Driving back home this evening I realized with a sigh that all of my usual victims were unavailable to give me company on my long drive home. I alternated between a local FM channel and NPR. The need to connect to a live person was visceral. So, my mind wandered around the US map, zoning in on friends who had a possibility of being available. By the second try, I had netted one. She gave company for most of my ride. With about ten minutes left, we ran out of things to talk and I hung up. I switched back to the radio and then again I felt the pull of the phone.
I called. On a whim. The conversation was stilted at best. By the time I had rounded the bend to my home, I felt sad. Melancholy almost. I rued the empty feeling in my heart. I knew it had been a long time coming. Today just cemented it in. Nothing unusual or earth shattering happened. It was the final realization that without effort, relationships do go asunder. And sometimes it is OK. And it is not personal. Really.
Back home, I parked, checked the porch for a much anticipated envelope. Not finding it, I went through the motions of washing my face and freshening up while my mind was dissecting, sifting and wondering how many people felt that way about me. Was there someone looking wistfully at an old email wondering whether or not he or she should write a line to check in? Was there someone flipping through an old album tracing a finger over the fading pages wondering? Wondering about how it would have been had we kept in touch?
I don’t know. Walking down the stairs, I sent a silent note into the ether apologizing for the drift. Adding a PS saying it was not personal. Really!
I heard the sound of a van pulling away from our house. A smile crept to my face and I quickened my pace. Peering out the sidelite by the door, I saw it. The oblong white envelope. My heart beat a little louder, a little faster. I picked it up. Half of me wanted to wait for K and the kids to be home before I opened it dramatically. The other half wished to keep it private. A moment to savor the hard work and the effort and luck that brought me here. I lit the twin lamps in front of the puja cabinet, took a deep breath and opened the mail. My fingers trembled as they slid the delicate sheet out.
There it was. The coveted degree. The piece of paper that made it official that I was now a Graduate degree holder. I now hold a Masters in Business Administration. I fingered the paper and kissed it lightly. I set it back on the kitchen island to study it objectively. Was my name spelt right? Did it really mean what it said? A minute later, I put it back into the envelope and waited for the evening mayhem to begin.
As I type this, I hear the squeals from the basement. A booming voice behind. I gotta run for now. But wanted to let you know. If I have not been in touch. If I have not reached out to you in ages. It really is not personal. 🙂