The circle, the cycle, the life.
It’s cloudy and the atmosphere is still. It feels suffocating. The humidity is making my hair curl, my otherwise perfectly straight hair. My t-shirt is sticking to me and I change out of my jeans. Such a mistake to wear jeans in this weather I realize. I wish it’d just rain, it feels like the clouds are just being stubborn. I lie down on the tiled floor hoping to get some comfort. My mind races to another such day, another suffocating humid day years ago. Ironically, we were all praying for it to not rain that day.
It was 4 years ago. The weather wasn’t much different, but the moods were. Everyone’s moods were oscillating between ecstatic and frantic. It was my elder sister’s wedding day and the reception was in our back yard, open air. The weather guy said a thunderstorm was expected that night, we were hoping against all hopes that the clouds would hold their bladder just a wee bit longer and let the reception happen and get over gracefully. As we ran through the day, each person to a job, my cousins ran to pick up their tuxedos from the dry cleaners, I ran to get the florist to fix her blooms. There had been a mistake; the flowers I had ordered were not the flowers that had been set up. I could feel this panic setting in the pit of my stomach if my mother saw that the flowers were not what they were supposed to be. I remember the beads of sweat trickling down my forehead. Heat or nervousness, I could not tell. The florist was apologetic, but she could not replace the flowers, there had been a problem with the florist’s truck, it had met with an accident and therefore our duly ordered flowers could not reach the city.
I felt a dread, slowly rising from within, the kind that appeared right before the final exams. I had only one elder sister, and as I sat down and tried to come up with ways to pacify my mother, the reality of it all, the wedding, hit my across the face. Not only was my sister going to move out, she was going to move away as well. No longer could I demand to be dropped off at a friend’s place on a 2 second notice, nor would I be able to sneak in at home late. My sister, my confidante was moving away from me. It had already started, the wedding preparations left her cranky and moody, and she would often snap at me. We are siblings, we are programmed to fight. I felt bad for fighting with her when she was in fact so stressed about the tiny details that mattered so much on that one big day. My heart felt heavy. I already missed our time out in front of the TV when we’d both share a big tub of ice-cream over a ridiculous movie, or when we played Wee and id beat her at tennis every single time. Despite all our arguments and our love-hate relationship, I knew it was just love, not hate that made me feel that way. It was that hot n humid day, as I sat in the corner of the attic, the only place I could find peace and quiet, my face wet with the tears running past the beads of sweat, that I realized the true meaning of heart ache. I was truly going to miss her. I said a little goodbye to her in my heart; I was obviously not going to cry in front of her.
I went downstairs and got busy. The world underplays the tasks that need to be done in a wedding household. Everyone’s tempers were soaring and the temperature didn’t help. The ladies were worried about their hair style not staying in place due to the humidity; the men were upset because the tie felt absolutely inappropriate considering the weather.
Somehow, we managed to get everything done in time. Everyone was ready and we all soon packed in a variety of cars and headed to the church. After a beautiful ceremony full of confetti and tears the wedding party headed home for the reception. I found it ironic how both the tears and the confetti are always partners, and they are so little, yet when they come pouring out, they come in large numbers. It was all frenzy at home with dad running after the caterer and mom dealing with the guests. I was trying to make sure the cars didn’t block the road. I hated how weddings are always for the guests to enjoy. I hated being stuck running after people to make sure everything was done in time and done right so that the guests could enjoy a smooth party.
Most of all I hated how no one seemed to care that my sister was going to go away. The celebration didn’t make sense to me. Maybe we should have been more like the Indians, who cry when they bid their daughters farewell. I felt sick and pretentious. But I felt all of this with my eye on the sky and a little prayer in the heart playing itself on a loop. No matter how much I detested the idea of my sister going away, I wanted to see her happy on this one day she had so looked forward to. And I did not want any rain to trample her dinner.
Everyone seemed to enjoy the food, oblivious of the threatening clouds. I could almost smell the festivity in the air, or was it the hors d’oeuvres. Every rumble of the clouds got my parents and I looking towards the sky. Every time there was no rain, there was a little prayer of thanks that escaped our lips. Outwardly we all seemed to be enjoying the party but we each knew what we were feeling in our hearts.
The evening flew by, and the reception was relatively uneventful. Our prayers came true and it didn’t rain till the instant she left the house for the airport. It was a beautiful night and no one actually noticed the flowers. I realized, we don’t pick flowers or dresses to impress the guests, but in fact to give our loved ones the happiness that comes out of little things. The tiredness and the fatigue after hosting a party as that is not painful, but it is a sweet ache that numbs the heart ache. I realized I wasn’t the only one hurting; my parents were losing their first born too. All those movies like the father of the bride and all were hitting home.
Now, 4 years later, my sister has moved closer to home and she visits often. We still have our ice-cream dates but with an addition- her little baby girl who gets the ice-cream all over herself! My sister moved away, but the birth of her daughter has been a wonderful addition for our family. It took me time to understand that things can’t always be the same. They need to evolve, which is why there is a new and an old. The old gives way to the new and in due time the new becomes old.
It’s a cycle, a circle, its life. Life for us did indeed change, but for the better. As I sit up and look out the window, I notice that it’s started raining. I smile to myself and feel the humidity give way to a cool breezy evening.