Thursday, October 5

Nearness

I was an over-adjusted freshman in college. And now, in my fourth year, I miss my parents.

After two exams, the last of which seemed more to test my photographic memory of a month of powerpoint slides than actual material I studied in preparation, I walked into an abandoned Thai restaurant at the foot of my building. So clean, so quiet, and so delightfully pleasant after a moderately demanding day. A young boy (18? 19?) asked me where I wanted to sit, and I picked a booth near a window at the corner of the room.

Isn't it strange to feel a sense of near relief when you can sit with your back towards the main entrance, your guard down because no one is likely to find you?

I sat and ordered things, and a middle aged Thai man, smiling, listened. Only the three of us--the boy, the man, and I--seemed to exist in this tiny place on Earth.

And I called my mom, for lack of wanting to talk to anyone else. No; For lack of wanting to hear anyone else. Sometimes, it's nice to be around people who will not ask anything of you, not because they're self-absorbed, but because they just know better than to complicate simplicity.

Unfortunately, I can't remember a single word she said at this moment, but I remember her voice, speaking. That's all I needed to hear--not desperately, but necessarily. Fundamentally? Naturally. Genetically. As-a-matter-of-factly. I needed my mom to fill a silence.

I also remember regretting the moment she was concluding that she should let me begin eating and hang up till I call tomorrow night. Not those words, but the weight and direction of them.

And I miss my dad, who's been too tired to talk since I came out here. He's tired when I call before going to my morning class, and tired when I call late at night after he's returned from taraweeh prayers during this Ramadaan. Before Ramadaan, he'd been working late due to more demanding volumes of orders coming into this computer manufacturing plant he and my mom work for. I hate their jobs...but am grateful that they have jobs, Al Hamdulillah.

My mom is a motherboard specialist of something or other--to her, it's like making jewelry that does something. My dad is his plant's only test engineer, and all I know is that he does for the company what he has had to do for our family--figure out why something is completely dysfunctional and then fix it, or else = chaos. My mom has a Masters in European history, and my dad was once an electrical engineer in Libya/Nigeria for some German company he still talks about. During college, she was in the performing arts, and he was touring with the national teams of at least two different sports I remember from his precious newspaper clippings. Then she wanted to be a teacher, and he was a garments' plant managing director, and then she was a culturally shocked mother of two in a foreign country, catering Bengali food for large parties, and he worked for Pfizer (Pharmaceuticals), and two other jobs.

And now they go to lunch together, and have been for a while. And it's only a matter of whose car is parked closer to the door.

I almost wish I could take myself back, or bring them to this life of mine. I miss being little and thoughtless, my head on her lap while she carelessly sang and ran her fingers through my hair. Her fingers, not mine that aren't like hers. I miss falling asleep without effort.

And I miss being near my parents--the feeling of nearness a child has to a tree that gives shade on a summer day, the tree that compels innocent faces to gaze above in wonderment, the tree that unconditionally lends itself to be leaned upon, the tree at whose feet is "home."



2 comments:

rima said...

samirai, that's so beautiful. and cute. aww. you should go home so you can get some sleep. or if you want i could stroke your hair and sing you a lullaby :)

see you soon inshaa allah.

Samira said...

I would be a bit frightened (and "awkward"-stricken) if you were anyone else saying this. And though I would still feel awkward considering your offering, thank you for being my mom's semi-proxy :)

...though I do call you bhabi/apa...so many tangles, let's not sort them and be in peace

sslambs

n i'm glad you liked my post :D
til my next mental breakdown...