Week who-knows-what. All I know is that I’m not stopping. If I can do this walk in this state of utter devastation, that means I’ll do it forever. And it’s amazing how it still always delivers – there are twists and turns, darkness and loneliness, and magical coincidences and friendly strangers that guide me. There is insight into what is deep within, and what I’m holding onto. There are moments where my pride gets the better of me, and moments where I let it all go and reach out for help, so that I can talk to that friendly compassionate voice on the other end, who brings some light in the darknes and takes me home. And for all of it I am grateful.
I headed out around 3 PM from my home, and walked to Aakanksha’s place. Her grandfather greeted me (I’ve been having fun chatting with her grandparents since they are here visiting, and it’s been helping me practice my Gujarati). I went inside and her dad came downstairs and told me that they must have forgotten the session, and so he called his wife and sure enough, they were still at Carlingwood Mall. So I said it was ok, that I would come back another day. The grandmother was a little hurt that I was leaving so soon (she said “What? Is my company not good enough?”) so I stayed for a bit and had some tea and chatted with her. Before I left, I went to visit the Mandir and the symbols of Lakshmi and Ram and Sita and Hanuman and Durga, and I needed to do that, because there is still so much hurt, and also it feels so nice being in the presence of God. And I say that not just because of the mandir, but all-around. Throughout all the pain, there is God, there is love, there is hope. (catch me on another day and I may sing a different tune!!). I saw that the grandfather was reading a Krishna comic book as I walked out and I made him promise to lend it to me when he is done with it.
Then I wandered over to the park nearby, in the 40-degree sweltering heat, and that’s when everything fell apart and I felt lonely and torn, and that same relentless pain of the memory of when I saw him with her at Nathan Philips Square, that memory that hurt me so deeply, came up and made me crazy and there was nothing to do with the pain. So I went on the swing and I pumped up and down, over and over and I was flying high. Then I messaged by friend Neteesha who is going through something similar and she really understood, and made me feel so much better. Wow. Thank frickin’ God for friends. She was funny and compassionate and was like ‘Fuck them’. I made a typo and said ‘Suck them’ which is kinda funny but probably not a bad idea either. Hahah. People keep telling me that I need a fling but I’m pretty sure that’s not what I need. I just need a latte. And some other stuff that I probably shouldn’t mention here.
I took a path down Stikine Drive, that led to a park and to a beautiful old building that used to be a school-house until 1963 and is now a community centre. They have weekly Toastmasters meetings there, where I’ll be going tonight with my Mom. Isn’t it just beautiful?! I think my Toastmasters group in Toronto is going to be jealous.
I ran into a man there with his two dogs who told me a bit about the history of the building. It was built in 1886 and housed children from European immigrants that had come to Canada from France, Germany, and Holland. These families worked on surrounding farms and sent their kids to this school to learn. Can’t you just imagine it? At lunch, the kids would swim in the pool (which is now a water hole in the Kanata golf course). I didn’t see the water hole but I’ll check for it the next time I go. In 1985, it became a Children’s Art Centre, and is now it is a meeting spot for people in the community. It reminds me of another place called the March House which used to be a restaurant and is now a rustic spa.
I walked to a little clearing in the woods nearby, and was engrossed in an article in The Star about Egyptian Olympian Doaa Elghobashy playing volleyball in her hijab. You go girl!!
I have worn the hijab for 10 years. It doesn’t keep me away from the things I love to do, and beach volleyball is one of them.
And then. Enter Beyoncé. I watched the video “Sorry” and it blew my f’ing mind. If you haven’t seen it, take a look and be prepared to be amazed:
Then I ran into a man with his daughter and they were engrossed in this Pokémon Go game that has taken over the city. Everywhere I go there are people on their phones trying to capture these little critters. It makes me feel like I’m living in a fantasy world (I already feel like that considering how many 69’s and signs from the universe I see everywhere). He convinced me to download it and I’m definitely going to try it out – hopefully the next time we go to Andrew Haydon park, the park where I grew up, where we’d used to have picnics and make kitchdi and go for walks.
Then I continued on and got to Chapters where I had a tazo chai latte and read a bit from The Prisoner of Tehran. Marina Nemat might be the bravest woman I know. She refuses to reveal the names of her friends, despite the demands of the prison guards and even though she is aware of the lashes that will ensue. But her heart is another story. It must close for awhile because she is unable to process the amount of emotional pain and shock she is in. Imagine being safe at home one day, and then being thrown into the world’s most notorious prison. “The world beame a slab of lead sitting on my chest,” she says.
While there, I leafed through the Anna Karenina colouring book (I have a copy of it back at home in Toronto). Also Roshni bought me the novel which I’m really looking forward to reading! I wonder if it is the same one that all these beautiful quotes are derived from.
Following Chapters, I walked down Campeau towards the library (stopping to say hi to the bunnies along the way – I swear they have taken over this city). I watched a game of tennis which made me long for simpler times, when all there was to do was just play, or maybe it reminded me of how my Dad and I used to play badminton here. Or maybe I was just dying to get into the game. Then I got to the library just as it was closing.
I walked home along Beaverbrook, talking to my friend Vaishali, telling her about my darkness and my journey and thankful for her kind voice and understanding. Finally made it home, greeted by my parents who are always there and constant and so amazing; my dad a little worried because it was so late, and my mom smiling and happy, never doubting that I would make it home. Not sure where my brother was, probably listening to music in his room. It felt good to be home.