Category Archives: story

Detour from Love’s Path

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It has been a long time since I last posted. After flying to see my beloved Shiva, I needed time to heal, nine months apparently. Perhaps, it would have taken longer had the Universe not intervened.

Nearly a year ago, I did it. I overcame my fear and took my daughter and I across the country to find Shiva. I thought I had prepared myself for anything, but I hadn’t. I thought that I was okay with any outcome, and I wasn’t. Somehow I expected that my grandiose gesture would somehow win back the heart of my dearest love. Unfortunately, there is no heart to win back. There was no heart ever lost.

I was pleased with the Universe bringing everything into being. The last minute plane ticket, booked mere hours before flying. The educated guess of where and how to find him. They all played out. After being quite a shock to Shiva, after all arriving on his doorstep unannounced, he joined me for a five hour heart to heart.

I am so grateful. I could have gone to find no one home. He could have rejected even seeing me. He could have been angry or hurt, but he wasn’t. He was calm, confused, shocked, but kindhearted and loving. It was during this night, that we came clean with our feelings, unspoken for months. There was no doubt in his body language or words. He still loved me. He still loved me every bit as much as I loved him. He still loved the daughter we’d raised, so much it brought him to tears. But it didn’t change the family dynamics at play.

I couldn’t help but cry as he explained that he’d never change his mind, that he’d never come back to me, that he’d never accept a life with me that meant a “broken family.” And my heart just broke and broke and broke. In fact, it still breaks every day that I live, not knowing him. Because after holding me in his arms, kissing my forehead, shaking, and gasping for breath, he assured me that he’d never see me again. He begged me to never enter his life, that we would be parted forever. And I couldn’t accept that.

I still don’t. All of my friends and family tell me I am foolish. I tried, don’t get me wrong. I spent much time throwing his photographs in the trash, removing traces of him from my Facebook profile. I spent the rest of my time, crying, pining, and attempting in vain to move on. I dated men who were all very compatible and likely will be wonderful partners to a woman who can love them. But I have to admit to myself after these long months that I am not free to love anyone else.

Recognizing this limitation has been a freeing thought. Allowing me to love myself for the undying devotion I possess for Shiva. I ask myself, “How often does anyone love another this true? How many people go on for years unable to even consider someone else?” I feel as though I am grieving a spouse that passed away, and not a relationship ended. And I know that it is okay.

It may be insane. That is okay. Love is insane. Real love, true love, magic love. It is all insane. There is no rationality that can be assigned to love. And it is magic. And when I accepted that living with this faith is better than living in the despair of trying to move on, my life had joy returned to it.

With this peace, I have been thriving. And then, only a couple weeks ago. I see him. Shiva, my love, who is supposed to be living so far away. He is standing before me, clear as day. He is across the street, it is raining. He sees me at the same time and we both instantly freeze. I tell my sister standing next to me that I see him and try to point him out, but the rain is too heavy for her to see. I start to walk to him, but crossing the street in a trance I almost step in front of a car. My sister grabs my arm. I look back and see him walking to the edge of the street too, but it is harder to see.
I look at my sister and daughter and tell them I think I should go, it has to be him. And my sister says it can’t be. I look back and he’s still standing there on the edge of the curb, as though, he is also unsure if I am here. I wave and he holds his hand up to his eyes to block the rain to see more clearly. I wave again and he stands straight, but doesn’t move.
My brain kicks in and says, “That isn’t Shiva. He lives more than 3000 miles away. He told me he’d never come back here.”
We aren’t in a place I ever go. The neighborhood is strange to me except for the one corner we are standing on, the corner where Shiva and I used to go only when memories of our California vacation pester us enough. For on that trip, we became committed. On that trip, we made our plans, after that trip, we were cemented as a pair and it was that trip that led to our marriage plans. And in fond memories, we’d come to this corner, talk about all we’d done, how we’d been through so much that trip, and how we’d grown closer together. And then we’d sit and eat in that restaurant that reminded us of the peak of our Cali experience.
All of that flashed through my mind as I stared at Shiva’s form. My daughter was crying that she was getting wet, my sister pulling my arm, and I could scarcely breathe. Everything in me pulled me to him. But the longer my brain hammered into me, the less he looked like Shiva. With a heavy sigh, I pulled myself away from this man’s stare and we retreated to the warm dry of the restaurant. After getting our names in, I ventured back out to see him, but he was no longer there. I laughed to myself for the mirage I had seen.

