Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Basics

Sunday I sleep late—right through church, not because of any nightmares or fear hangover, but just because I’m darn tired. I’ve been going to bed around midnight and getting up at 6:30 in the morning. I think I’ve racked up a little sleep deprivation.

Since I don’t have Sonu on Sundays, I resolve to just poke around at home and be lazy. I haven’t really taken a day “off” since I landed here. I’ve been running about and seeing everything and getting myself filled to bursting with new experiences.

Also, there have now been two spates of bombings in two days in two Indian cities. I wonder, on this third day, if Delhi is next. It is the capital. There are plenty of easy targets. I decide it’s best to steer clear of the crowded markets and auto-rickshaws, where it’s rumored that some of the bombs that went off in the other cities were planted.

After breakfast, I laze around in bed, watching the BBC World News until noon. Then I get up and read one of the plays Scott sent me, The Laramie Project. It’s good, but depressing: the story of the town where Matthew Shephard was killed.

I decide to check out what’s on the Hallmark channel, not because I would ever do this at home, but because it’s one of the only English language tv channels I get here. Hallmark and BBC World News. I get the Disney Channel, but it’s dubbed into Hindi, which is always amusing for about three seconds, then gets old.

We Were the Mulvaneys is on. I know it as a novel by Joyce Carol Oates, one that I’ve never read, so I figure I’ll watch. It might be good. And it’s okay, but depressing. It’s about this picture perfect family that totally falls apart. “Mom always said it’s nature’s way to scatter,” the narrator remarks.

Between the play and the movie and feeling a bit stuck inside my guest house and alone, I am utterly depressed. The first three weeks went so fast, but this day alone is an eternity. I tell myself to buck up, but on top of everything else, my leg hurts. That scratch is really bad.

As though he had ESP and could tell I was about to fall into a pit of despair, Scott rings up my computer via Skype. We talk for a while. I tell him I read the play. Thanks for sending it. I whine to him about my leg. He wonders if it’s not a scratch at all but a bite. I try to take a closer gander at it, which is difficult. Darn if he’s not right. There’s a circular lump on part of it. If it’s a bite, that would also explain why I didn’t remember scratching myself. But it’s no mosquito bite. It’s nasty. Scott wants me to ask the people at the guest house about it, but they speak so little English I doubt they’ll be of much help. Plus it’s getting a little late here. I tell him I’ll ask Sonu or someone at work tomorrow. He guesses that’s okay.

He’s going to go mow the lawn.

Okay, I say, but start to cry. I’m not so good with being alone, despite all my discoveries at the Lotus Temple. I miss him terribly. His smile. His warmth. His caring.

If he were here, he’d be nursing my wound and I could be the baby I want to be about the whole thing. But it’s no big deal. It’s good that I can’t be a baby. It’s good that I have to figure this one out by myself. Just like the tv and the door lock and the microwave and my alarm clock. This is another exercise in patience with myself, in confidence in my ability to handle things. It will be okay. I will be okay.

And all this despair is about my needs anyway, not a wish for the well-being of anyone else. All this despair is selfish. If I can just stop thinking about my needs so much and focus on others, I’ll be closer to feeling love anyway. How is my poor husband who I abandoned on the other side of the planet. Did I even ask? Or was I too wrapped up in the fact that I spent the day alone? It was probably closer to the latter than the former. I need to practice this wishing for the well-being of others in times when I am feeling sorry for myself. My voice was right. I wasn’t ready for a more complex answer. I need to get the basics down first.

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