Heart on my sleeve

A sudden yearning to put words on a screen that doesn’t involve anything work-related brought me back to my blog. My weakness is that I spend so much time planning, that I don’t spend enough time writing. If only every thought that ever went through my head could be magically recorded down somewhere; it’d be brilliant.

I went back home to Queens for a week-long sojourn last week. It was everything I expected and more. I invited one of my old roommates and close friend from San Francisco, to join my family for Thanksgiving. She arrived a few days after me and became fully immersed in the chaotic, dramatic, emotional screenplay that represents my life in New York. I went to Toronto first to see an old friend’s new baby. Once best friends, our relationship had become bitter and resentful over the last couple of years. But this year represented big changes for both of us, changes that have made us both happier. She got married and had a daughter, I moved and started a new career and these things seem to have helped shelve all the resentments that were starting to fester. The whole plane ride to Toronto, I was anxious; last time I went to visit her things ended disastrously. I missed the biggest event of her life–her wedding–something we had dreamed of planning together since we became friends 14 years ago. Not being there on that day was bad enough, I didn’t want to miss out on meeting her first-born, an even bigger event in her life than her wedding.

Things were awkward at first. She had this shy grin on her face while her two sisters and I were chatting in their mother’s living room where we were all staying for the weekend. We talked about everything else except the problems that caused a rift in our friendship in the first place. A few times, I thought about bringing it up but I knew that it was pointless. We each knew what the other had done wrong and even though we are both stubborn in our own ways, we silently decided to forgive and forget. At one point, when it was just me and her taking a walking outside, she suddenly hugged and me told me how much she appreciated me coming to see her and the baby. I swallowed back my tears and didn’t respond; I knew I didn’t need to.

Things will never be the same between us again. As teenagers, we used to pine for each other as lovers do. Wait the 2-3 months until we’d see each other again and stay up all night talking in either her house or my house. We had an unnatural bond and it was bound to crash as all intense relationships do. They don’t say moderation is key, without a good reason.

After that emotionally draining weekend, I arrived home in Queens. The first day was spent going to see my sick grandmother in the hospital. To see a powerful woman who ran a teacher’s college back in Bangladesh, bed-ridden and on life-support was alarming. She’s been sick for quite some time now and she probably doesn’t have much more time left. I have never been very close to her, I’m much closer to my maternal grandmother. In fact, for years, I was angry with her, she had always chosen my cousins over my sister and I. We always felt neglected by her and the rest of my dad’s family. She fearlessly played favorites and to this day, I never really could understand why. So yes, perhaps my sympathy towards her pain and suffering was not quite on the level that it should’ve been, but when I saw the tubes sticking out of her, I let go of my anger.

After the hospital, I took my family out to dinner, in celebration of my new job and of us all being together again. This is the second time I’ve been home, but the first time I saw my dad since he was in Bangladesh the first time I came home to visit for Eid in September. Sitting in the restuarant, my strong, independent parents seemed meek in comparison to what they used to be. My sister and I picked out the menu and they silently went along with it. Having just come back from visiting my grandmother at the hospital, my parents turned a decade older in my mind and it was scary to think that one day, one of them might be lying there in the hospital, while I look on helplessly. It’s a scary thought and one I regret revisiting, even while writing this blog.

I had one more day after that, to myself, before my friend from SF flew into the city. I went shopping with a few close friends in the afternoon and had dinner with an ex-coworker and good friend. After dinner, I met up someone I had met in Bangladesh earlier this year at a wine bar in Queens. The someone was a he and let’s just say, sparks flew. The sparks flew the second time we met as well (at least from my end). I don’t know what the future is going to bring, but I hope good things.

And thus the anxiety begins.

Among other interesting events during my first major trip back home was the comedy track that runs in almost every South Asian-American girl’s life; a seriously Fobby suitor. My mother had been bugging me to meet this guy for months and she forced it on my by inviting him over on Thanksgiving. I let her do it; I knew she would enjoy showing off the fact that I had cooked almost everything on our Thanksgiving menu, including the bird. He arrived while I was sprucing myself up in my bedroom. From my mother’s description, I already knew this was going to go nowhere (a full ten years older than me at 36, way more religious than me as he prays 5x a day and immigrated to the U.S. way later in life ), nontheless I still got nervous. So, when I laid eyes on him and greeted him with ‘asalamwalaikum’, my mouth instantly soured.

How in the world could my mother think I would be interested in him? Had she grown that desperate? I don’t mean to rag on the guy and I’m sure he’s a perfectly decent human being but c’mon, dude had his hair parted on the side, with oil or some other slick substance. He wore a full-sleeved black button-down tucked into pleated trousers that looked like MC Hammer pants but nowhere nearly as cool. I’ll stop the description here as I feel guilty belittling a person in this way. I caught him stealing looks at me anytime I was in close configuration and I tried not to look at him as much as possible. Thankfully, there were so many people around that we didn’t have to talk to each other much. In fact, I kind of felt bad for him because everyone was ignoring him. A few of my friends had come over later in the evening and I couldn’t help but tell them of my plight and we were all silently laughing in our head at the Fob that my mother dreamed would become my betrothed.

I feel like a horrible human being for even saying it like this; but what was the dude thinking? He knows my deets–born and raised in New York City, live in San Francisco by myself, work as a communications professional–it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that I’m an independent, modern chick. How could he or my mother think we would have anything in common? Needless to say, I rejected him and I hope the case is closed with my mother.

The rest of the week flew by with sight-seeing, celebrating a few birthdays, etc. Saturday night was rough as some other drama ensued between me and an old friend, but I won’t get into that here.

All in all, it was a wonderful week; albeit emotionally and physically exhausting. An apt description for a visit to the Big Apple.


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