His countenance changed a bit. It has become more pleasant than the last time we saw each other. He gave me a loose hug that I received casually, in my usual awkward manner. When he started talking to me, his voice sounded like a song from some memorable past. I felt my heart skipped a beat. “My God,” I prayed in my thoughts, trying to maintain my composure, “guard and protect my heart from false hopes, assumptions and speculations. It hurt the last time, and the culprit was this same admirable, unassuming gentleman.”
And she looked up. There was no other direction but to look up so that she can breathe. She saw how vast and blue the skies were. She loved the change of perspective. When one looks down, one is deceived that the world is small, and its smallness seems to choke her. But when one looks up, the truth that the world is big becomes apparent. “Life is not about me,” she thought, “I am just a small player in this greater scheme of things. But no matter how small the task is, my God, help me gracefully complete it.”
She stared at the box on her lap. It was heavy for something that looked very small. Its sides were painted with prints of an ancient language she felt she had once spoken in some distant timeline. But she knew what she was going to confront once she opened the box. So she took a deep breath before placing it on the floor in front of her. With a sudden snap of a finger, the cover of the box flew from its top. Then slowly, a reptile-like creature slid out from the square package. The scratchy noise created by the movement of the creature’s black, scaly body against hard paper made the hair from her nape rise and send a cold shiver down her spine. Alas, when the huge beast was completely out of that tiny carton, it stretched out its bodice to fully reveal its terrifying and magnificent form.
And there she stood – unmoved – face to face with the dragon of her past.
“I have your mum,” he said, “it’s important that you find your suitable partner.”
I replied with a grin that people said I inherited from him. In the silence of my heart and mind, I spoke, “I already have, Pa… His name is Jesus.” But the words did not escape my lips.
At long last, the tyrant fell to her knees. Her head was bowed down, her hair unkempt, her body shaking through sobs. The once proud, overbearing countenance looked like a whimpering face of a dog, left by her master. She had been defeated… in the most shameful, magnificent manner. Although they had suffered stupendously under her, the free men and women felt compassion towards their enemy… After all, she was still a human being. However cruel she was. However unjust she had been.
After finishing her cup of coffee, something dropped in her mind. It was one of her father’s favorite flavors, which he shared with her almost every week, after the chemotherapy sessions. A surge of mixed memories swirled within her – both joyful and sad. With the memories are emotions. And she tried her best to contain them in her heart. It has been said that there is no more tragic than a separation. And it is true. There is no more tragic than being separated from someone you love.
And without warning, her heart broke into pieces again. She thought she had guarded it fastidiously, but a treacherous snake of pain slowly crept into her chest, and a lump started to form in her throat. “Why am I hurting again?” Rather than a question, her prayer was more of a plea to take away that which cripples her legs to walk and her lungs to breathe. So this is how it is to love and be vulnerable.