It hurts. No, I’m serious. This really hurts. I’ve been trying to shut all of these voices but they refuse to keep quiet even for a bit. Around me is a bathtub, a broken mirror, an old-fashioned changing room, and pipes cracking from the roof, all of these you’d probably only see in a rustic abandoned house of 12 years! Of course, you’d ask me why I’m here.
I remember the nights my grandmother and I sat in the balcony with my head on her lap, positioned for me to be easily able to look at the night sky beauty with stars telling a tale; but my grandmother was a better storyteller! While I lay in her lap, she would rub her hands over my forehead. These were the most beautiful nights I’ve spent with her. She would tell me stories. And she would talk about this place I’m standing in.
The bathtub was my grandfather’s first purchase of his salary; quite expensive for a middle-class family. Perhaps he bought it with gallons of love and enthusiasm. “You see, it’s the gesture that counts,” she said. “I was brought up in one of the richest families in the city. For the first month of marriage, I remember him not being able to look at me with anything but inferiority. It took me 3 letters and 23 burnt meals to explain to him that I was comfortable with him.” As she said this, I saw a tear dropping from her eyes. I didn’t say a word. I let her be. You know how teenage girls talk about their boyfriends; boastful and exaggeratedly? You should have seen her talk in the same manner. “When he brought the bathtub,” she continued, “he looked at me, smiling ear to ear. Have you seen him smile, ear to ear? You were one day old, how would you remember? He smiled ear to ear and told me that he wants to get the world’s richness to see me smile forever. I didn’t want to ruin the moment, you know? I hugged him and wrote another letter that night. Because he was the world’s richness to me whose hands I could hold and smile forever!”
“Why letters?” I asked.
“I don’t know. Maybe I wasn’t as vocal as your grandfather. The little that I talk now, is all because of him.”
“You miss him, don’t you?” I ask. Ignoring my question, she begins to talk about the house.
Last month, I saw her die in the hospital bed. And the last letter she wrote wasn’t to my grandfather, but to me! At the end of the letter, she penned,
“Yes, I do miss him, sweets. I miss every moment I spent with him. And you see, I have no problem in living alone, Koibito, but the world is so much better with him. I cannot wait to get back to him.
I’ll always watch over you. I love you.
As I stand in this place, I see the house exactly as she talked. The house where my father spent his childhood. The house where he sneaked his girlfriends through the back door assuming my grandparents weren’t aware! The house where the love of his life brought in more happiness to the existing. The house where he learned his lessons and taught me mine! The house that shouted of happiness and talked about togetherness. The bricks and the walls only understood the language of metaphors my grandmother sang to them. The house that captured love for 60 long years! I don’t even know why I’m referring to it as ‘house’ and not ‘home’. Or maybe I do! And all the bricks in the walls, shout of metaphors my granny taught them. And now, they refuse to shut up.
(Image credits: Pinterest)