It is just another evening. I am standing on the green carpeted grass as I wait for my friends. It is the usual spectacle of the four bunnies. The white one and the one with brown patch are busy nibbling the tender leaves. The one with the red eyes escapes behind the bushes and I unconsciously smile at their antics.
A whiff of cool fresh air hits my face and I gratefully close my eyes as I crane my neck up hoping to see that bowing branch filled with fresh greenery. Something doesn’t sit well. My eyes search for that smile the tree has to offer but I am greeted with a halo of golden leaves. And then, without a warning, a couple of brown leaflets merrily dance in the air and land softly next to me.
I shake my head in confusion and take a step when my ears prick upon the crackle under my feet. Alas! It is the end of another season. Strangely, these days, every chapter invariably rakes up memory of the year that has gone by. The year, we all want to erase from our lives. The year that has taught us all about hope and faith.
A promise to oneself
About thirty years ago, I scribbled a little sentence in a diary with a faded black jacket. ‘I don’t ever want to lose hope and faith in my life’, I said. Now, after all these years, I am reminded of this little sentence. My mind races back to the time we spent inside the house, calming our nerves, trying to erase our fears, hoping to be safe and learning about washing hands while singing the happy birthday song.
So much time has gone by nursing our brains that I wonder if we can simply put back our clock by a year. The memory of the numbness of our soul as we licked our small wounds, our disappointments and our grief in the solitary confinement of our homes creeps up from a dark corner. No. We didn’t want to acknowledge our setbacks because we didn’t want to be the jerks.
“You are the lucky ones. A lot of people had it worse”, we were told. So, we sat in our little cocoons, keeping our little failures close to our heart. We then chased it so deep down that we tried to forget it. The thing about grief is that it doesn’t go away. It stays, inside, tucked away from plain sight. We laugh, we continue to live our lives, till the moment, when anything remotely resembling our little moment of grief brings it all up.
Surrounded by fallen leaves
Now, a year later, as I timidly walk towards a bench surrounded by fallen leaves, I am reminded of all those suppressed moments. My grief that I would like to own but that, I am too scared to share because they are mine alone and it continues to exist. I curl my toes in my shoes and I continue to gaze at nothingness when a gust of wind alerts me. I watch the dry leaves swirl and gather in a pile.
They seem to be travelling in a group and they find a place next to my feet. I pull my feet out from my shoe and feel them with my toes. They are crisp and rough as they crush under my weight. I stare at them for a while as I have a long conversation while my toes peel them apart and sort them in some way. “You will go back to where you come from”, I smile at the distorted pile as my feet find a new spot on the soft grass.
The freshness of greenery tingles my skin as the two words find their way from my lips — hope and faith. I let out a deep sigh and I smiled at the limitless possibilities. I sense my friends from the corner of my eyes as the bunnies play hide and seek with some kids. The evening rays stream through the canopy. Yes. There will be another sunrise to usher in another season because that is the way of this world.
Sudha Subramanian is an author and writer based in Dubai. Twitter: @sudhasubraman