That was until the day before yesterday. Two days ago, I learned it was my beloved. A mutual friend, ever our mediator, shared with me that my most dear love was there. And that I had walked away. But, he said, not to worry, it isn’t healthy for me to worry about this. At first, I was worried. At first I regretted my lost chance. Would the universe ever grant me another?

But today I realize, of course. Most definitely the universe will bring us together again. It brought us together in the first place, and each time after, and through many trials. I smile as I remind myself that there are no coincidences. That Shiva and I have always agreed there is no such thing as chance. I tell myself there is a reason I walked away, a reason we missed that connection. Because it wasn’t really missed.

In fact, it is the light that began burning in me weeks ago, that rekindled my hope. Even when I thought it was a waking dream, I had found myself riding the wave of joy that he and I had always shared. And I can feel that he and I are sharing it again.

Our truest loves never truly leave us. They are in our hearts. I look forward to the time we are close to each other once again. Our year anniversary, of the day he said he never would see me again nears. And here, with no choice from either of us, he is proved wrong. Some things, we decide with our minds, others we decide with our hearts. And our hearts, they will lead us on the right path, even while our brains take us on detours.

Dil to Pagal Hai: Crazy Love Story

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The film is great, but the message is greater. When we are in love, we are crazy. We do unreasonable things, all thoughts of what we should do go out the window. My relationship with Shiva has had this element of crazy meets beautiful romance drama. But do we long for the love or for the drama? In my case, they are both wrapped into one.
Our love story is a dramatic one, filled with mystery, intrigue, passion, surprise. The lovers begin as strangers that find themselves living together under less than typical circumstances. They are blessed with two intermediaries in the form of a child and a sincere, empathetic friend. When, they meet, the spark is there. Clear and bright, both recognize it and log it into their respective journals. Afraid of what the spark will lead to they attempt to suppress it, but neither intermediary will allow it.
After months of thoughtful gazes, two a.m. soulful lessons, heartfelt question/answer sessions over home blended loose tea, the two find themselves walking in the warm sunshine of the south gazing upon local works of art. They share their first meal, their first concert, their first donation to the homeless, and their first brief touch. A brush against the skin of one hand to another and sharing a gaze filled with sparkles in their eyes. The music of live performers and the scent of incense from a vendor adding to the sunset lit moment.
Flash forward to a first “date” a warm night lit by a full moon, Both have found themselves secluded in a back corner of a large boisterous table full of friends who know each other well. Shiva knows one person at the other end, and I know no one. Our sequestration leads to another shared meal and quiet whispers to each other. These unheard thoughts about the rest of our company only gives us an excuse to lean in closer to one another, hoping to have yet another brush of a nose against a chin, or a giggle shared with those crows feet in his eyes. All amounting to a gleeful bike ride home. Just before reaching home, he says, “are you a lover or a fighter?” and I answer, “a lover, of course”. He nudges me gently, “but what do you love that you’d fight for?” and all I can think is, “you.”
The first kiss, as with all first kisses, a momentous occasion. One that leads up to itself with immense tension. And in this case permission. It’s so close and so far, but neither dare step too far forward into it. They wait, and finally Shiva breaks the silence, “May I kiss you?”
Is it enough that the story already feels like a far flung chick flick? Do they dare add lyrics to their madness? Oh, they dare. A song that become’s Shiva’s song, one that becomes a metaphor for the entire relationship, one based in their unified love of math and its definition of the universe. A song with lyrics founded in the enigma that is infinity, the limitless experience of love, the boundless range of possibilities that comes with finding one’s soul-mate.
From more joint love songs shared with one another to impromptu adventures to the natural springs and the warm blue oceans to the tallest waterfall in the land, to cities and vast open land, from one corner of the country to the other.
The love story is filled with the surprises from uplifting tales of overcoming childhood fears to facing the despair of family disapproval. There are mysteries about the other uncovered, barriers stretched and boundaries broken. There are disappearances and reappearances and plenty of tears and laughter.
Are all love stories this way? The human drama dictating our paths? Here, I am writing about my past 2+ years as though it were a movie review. But that’s how it feels now.
Shiva is gone and silent. He neither returns calls or texts, didn’t even acknowledge when I told him I was in the hospital and barely able to breathe. I hear from our good friend, that he’s pained, just as much as I am, that he’s trying to be honorable, to let me move on, to refrain from giving me false hope. Yet another climax in our story is here, do we make it, do we fix it? How many love stories see the lovers separated by some force only for a great awakening to happen and force them back together? Is my heart crazy for believing in such things? Most friends say, “let it go”, “there are more fish in the sea.” And here I am, willing to starve if not have the fish that is mine.
“No,” I tell myself, “I won’t give up on this love, I won’t accept a limit on infinity.” And so I focus my energies on manifesting our reunion, Completely with suspense, song, and cheesy romantic flare.

