One night I prepared to sleep after doing my usual routine, have a cup of milk, brush my teeth and warming up the quilt. I lay there under warm layers when sleep took me into its arms.
It was as if I had woken up in another era with 1000 feet high mountains all around me and sky was this peaceful shade of blue and orange as if after a great tumult a soul has been cleansed. It was dark and nothing in sight. I with fearful heart took my first step into the darkness and below me there lay a puddle of quick sand. No matter how hard I tried to run forward it was as if I hadn’t taken a step. Worry and anxiety took control of my senses and I started to squirm and struggle in search of something to hold onto. I saw this small hut with light emanating from it like ray radiating from sun going far across the horizon. Only problem was to reach that hut, it was way high, higher up on the highest mountain in sight. As I reached to the hut, my heart beat raced, I opened up the door and one plain sight broke me into tears and loud cries.
I saw my nonna alive sitting in center of the room over a wooden square shaped pebble and one quick gaze around the room; I saw nothing, absolute nothing around but empty mud walls. I wondered where the light was emanating from. Then I looked closer, walked one step towards my nonna, she was the light. She was shining brighter than any star I have ever imagined this bright. I should be scared but I wasn’t. It was as if I saw my grandma after centuries. She was calm. She was staring at me, rather boring into my soul. It was weird, she always was conventional, talkative and perky person but right now all I could gather was grave silence not uneasy but something made me believe she was not allowed to talk at this place. One thing I knew, ma knew was nonna’s greatest fear which was to be left alone in the world. She was always emotionally dependent on family. She was all alone here yet I could not see her insecurities. This peace took control over my body and I drifted to her like opposite magnets. I feared that any moment she might disappear and out of nowhere I started rambling, “Nonna, how are you? Are you scared to be alone here? Me and ma miss you so much and we love you. Nonna please forgive me for the time when you visited us in summer and I was short in temper with you, when I yelled at you when you lost your bladder control on your way to the washroom and when I fell asleep one night with airconditioner on and you beside me all coiled up with cold and then in morning when you had shortness of breath. And forgive me for not stopping you from going back to your home. I keep thinking if I could have just made you stay with us forever you could be alive today. I will regret my temper on you forever. Ma misses you so much. She has become so silent. It is like she is waiting for you to come around like it is a bad dream that will end soon”. I waited for nonna to respond but she didn’t, I waited for expression to give it away but she didn’t.
Still afraid to loose precious time and well aware to say all the things my ma would want to tell her, I continued, “Remember nonna that evening when me, you and ma were sitting on the patio discussing family gossip and how much we laughed over panty jokes. Ma keeps beating herself over how she could have done so much more for you. She says she should have saved you somehow. She told me how you kept asking ma on that hospital bed, “What happened to me? I was fine few days back. Save me guddi (my mother’s nickname)” You always use to ask for more salt in your veggie and we always said no coz we worried about your blood pressure. Now I wish we had given you as much salt as you wanted. What good we did by giving healthy food and aloe-vera gel to your system and your entire system shut down on hospital bed when enemies within your veins revolted”.
I was in agony past 2 months since my grandma passed away and the guilt of my behavior was killing me every day. I just couldn’t forgive myself. I knew right now, the way nonna was looking at me, she knew my pain, my suffering and that how sorry I was. Suddenly she touched my mind with her energy like cheating on whoever is incharge of that place. Subconsciously in cahoots she unzipped her heart and I could feel her. I was surprised and merry for what i felt. I felt symphony of peace, softness of soul and light of lord caressing every part of her, every part of me. Her feelings spoke volumes saying, “I am happy here. I found peace. Tell guddi she has done more than her duties as a daughter. She has been the best kid in the entire world. I am always here watching over you all. I have found my home. I am not scared to be alone here. You were the most loved grandchild of mine and will always be. Forgive yourself coz I have never hold anything against you”. And when i was starting to find comfort, her mind detached from mine. And I no longer felt attached to her beaming light. I knew it was time for her to go. I got up and for no particular reason looked down the small window across the room as if someone is forcing me to look. I saw a man with softest boyish looks with black jeans, black shirt and a black jacket. In one instant he was looking somewhere far and in another he lifted his gaze upto me, my heart almost jumped out of my body. Those black eyes with light ringlet in his eyes still sends chill down my spine. Don’t know why I saw him, don’t know who he was, and don’t know what purpose he served. I turned around and saw my nonna get up, she smiled as if secretly trying to tell me something about that man and in another second she was starting to pull away, in utter unease I yelled, “don’t go yet, please”. But before I could say more she was disappearing into thin air. Just when I thought her glimpse was gone she smiled at me saying, “It is all going to be just fine”. Sunlight beamed in the room through that small window and I came back to consciousness with sweat beads down my spine. Just like that, with those drying sweat beads my regret that lay heavy on my chest and mind vanished away too.
Now whenever i hit a rough patch i repeat last word of wisdom I heard my nonna say, “its all going to be just fine” and things start to make sense again. My approach to handle situations changed, I became more resistant to temper, I for no reason never feel the need to use airconditioner anymore and I keep repeating to myself, ‘love all as long as you can, time is short in hands’ Ma is able to move past the death of nonna to relive those happy days once forgotten/buried behind the aching sadness.
That dream gave me and ma a closure to move ahead in life without any regrets. She will always be missed and loved in our hearts. I can feel nonna sneaking in from the doors of heaven on her personal pebble saying, “those who are remembered can never be forgotten thus truly never alone”
As for that man, I still wait and in prayers of faith every once in a while peek down my own window for man who my nonna chose for me.
In memories of you grandma,
Yours forever granddaughter.