A note from the evening

The evening

“time is a tree (this life one leaf)
but love is the sky and i am for you
just so long and long enough” – E.E. Cummings

I will sit here and listen to your stories for hours.

I will ask if you are thirsty after your tears dry up. I will blame my sofa and look around once again to find some comfortable cushions to give your spine some support.

Then I will make coffee again. For both of us. Meanwhile the sun will set, I will miss its orange hue on the sky from my balcony. My plants will miss my attention.

You will say how my life is better than yours. How your life inhibits creativity, while mine inspires a lot of metaphors. You will curse your fortune and laugh at someone’s fate that in no way you or I can control.

Our discussion won’t follow a straight line. See grief moves like a snake, or like a balloon lost above. Maybe because it is a state so characterized by its needs—of joy, of fun, of perspective, of empathy, of hope, of love, of respect, of memory—people are eager to imbue it with blind self-obsession.

I will stop you for a second, and say, “But, wait! Even in my life, sometimes I feel like….”

You won’t let me complete the sentence.

Because,

you cannot.

You simply cannot see it.

You cannot see how some people are tired, sad, and fighting their battles. Maybe their wars are bigger than yours. Maybe they are fighting within. Maybe they are not lucky like you to have two listening ears and a hot mug of coffee readily available on a weekend evening.

So I will sit patiently again. I will hear how you had to become feminist to care for yourself. I will agree how your mother-in-law is the most ungrateful person, and your cousin hurts you every time you buy her a pricey gift. I will try to understand how your aunt once abused you verbally and even after years you still cannot forget that. I will see your point where you mention how much hard work you have to do to support your husband who works harder. I will praise your children, and you will write about that on your Facebook status. I will hide myself from the attention of being the protagonist of your status that unreasonably draws attention of a hundred “like”s.

You will continue portraying yourself a feminist, while destroying all female characters in your story.

Four hours will pass like that.

My mind will be restless, it hardly sits these days. It will remember some of my own stories that match with yours. My regrets, my weaknesses, my forgetfulness, my victories, my friendships. But I will stop here because maybe my story is irrelevant. I will take deep breath and give the mind some oxygen to relax. For now.

The delivery guy will knock on the door. You will smile for the first time after seeing him with two boxes of pizza. I will have to hit the gym in night to burn that calorie. Also to clean up my memory. Workout is a great cleanser.

You will complain once again how fat you have become. You will look at me enviously and utter, ” I don’t know how you have that figure!”

I won’t answer. You won’t wait for my answer. You will continue your story- about children, about how busy you really are, about how you never had any help, about how only death can bring you your peace.

Then you will ask me if I watched your favorite show on TV.

I will tell you- I don’t watch TV. There are too many news that break my heart. Somebody will discuss about lives lost in some part of their world. Somebody will divide human beings to rule the world. Somebody will argue about weapons that ruthlessly kill lives. We reached to cancer cells, got samples of soil from Mars, created virtual versions of human lives online to make more narcissists. But when it’s death, we either write poetry or make a news piece. Is it too difficult to control untimely deaths? Let me tell you, death looks terrible on poems. Death looks more terrible when it’s just news. Death never gives peace. Life is peace. In living, in grief, in celebrating, in friendships- you find what death lacks- a life.

You will not agree with me.

To make you happy, I will let you eat the last slice of pizza. Just like old time.

The night will crawl again with the promise of a morning. “Listen, take care and visit again okay?” I will close my door, and open another blank page of the journal.

**

37 thoughts on “A note from the evening

  1. “…You will continue portraying yourself a feminist, while destroying all female characters in your story.” My favorite line. While feeling compassion for your visitor, my respect for you grew even greater.

    1. Thank you so much for reading. 🙂 Ya, it breaks my head to think about these people who call themselves feminists and never appreciate or help a single woman in their lifetime! Being feminist does not mean men-bashing or finding faults in other women! It’s more than all of those! I know now on social media, anybody can claim to be anything big, but it’s hard to practice what you preach or portray in real life right?

  2. You brought back memories of someone who used to arrive at breakfast and leave after dinner, usually with two young children in tow. Memories I really don’t want to revisit, but your piece made me realise that I’m not the only one who had to learn to close the door. Now I can smile and think that was then…and I am still happy and she is not. A beautiful quote.. I look forward to revisiting.

    1. I still didn’t learn to close the door when required. It’s a thing I have to practice hard. I realize often how I use “compassion” on wrong kind of people, but then I still cannot stop helping a woman who wants a listening ear, a woman who is going through a lot in life. Know what, I named this post “The Narcissist and I” but changed it at the last moment because it felt harsh to me! Maybe my compassion is becoming my weakness.

