be the last time.”
It has been three weeks and three days since I sank into bed and wailed, like I have never before, for you. Like an abandoned child, I wept into the wee hours of the morning, hoping to feel your hand against my shoulder, even just for a second, to reassure me that it shall be alright. That I shall learn how to cope with all this sadness. All this emptiness. All this loss that is threatening to break me into pieces. This sadness that is forcing me on my knees, begging the world to let go of me.
Somewhere in Transcendent Kingdom, Yaa Gyasi writes that, ‘Nothing teaches you the true nature of your friendships like sudden death’, and every time I think of you, of your sudden death, of your pain, and mine too, a lump forms in my throat, immediately, and no matter how hard I fight it, a lonely kind of emptiness fills every void within me.
Sometimes, when everything around me is crumbling, I ask the Universe why it keeps doing this to me. Why it sends its favorite child, death, only to those souls I have created a special bond with. People who I have allowed to see my nakedness, within and without. People who have held my nakedness in their arms, and straightened the broken crowns on my head. People who have washed my wounds in their bathtubs, and clothed me in the whiteness of their hearts and souls.
Sometimes, when the Universe fails to answer these questions, I shrink into myself and shut the world out. I ask myself whether it is necessary, this creating a special bond with people. This scouting for the purest of souls, and settling with them. This holding onto friendships, with my all, as if my whole life depends on it. This placing the people I love at the centre of my heart, and clouding them with love. This creating spaces within myself that can only be filled with people I call mine, is it necessary?
Sometimes, when I think of you, I am reminded of how death of a loved one makes you unafraid. You do not beg for love. You do not sit anywhere where there is disrespect. You do not shrink yourself for the sake of others. You learn to refuse being handed the left overs. You decline the second position. You do not let anyone dictate how you do things, or who you interact with, or what your heart beats for. Because you keep asking yourself, ‘I lost a huge chunk of me, probably the most important part of my life, and I survived, even if not in the best of ways. So, what else can shake me in this earthly world?”
It has been three weeks and three days since I sat on the phone with Jay, them asking me to hold on a little longer, and me telling them I cannot go on. That I do not think I have the strength to carry on. Because what is this we are doing? Building bonds and creating niceness, only for wickedness to show up, uninvited, and punch us below the belt? What is this we are doing, spending years chasing goodness, only for it all to fall in a second?
What is this we are doing, putting our all into this thing called life, creating memories with its children, only for its sibling, death, to rob us? As if we are undeserving of this all. As if we deserve nothing but future years of painful memories and empty wishes. As if we are nothing in this world, but vessels to propagate life and death.
What is this we are doing, if all we get at the end is tears and thunderstorms, sticks and stones?
It has been exactly seven months and twelve days since we laid you to rest; twelve days since we laid your mother to rest, and my heart does not know how to beat any more. My body does not know, and does not want to live any more. My soul is tired of hanging on the ‘it shall be well’ thread, and I am starting to lose balance in this thing called life. I see it in the way I am unable to go to sleep at night. In the way I am unable to get out of bed in the morning. In the way every little speed bump drives me to the edge. In the way I cannot describe my sadness, and in the way each and every of my dream has bits and pieces of you.
On the day we buried your mother, I kept clenching and unclenching my fists, and turning to take a glance at you; at your grave. I could feel your eyes hard on my back, and I desperately wanted to feel you. To see you. To let you know that I am here, and I desperately want to feel you in my arms.
So even as your mother’s casket was lowered into the ground, I slid through the mourners and sat by your side, and smiled at how close we were, yet in different worlds. For a moment, I was unaware of my surrounding; engulfed in your absent presence, and the willingness to hold this moment close, for as long as I could. Because maybe, just maybe, that feeling in that moment could give me strength to hold onto life, just one more day.
Wherever you are, I hope you keep sending me these tiny rays of hope and strength, just as you have been doing these past days. I see it in the way I breath effortlessly. In the way I shower gracefully. In the way my music no longer sends me down the darkest of alleys. I see it in the way my person holds me, and I never want them to let go.
Wherever you are, I hope you keep seeing me, and I, you.