My eyes are glued to my phone, the screen that is being shared too tiny for me to follow. The voice in my ears is talking about some test strategy. I am there mentally but physically I am in the morning sun, walking home after waving bye to my youngest as she boards her morning bus.
I step into the grass to let a baby and his grandfather pass. I barely look up, my actions instinctual. Stepping back on to the concrete pavement, I misjudge something and the next thing I know I am falling, falling. My knees bear the brunt of my overweight body followed by my knuckles clutching my phone.
My neighbors are alarmed, they ask if I need help. I demur, pick myself up and limp home. Before entering my home though, I respond to questions on the call and hang up. I gingerly lift my thick fleece pant to inspect my boo-boo. The skin is raw, the inside of my pant bears evidence of the epidermis that friction dislodged and deposited away from my body.
I hang up my coat, put my phone away, catch Saathi up and hobble upstairs to shower. The warm-hot water grazes my exposed, raw skin and nerves and for a moment it feels like I am on fire. I am tempted to turn my knee away but I stay still, letting the water wash away the blood and fibers from the fleece. I flinch and truly sit with the pain. I let it consume me. I let it fill my mind and experience it wholly.
Later in the day, I watch states get called for the incumbent or the challenger. The grief I feel is intangible. I want to push it away. I want to ignore the pain and focus on the many paths to a razor thin victory. But I do not. I sit with this grief. I let it consume me. I think of the people among whom I live. People who condone what the incumbent has done so far. I imagine going through each day interacting, working, buying groceries from, doing business with and, living with people who believe that they are superior because of the color of their skin, their gender, their sexual orientation, their religious beliefs.
There is anger in me. The anger that stems in me each time I am told to do things I question. My typical retort is “If you want it so much, you do it to yourself, for yourself. Your freedom ends with your nose…”
I wish each of us could internalize what that means. If there is some aspect of another person’s belief or assumption that bothers us, perhaps we should keep it to ourselves without imposing our views on others. If we could do this with respect to religion, freedom over our bodies, gender, accident of birth, skin color, ethnicity and, race then the world will be a much more happier place.
Sitting with this pain, experiencing it, understanding it and acknowledging it gives me relief. The relief is slow. The pain goes away eventually. Sometimes, it needs an ointment. Sometimes, just a hug and kiss does just as well.
Denial though, just festers, builds, infects and kills.