Friday, June 05, 2015
The motorcycle skidded, the driver said something; called out your name, asked me if I knew you, before I turned around, and very briefly, so briefly that it never even allowed my mind to register until long afterwards, flashed your image—your face, a little bit rounded now, your faded blue and gray collared shirt, your feet stretched out before the whole length of your body in perfect calmness, just the way I thought you used to do—as the motorcycle skidded past, so fast that I couldn’t even register in my mind the meaning of your sudden presence. As I turned around again you were gone. All I saw were trees, the coconut fronds, some weeds, the wall of some houses, the iron gate of Uncle’s house, and my heart sank. What followed was the stillness that lay between us through the years; the long quiet that has forbidden me to speak your name. Can we ever cross that stillness? Will I ever hear your name again? When will I ever find the courage to ask: Where have you gone? Why did you leave? What were you thinking when you used to sit on the porch of our old house? What did we use to talk about? Did we ever have anything to talk about? Or, did we just stare at each other as the seconds and the minutes ticked by; and eternity swirled in a moment of stillness?