sometimes 2, I need to talk to you very intimately today. I need the relief of talking to a good friend who knows me well enough to understand my heart. Mani is gone, so I'll have to talk to you.
I am feeling very emotional, an unusual state for me. I usually keep my emotions under a control that would do a Vulcan proud. But today I even had to cut short a chat with a friend because I was getting too emotionally overcome to carry on a decent conversation. I tend to get like this twice a year: the first week in November and the second week in April. The first week in November we all know. The second week in April is personal.
Next Monday is my birthday. I'll be 55. It's also the anniversary of my wedding to Mani. That would have been 37. He died 22 1/2 years ago. I have another husband who loves me dearly, another life, I live in another place. You would think that after so many years and so many events, the loneliness would dissipate. I keep hoping.
It is no coincidence that my wedding day was also my eighteenth birthday. It was the first day I could get married without parental consent. I not only had consent, I had joyful, overwhelming approval. But I am me, and I wanted to be totally free. Dad understood and was, in fact, amused.
If I may offer some advice, don't get married on a day that you will celebrate every year for some other reason. Each year on my birthday, which I can't escape, I am also transported back to that other day, eighteen years later. And it hurts.
This afternoon, I was watching Judge Judy on TV, when I was overcome by a sudden need to hide my face in Mani's hair. I used to do that when I felt overwhelmed by the world. I'd curl up next to him and he'd take down his kes and open it and cover me with it, especially my face. I'd feel so safe and secure and loved. His hair was always impeccably clean, of course, and had a distinctive fresh aroma. He'd put his arm around me and softly sing whatever came into his head. I could just lie like that for as long as he'd let me. The world would slip away until nothing but the two of us remained. Then we could share with each other whatever we had to share. I longed so much for that this
afternoon that it made me dizzy. Detachment has never been easy for me.
Something else I have carried in me for all this time is a picture, perhaps a vision, perhaps just imagination. I see Mani and Sandy running into the light, holding our two baby Kaurs, laughing and happy, all four of them. I see them joyfully greeted by Guru Gobind Singh Ji, who is so very happy to see them. One by one, he gently tosses the girls up in the air and catches them as they come down into his arms gurgling happily. He puts his arms around my men's shoulders and greets them as his sons and they greet him as 'Dad.' It is all informal and familial. They are in a field of yellow flowers, with a pride of lions watching. The whole scene is one of joyful homecoming, without the slightest hint of pain or tragedy. I'm sure this all violates some accepted Sikh teaching, but still I wish I were a good artist and could paint this. Or maybe someday, I'll get enough money to hire some talented Singh or Kaur to paint it for me.
I close my eyes and see it all so clearly. Perhaps I should use that thought control I tout so often. Give me a few more days and I'll put it all away for another year.
Darling, be home soon,
I couldn't stand to wait another
minute if you dawdled,
My darling, be home soon.
It's not just these few
hours, I've been waiting since I toddled
For the great reliefof having you
to talk to.
from Darling Be Home Soon
Watercolour courtesy of jathedar
Used by permission