When I heard a noise behind my back, I had thought some other guy had fallen off. Or some other woman. Some other – nothing to do with me. This city has taught me to be nonchalant to others. Countless faces who trip and fumble and get teased and molested and raped and murdered and run over and beaten up are just others, they don’t concern me. Every day I see some or the other bite the dust, and mostly always I turn my face otherwise and walk past them.
Blessed are the forgetful, Nietzsche had said. Last July when I saw my grandfather slowly ebb away from a lively generous existence to a living corpse, I felt a lack of desire for everything in this world. It was sudden, and the feeling so overwhelming that it gripped me with despair and remorse for weeks. I realized with him I lost a part of me. There he was, all smiling and asking me and my sister about our lives, jabbering about his time and how it was greater than what he saw today, and within the blink of an eye I saw him on the hospital bed, impaled with needles and pipes and instruments of all kind, lifeless. In occasions his senses came back, but with his power to express gone, the pain in his eyes were immense.
I couldn’t look at him when I went to see him for the first time in the hospital.
Then he was gone, probably to a better place. I thought I’d come back to normalcy, the I-don’t-care version of me. Luck had something else in store for me.
My entire world froze and flashed in front of me when I saw the person lying two feet away from me in a pile of dust and broken tiles was my mom.