I gots South Asian creds, yo!

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Alright, so some of my southern ghetto speak may have snuck into this post, whatcha lookin’ at? (BTW: Shiva says when I say, whatcha, I actually get a properly Nepali “cha” past my lips) I digress, I found myself earning some benefits to my South Asian connection this weekend. A couple months ago I went to get my eyebrows threaded and was eavesdropping on the girls in the salon. It was hard to follow, but I picked out a few words that sounded a lot like Timi and Chup laga. ‘Tapaii Nepali bhaana? I ventured, fearful that I’d made a mistake in phrasing. The two girls stopped and looked at me quizically…”What?” the girl holding floss asked me. “Oh, I’m just learning, I stuttered, I thought I heard some Nepali words and…I’m sorry.”
“We speak Urdu,” said the girl behind the counter. She was short and I couldn’t tell if she was simply correcting me or offended. “I’m sorry.” I offered, “I’m really trying to learn Nepali. I do know one Urdu song though.”
“What Urdu song?” asks the threader in a threatening tone of disbelief.
“Lodi. Its in one of my favorite Bollywood movies…Veer Zara.” I still feel like I’m being interrogated and am required to submit extra proof of my transgressions.
“Why are you learning Nepali?” She asks.
“Well, my boyfriend…I’ve been learning for about two years…”
“Your daughter? Do you teach her?” The lady behind the counter asks.
“Yes, well, I try. Her Nepali is probably better than mine.” I say.
“Well, we are pretty close in language,” says the threader, “you can practice with us.”
The rest of the time went on with listening to them talk and me trying to guess words. At the end of the threading when I went to pay, the girl behind the counter said, “I’ll make you a deal.” and she spells out a deal that I prepay and basically cut about $6 off each of the next visits for 6 months. I agree, pay her, and find myself filling my name into a composition notebook and being told that next time I come, I’ll be covered. I leave and feel pretty thrilled about the discount, although I didn’t really know at the time that it was because of my South Asian link…
Skip to this weekend when I went back. When I arrive, I follow the directions I was given previously to mention at the start that I am in the notebook. The girl at the counter stares and me and says, “there is no, notebook.”

