6th March 2022 | Dear Anand

6th March 2022

Dear Anand,

It’s been raining for 2 weeks now. It has been one of the wettest years since 1900. The kind of rain that brings endings.

Early morning today when the skies took a pause to sigh, I slipped out onto the inner streets weaving through the neighbourhood; passing by rows and rows of houses slowly waking up, the last rain drops still clinging to their verandahs.

They say the strength of a house lies in its foundations. A ‘solid foundation’ will keep a building standing when nature wreaks havoc. Relationship therapists and business coaches tell the same to their less structurally inclined clients. That lives built on stable footings of trust, respect, honesty, communication – lasts the time.

But sometimes we take perfectly solid buildings and tear them down. We rip off the roofs, knock down the walls, break through the floors, dig and gouge out all the foundations. We then run a bulldozer over and over again till there is nothing left but empty, vacant blocks of land.

Like the house two streets down. It was there on Friday when I drove past. Today it wasn’t. It started drizzling again as I stood in front of where the house had been two days ago, looking at dark, clean soil through a gap in the chain mesh fence.

Could we do the same to ourselves? Can we scrape our hearts of the solid homes we’ve built over the years? Just bulldoze down all the nooks and crannies pulsing with different temperatures to a plain, fresh, cool area?

What happens to the houses we break? The driveways that still have dried blood from grazed skateboard knees in their finer cracks, the shower walls that soaked the sobs of her cries when her husband first began to cheat, the living room halls where on silent nights if one listened hard enough you can hear faint carols of the Christmas past. Where do they go?

Anand, I haven’t thought of you since I last wrote to you 3 months ago. It’s almost as if life’s bulldozed you out of me.

My shoulders were getting soaked in the morning drizzle, when a gust of wind picked up the end of the white bunting covering the fence and ripped it off. The flash of white fabric momentarily blinded me; heat sparking in my cold lower belly.

White shirts tangled on oak floors flashed in front of my eyes. My feet up against the balcony window; the sweltering mid-afternoon Andalusian sun burning through the apartment, once part of a 17th century corral de vecinos, scattered with moorish decor. La Giralda looming in a distance across the plaza over ceramic-tiled roofs as crowds moved down below while you slept lightly in the bed across the room.

No. It doesn’t go away. It stays here. Ghosts of solid buildings. They hang in the air where they once were even if you have torn it down and burnt it. On quiet days, they giggle.

Elia sahib’s words rasps through the rain tonight.

Kis tarha chorh doon tumein jaana? (How do I let go of you?)
Tum meri zindagi ki aadat ho. (You are the pattern of my being.)

Anand, sometimes I think my entire existence is chained to your being.

Love,
Shyamni.

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