      You wrote, “and I am still happy and she is not” and that brought a smile on my face because I realized we are alike. I’m sorry if this post made you sad while revisiting your memory. Some people are too self-obsessed and that’s the truest truth! Thank you so much for reading, Chris. 🙂

      1. No, not sad, nostalgic… she was one of many, some too private to discuss here… but your post struck a chord. I was taught to care, by example, not insistence… Sometimes, I need to wake myself up and differentiate between caring and being used. I won’t change in that I will always reach out, but you reminded me to choose where at times. For that I thank you.

        1. Chris, like you, I will care too. But from now, I’ll closely differentiate between caring and being used. Who likes to feel that way right? You’re so welcome. I hope to see you soon. Take care. 🙂

  3. Well done there! We all have somebody in our lives who are so full of themselves. Their worries, their woes, their griefs, their happinesses. I know a few, and I just lend a sympathetic ear. More often than not, its what they need. Just a listener. But what makes me cringe is when they don’t do anything to change their situation. Just release all their burdens on a friend and continue living that way. It becomes hard for me then, to just patiently hear.

    Brilliant way of writing.

    1. ” But what makes me cringe is when they don’t do anything to change their situation. Just release all their burdens on a friend and continue living that way.” – Hi Sampada, exactly my thought. So many times I felt that way. A friend complained about her husband and mother-inlaw every day; her stories were really harsh and mind-numbing. After a year, I suggested her to get a divorce( it felt like the best solution for her self-esteem, plus she had a job!). She said, ” In Indian culture, life doesn’t happen that way.” I don’t listen to her problems anymore. She still lives like that, and writes her sad stories on her Facebook status! Anyway that space is free and people have to read it on the news feed!

      I had to write this piece, because I cannot understand how some people can keep complaining about their lives so blindly! Everyone is going through some kind of problems- nobody’s problem is less important!
      Thank you so much for reading and sharing your piece of wisdom here. 🙂

  4. Such a smart writing! We all have one or of many of “that” kind of friends, relatives! Life is wonderfully balanced because of them ha ha!
    My most favorite parts are where you describe grief and where you describe life so so beautifully!
    “Death never gives peace. Life is peace. In living, in grief, in celebrating, in friendships- you find what death lacks- a life.” – Wow! Just Wow!!

    1. The bad part is ” We all have one or of many of “that” kind of friends, relatives” I wish people were more compassionate! The world would have been a nice place to live then!

      Thank you so much for reading! Yes, I believe life is the best gift we got, and even grief is a prize!

  5. This so reflects my thoughts…not in a callous way, but a familiar way. Sometimes I listen to friends and their list of woes, letting them heal themselves by venting, by looking for reassurance. I often want to interject “me too” in their emotional dumps, but either can’t get mine in, or realize that’s not what the therapy session is for. Sometimes it’s hard to let yourself be happy, despite the crummy state around you. Watch a sunset, tickle a baby, read a book, go for a walk. And let the rest go. Great post.

    1. You are right, Claudia. There are so many things to be grateful and happy about. The sunset is surely a great example. 🙂 So what’s your advice when a friend is venting a lot every day for years? I still didn’t find any good solution, except saying “Visit again!”

      Thank you so much for reading, Claudia. 🙂

      1. Just nod and listen, give your opinion, and move on. People create their own clouds. I know I used to. But it got to be boring to listen to my own whining, especially when I refused to do anything about it. Maybe thats where love of creativity comes in. I love writing. Others love painting. Some make jewelry. Maybe you can talk to your “venter” to pick a passion and go for it. Works for you and me, right?

        1. Claudia, I’m a person of action. I act on things, so I already gave suggestions on “creative pursuits” because creativity is such a positive place to live. But I was told how it was “easy” for me to find time for reading and writing and photography but for her ( and them, because many spoke in similar fashion) it was very “hard.” Making good habit is a hard process. We both know that right? Some people just take the easy path- venting is one easy road. 🙂 So I came back to “no advice and run away soon” solution for now. Ha ha! 😀

  6. Well done. I have found that as my daughter took on the world that she begins to understand me, but only so much. I understand and I love your essay/story. Cummings is a wonderful source of quotes. I love his work. I’ll be back soon to read more of yours.

    1. Thank you so much for reading and your thoughts here. I like reading Cummings- it’s brilliant how time is tree and love is the sky- makes my worries so irrelevant and my self-doubts impractical! But I don’t love Cummings as much as I love Mary Oliver. I hope to see you again. 🙂

  7. Smart, witty and full of empathy! Also loved where you wrote, “You will continue portraying yourself a feminist, while destroying all female characters in your story!” Ha ha!

    1. Ha ha! Ya, these days I laugh when I read/hear the word “feminist” in wrong places. 🙂 Thank you so much for reading, Hope. 🙂

  8. Very very well-written! A glimpse at modern life and blindness of self-obsession, narcissism! I am going to share it on social media. Missed your writing!

    1. Oh yes! Blindness of narcissism! I don’t understand how people cannot reflect more and see their faces on mirror often! 🙂 June has been a terribly busy month and I was little unwell for some time. I will write more! 🙂 Thank you so much, RoH!

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