Sunday, August 3, 2014

Flickering Lights

The Summer is almost done and Fall knocks on window panes, broods in the trees that shade my little home, her eyes glazed as she counts her breaths, inhaling the still hot air, biding her time to exhale the cold when my house is empty once more, my family gone on to join the busyness of their own regular seasons. As I read late into the night, I, too, inhale and exhale with deliberation, trying to still my center that I may tolerate the unmoving air and thunderstorms of this season with equanimity. Now that I stand almost at the outer threshold of Summer, I need to look back to take stock of the passing season.

Last night, an unexplained plate smashed, stirring up dreams of the sleeping house. I remember waking up to cool air and the rain complaining softly outside my window. This has been the kind of season it has been: unexpected freshness of utter, complete kindnesses from the very atmosphere, breezing consistently through the frightening nightmare my kidney disease is fast becoming. The enormity of what I must journey through defeats me. If I sit down to analyze and understand this, I wonder if I could emerge from it with any of my self intact, and what parts I would have to let go, just to survive it. The daunting nature of this process has just been brought to fore lately, as I prepare to get my name on a list of people waiting for a kidney.

This process takes weeks, even months, and every time I smile and respond in complete sentences to the personnel testing my body through various apparatus, they look at me in surprise, as though they had never thought to find a person, a consciousness willing to communicate within the body they test. They are extra gentle with their needles and remind me to breathe in and out with kind, smiling eyes. I am very grateful to them. As I am told unsavory, but very real tales my blood tells, I hold on to the frankness of gazes, the pacific expressions, the clarity of phrase as proof of confidence these personnel possess, not just in the necessity of the process they are describing to me, but also in their ability to lead me through it.

I have felt like a lost Dante in the exact center of the woods (I turned 50 this year), who suddenly finds herself surrounded by many Virgils bearing glowing boughs with strong grips.

I tend to take my family and friends for granted; they've always been around so I have no reason to imagine an hour without. This year, though, their generosity and regard are warmer. I do not have words to acknowledge any of those. So I will place my friends and family in the same drawer with my book, the best part of this year, deserved or otherwise, the gifts I will take from the Universe as my due.

The year from this August to next is going to be difficult and I put this mildly. I have no idea how I am going to handle it. This is not to say that there is nothing but dark dreams on my mind: there are a couple of movies I am looking forward to, a few outings with friends that I think of with nothing but joy, even a trip (hopefully) to India so I can hold my brand new nephew. It remains my hope that if I can just concentrate on the minutiae of living: as long as I continue to complain about grading, exclaim at my regular TV shows, ply my needle through fabric, sip at my tea, I will love my living, however long it may last.

The year will begin to die soon. The two trees that guard my house will sigh in relief as summer storms finally leave and the skies get too steely for the drama that heat conjures. As evening hurries in, faster and sooner, I will continue to call and cajole the grey cat who left her house when it burned. Hopefully, she will reclaim her abandoned home and heal it, forgive it for falling apart and spooking her so, just when she was settling down in it.


  1. Beautiful writing, as always. I look forward to the art that will emerge from your journey, even as I wish that you didn't have to take this journey.

  2. Loved it,and have always enjoyed your writings. I feel very frustrated at being a helpless witness to your suffering. Hope the Gods are kind to us and you don't have to wait long for getting a new kidney.


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