Come away with me. Let’s dance in the rain. There’s something so peaceful about the weather. The rain drumming on the zinc roofs and the grasses looking greener outside the window. It’s so picturesque. India was good. It was an eat, pray, love journey for me. I found what I had been missing- me. I met with an old lady who most people referred to as the ‘Seer’. I guess you can somewhat compare her with the psychics we have around.
‘What defines you?’ Was the first thing she asked me. I began to express proudly how I was the best in my field and the awards I had gotten for my artistic skills. She smiled gently. And told me ‘wrong answer’ in that obvious Indian accent. I was distracted by the strong stench of garlic that fell out with every word uttered. Gee! Why do people eat that?
‘Think again.’ She said with a crooked smile that exposed her missing teeth. I don’t know what I expected, coming into this little dark room with incense all up in the air. Some moving thing caught the corner of my eye. ‘Is that a live snake?’ I asked, bewildered.
She smiled and calmed me with her hand gestures. Apparently her English was limited and I couldn’t speak her language either. So how’s this reading going to be? I wondered.
‘What defines you?’ She repeated. I gave her another long list of my abilities. I was quite proud of my achievements, my skills, my trips, my possessions and my life as a whole. She shook her head, unimpressed.
‘You are not alive till you have lived’. Was what she said with clenched teeth. What does that even mean? I have lived, I have traveled, I have loved… oh please, what did she even know? Maybe she was just a one eyed woman leading the blind in that community. I was agitated and picked my things to leave. I had just wasted money for nothing.
‘Look outside you and you find life’ was what she said as she stroked her pet snake. I felt as though the slithery animal was crawling on me. I really hate creepy crawling animals!
The sun hit me as I stepped outside. I quickly wore my aviator shades and began the stroll to the cuisine I had discovered earlier. Oh my! The food was so good. It had this sort of pepper that hurts but tastes so good. Pain and pleasure. The two are inseparable. They taught me how to complete the meal before drinking water.
As I slowed down on the food, my mind went back to the Seer. What does it mean to look outside yourself and find life? You are not alive till you have lived? I knew my curiosity was going to take me back. So there I was sitting on the red pillow facing her.
‘I knew you would come back’ she said with that crooked smile. Sure you did, I said under my breath.
‘You are not alive until you have looked outside yourself to help people around. You are not here for yourself. You won’t find love if you do not look outside.’ She continued.
These were simple sentences that seemed to confuse me further.
‘Are you saying I’ve been selfish?’ I asked with undisguised contempt. How dare she call me selfish?
‘We see life as we are, not as it is’ was her response. My time was far spent again and I didn’t want to pay any more money for another session. It felt as though she deliberately picked her words just so she could keep her customers coming back to know more. Besides, I never really believed in the whole psychic nonsense.
I should be on my way. But my legs refused to move.
‘Look outside you and find love’ She said. This time the snake was all coiled up on her laps. I couldn’t spend an extra minute.
I’ve spent the last three weeks trying to decipher what she meant. I’ve read books and biographies of people who have lived life and helped others. I always had this somewhat limited view that when you help someone, you’re cashing into your ‘IOU’ account and it can be withdrawn at will. But these guys just helped others for the sake of helping. How possible is that? Are humans capable of being unselfish? Can our corrupt nature allow us love truly? Is there any purity in our love? The more I thought of it, the more confused I was. The focus had shifted from them who left to me who remained constant.
I want to dance in the rain.
Forget my pain
Wash away the stain
Let the tears go down the drain.
I thought this was the end. But is there ever an end? Or are endings just beginnings?
©Mfon Etuk, 2016