I have a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach.
Excitement, anxiety and a sense of being overwhelmed. For the first time, in my complicated relationship with S, I feel like we are having a level-headed conversation moving toward a possible resolution of my long-standing trauma. It feels good to hear some things, and hurts to hear some others, and I am trying my best not to capsize. I don’t think I have ever before truly understood him when he talked about exposing vulnerabilities and FEELING everything in its entirety without attempting to bury them, or shield yourself from them, be it happiness or sadness. For someone who claims to be honest for the most part, I realize it isn’t always easy to come out and say things, especially acknowledging thoughts that you yourself are disgusted by. Jealousy creeps in when he mentions something, and instead of looking away like I always do, I stare at the message squarely and acknowledge my feelings. It is difficult. But he is a safe space. The safest.
I work out of a rented house in a residential area, adjacent to three other flats. In the three years that I have been here, I have heard a new-born cry in the apartment opposite our office, and watched him crawl and scream and speak. I have drooled at the smells that emanate from their kitchen around lunch hours, and wished I could ask them for recipes, or better still, a taste. They have collected parcels on my behalf, and helped me kick-start my scooter once when the battery gave out. Otherwise, I barely ever notice their existence. They are just always there, like white noise in the background, like the cricket match that’s on in the pubs that you see out of the corner of your eye, but do not really give attention to. When I stepped out for lunch today, there was no smell from the kitchen. I looked up absent-mindedly from the stairs from where the stove is usually visible, and the granite slab was empty. I stopped and climbed up the stairs again, to get a better view of the place. Yes, the stove was indeed missing, as were the women who usually hover around the place. I saw the pick-up truck parked on the road, and men shifting potted plants into it with care. I felt a sense of deep sadness at the loss of these neighbours, even though I don’t know their names, and cannot even recollect more than a couple of faces from the household. I do not like when people leave, and these days, it feels like everyone is.
It doesn’t help that my heart is incessantly beating to the soundtrack of the many Malayalam folk songs I discovered yesterday. Appa Nammade from Urumi, Chekele by Sanjeev T, Karukara by Avial. They are a treasure trove of emotions – tragic, beautiful, nostalgic – and they wreak havoc in my soul. I find myself tearing up, sighing, collapsing under the weight of my feelings.
But for once, I am resisting the urge to run away. And unlike every other time, when I look up, I see hope instead of despair.