I feel myself turning red. I’m wondering if last time was a joke I didn’t get, or if I’m being lied to now, or if I’m just really confused. “Well, the girl, last time, I paid her up front and she said I was covered for six months.”
“We don’t do that.” the counter girl informed me.
“But, I protest, I even paid with a credit card, I mean, there is a record.” I am feeling a little panicked, what did I pay for…?
I keep protesting with the girl and trying to explain when all of a sudden the girl who took my payment comes running from behind the wall shouting at the counter girl. She pauses and looks at me deeply. “She says, you are the white girl that is learning Nepali.” As if there is only one, at all, ever, in the whole world. If possible, my face is now redder. I sort of scratchily squeek, “Yes.”
“I don’t believe it.” she explains, “say something.”
Something? Something? I know a lot of somethings, which something? And suddenly, my mind is empty…”Tapaiin lai kushee lagyo” what I said to Shiva’s parents when meeting them enters my thoughts…no, not that. Keep thinking. The girl puts her hand on her hip and is obviously annoyed with me. I look at the other one who nods her head as if to say, “Go on.” Why can’t I think? Where did all those days and nights of Nepali practice go?
“Ma Nepali seekdaichhu.” I blurt out. For a moment, I’m not even sure if what I said is Nepali, let alone a sentence. I find myself wondering if seekdaichhu really does mean learning…did I remember something accurately? And the girls start cracking up.
I smile, apparently, it wasn’t that bad. I’m feeling more secure that I didn’t make a mistake. And they can hardly hold themselves. They are speaking to each other in Urdu again and laughing so hard that the rest of the salon that wasn’t already staring is now really focused on us.
Why isn’t this over yet? My face is burning with embarrassment and these girls are laughing at me, and the salon is staring…oh, why, why did I sign up for the notebook plan? Finally, the girl who came to my rescue says, “I told her so, have a seat.” They finish my eyebrows and pull out the composition book at the end, find my name and say its all sorted out. The skeptical girl says, “Next time, just tell us you are the one learning Nepali.”
I leave, pretty sure that I’m now known as “the white girl learning Nepali” to the set of Urdu speaking girls the the threading salon. And so, this is how I earned my first set of South Asian creds.

I was gonna throw it away anyway…

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This past week, Shiva and I were discussing the orange juice he brought with him when he moved in and the bottom line. It was just taking up room in our refrigerator because the brand I buy is WAY tastier than the brand he brought with him. After purchasing three cartons of my OJ brand since his arrival, I proposed getting rid of the extra large jug of the OJ we had yet to open. He agreed with me as he had on our very first “date” that the food we would be ousting couldn’t possibly find its way into a trash can.
Let me back up. Before we were a couple we went on this trip to an art festival. I guess it might technically not have been a date as our roommate came along (at the urging of Shiva, not that I minded his presence, the roommate was apparently aware of our affections long before we were and maybe was a core ingredient to bringing us together.) Anyway, we were walking around and finally the scent of carnival food go to us and the three of us were meandering through the vendor aisle attempting to figure out what to eat. We came across an Indian food vendor harboring such sweetness as pakoras, grape leaves, curried chicken, mmm and other South Asian goodness. Our roommate, a vegetarian declined my invitation to share the deluxe meal, but Shiva took me up and we found ourselves stuffed with over half our plate left. Neither of us could justify throwing the food in the trash when the location of our art festival also happened to be our towns center of homelessness. And after arguing over who would be the one to hand over our leftovers to the homeless people on the steps of the courthouse. We didn’t want to seem condescending, but also thought the food would be wasted if thrown in the trash. Thankfully our roommate came up and loudly said, “don’t throw it away!” in such a way that one elderly homeless woman shouted, “whatever you do, don’t throw it away!” and so that is how we became dedicated to not throwing food away when we could give it away.
We decided easily that we’d be giving the OJ to someone on the streets, I actually had a pair in mind that I see every day after dropping my daughter at school. I thought about it and  decided that we could definitely part with more than our unwanted OJ. I cleaned out our cupboards and filled up a large paper bag of foods we, had to face it, weren’t going to eat.
I had hoped that I wouldn’t offend the homeless men I see on the street every day but I didn’t expect what I did see. The man, only one of the two I always see together, cried. He kept saying, “are you sure you can spare this?” I wasn’t giving him a great meal, I was giving him a bunch of food that I wouldn’t eat. Because Shiva and I have the luxury of deciding that we don’t like our organic rice cakes, or that we prefer Florida OJ over Brazilian from concentrate OJ. We get to say, I don’t feel like eating that beef jerky we bought on the road a couple weeks ago, or we have more stale hamburger buns that we will use and if we want some buns, we’ll just buy fresh ones. But all these items we’d just as easily throw in the trash, were making a grown man cry and asking if we could truly spare this “waste” to him. I still don’t know how to feel about this. I’m amazed at his humility and my selfishness. There is not much that is more humbling than realizing that you are truly lucky to have enough resources to literally discard food over not wanting it.
What do you do with the food you won’t eat? What do you do when your bread has gone stale or you just don’t feel like eating that snack you thought you’d test? What about your leftovers that are maybe just a few days past, mmm, “I’ll eat that.”?