It is the seventh day of the new year as I write this. I am trying to remember this time last year, what it was like, what I was doing, but nothing distinct comes to mind. I imagine I might have been staring at a computer screen, or reading on the train, or walking to the taco shop. I might have been daydreaming as usual, or moaning about something trivial. It might have been an ordinary mild winter in Los Angeles, and everyone’s heart is going through the cycles of living: love, heartache, ambivalence, hope, contentment, frustration.
But here are a few facts: As I was going about my life, little did I know that sometime in the last week of February, a loved one would pass away in her sleep, and a day before my birthday in March, the city would be in lockdown. Little did I know that life would take a different turn, a dark, anxiety-laden turn that would go on for months, and sometime in June, a loved one would appear in my dream and a few days after, would bid me goodbye forever. Little did I know that grief would not end there, hundreds of thousands would die from a pandemic, and towards the end of the year, my partner’s father would pass away, and then my best friend’s father would die too. Little did I know that I would lose other things as well – faith, laughter, hope.
And you, world, carried on with your casual indifference, your silence. And I too carried on with my strange, uncertain, grief-stricken life. Chocolate for breakfast, books for lunch, Radiohead for dinner, sometimes Chopin (once, I succumbed to Phil Collins). Vast hollowness in between hours. A parade of memories, then silence, then sadness. A dark empty room.
Then one evening, I looked out the window and saw a brilliant sky, and it was as though I had never seen a brilliant sky like that in my life. It seemed as though, as if by magic, I stepped out of darkness into some kind of light, and for a moment, there was no sorrow. For a moment, life made sense. For a moment, I did not feel lonely. You say nothing but you send me your stars and galaxies. You require no language. You are trying to reach me, and I am beginning to sense you everywhere: Sunlight on the window sill, hummingbirds in January, jacaranda trees, cobalt blue sea. There is music in the air, in the rustle of leaves. And just this morning: Hyacinths in the middle of winter sprouting like little signs of hope.
Dear world, I am beginning to feel that you and I are conversing in a secret language. I recognize your presence, and I give you my gratitude. My heart, I feel, is on the mend. My spirit delights in your marvels. I know, one day, all will be fine. I will be fine.