Friday, July 08, 2005

Beginnings or endings

Washington, D.C., December 2003: I sat on the bench outside CVS pharmacy on L Street today for the longest time. It is New Year’s Eve and I’m alone in this crisp, deceptive sunshine. My woolen hat has started to hurt a bit, but at least my ears are covered.I am just looking at people walking by. Most of them look at me rather indulgently, I wonder why. They’re all professionals, obviously. Everyone seems sophisticated and a bit hard. I can imagine them driving to the Park and Ride stations, parking their cars, getting on the Metro and passing the long ride just standing there, looking hard. Maybe they are different in the summer, but at this point I don’t trust that D.C. actually has a summer.
The sky was like lead yesterday. It looked like it was full of stones and there was a wind that hurt my ears. I am so grateful for the sunlight today though I know it will fade soon. I can see the Washingtonian Café from where I sit, and Mr. Chen is taking in some deliveries. The Café is like a refuge for me, even though Mr. Chen rarely smiles. I told him several days ago that his café is my favorite in this city; that did make him smile. I had a tuna-melt sandwich and a lime Snapple there yesterday. Today I will walk over there and get a hazelnut latte as usual.
It’s getting colder as the afternoon pales. The sunlight has started to become watery. Not a good sign. The Metro is going to be bursting with people getting away from their offices to go start their New Year Eve celebrations. I only need to ride until Courthouse station, one stop away, and I will be at a friend’s place where I’ve been invited.
They are aware of my current waif-status and always give me hot food and tea. It makes me want to cry sometimes when I think of the dinner table in my own home, my mother’s laughter and my Dad’s voice. I am so grateful to these kind friends of mine. They have promised to make me drink vodka tonight.
May be the new year will be better. It’s been a rough ride. Washington has been like a crucible in its own way. Tonight. I will drink vodka with my Lithuanian friends and clink my glass…when they say Happy New Year…we will all mean it.
Someone once said that if you look back on a year in your life and it doesn’t make you laugh or cry, consider it a year wasted. I’ll look back on this time and I wonder if I will laugh or cry.
Something I wrote at a time in my life which was strange: was wondering about beginnings and endings, and about people who come into your life and see you through; how what you go through changes you…that sort of thing.


Col said...

Things happen in life good and bad,we all go through our ups and downs.Through our trials and tribulations.
What matters is how we come out of it??
Stronger as a person more sensitive to others needs going through the same or just insensitive and not bothered and just living by.
Here is a toast to life....the learning ground!!!
Hoping and praying that the best of your past is the worst of your future.

Rupa said...

Devika, what you have written is true literature - beautifully written prose about a difficult time and invoking complete involvement from the reader. Please continue writing well, include this in your collection of short stories to be published - we will all be proud of you. You know I am your biggest fan.

Anonymous said...

I'd rather have a few wasted years than a year of crying.

devikamenon said...

Thanks again, all. Wow, Rups, I am so motivated by your comment..
Anonymous, thanks for your views. I wish we had the choice though..

Anonymous said...

Well written D.
Who says that we grudge the shadows that the Jacarandas cast? We did walk on the violet lawns early morning and we smiled; did we not?

While the first to deny that I love melancholy, I have cherished my scars too. And its not with nostalgia that I look back at those days.

Those who laugh at themselves are lucky indeed. I haven’t had the time to let go of my grief. Yet…

And yet I hold no grudges. Not because I don’t want to… but simply because I know it will do no good.

My pragmatism is not my blanket. Yet…
I am still young I say. Yet…

Don’t say that my pain is too insignificant in the larger scheme of things.
My life is mine and since I choose
to: it is all of small things. Yet…

My optimism has still not hatched. Yet…
I am still young I say. Yet…


geminian said...

Hey d,

Someone also once said that if you look back on a year in your life "it is not the years in your life that matters but the life in those years"

Anonymous said...

would you go through it again if you could avoid it? if not, i'm still glad i had a chance to read it on this first night of new 2007 with a marlboro menthol lights cigarette in one hand:)

devikamenon said...

When did you switch from Marlboro Milds?

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