It’s 5AM and I’m aboard a bus going to the city. Normally at this hour I wouldn’t be awake but I have to get to Dubai before 8:30 AM. I’m starting my training to become a homecare nurse, and as much as I am grateful to have found a job within a month, I’m still a bit melancholic because this job will be dictating so much of my future. With my signing the offer letter I am already signing on to giving 2 years of my life to this job. When the contract ends, this job will dictate whether I would ultimately go back to my home country and settle down, move on to a probably better foreign country, or stay here for another 2 years of my life.
Looking back a month ago, I wouldn’t even be thinking these things. I was hell-bent on earning enough money to go back to my family and pay off my debts but as the gravity of this path settled down on me, I realized I couldn’t. I have to, no matter what, finish this path I’ve insisted on taking. I wanted to fly away, spread my wings, test my freedom, I once wrote on my diary and now I’m doing it. I’m even commuting more than 3 hours one-way on this stretch of foreign land alone so tell me if I’m not ultimately spreading my wings. I must have wrote that for a reason and even though I have now forgotten why I was so bent on moving away, I think it must have been for a good reason so I intend to continue on this path my 17 year old self has dictated for me.
And I’m now writing this because I know so many people is the same as me; that feeling of wanting to move away and find yourself… I’m telling you it’s going to be scary. You’ll ultimately feel you want to go back that plane the moment you realize you’re miles away from home. You’ll probably cry a lot the way I did too. You’d be so sick of your mopey self and your friends who’d be there will probably be too but you couldn’t do anything because you’d feel so lost. . . But this is a great adventure! I know that now, and I intend to see the end of this so I hope you do too. Take that first step alone if you can so you’d know your limit, and continue taking the step after that. If I had done it, I know you could too. After all, we’re both wild creatures at heart; we’re siblings, you and I.
He was walking aimlessly; I walk an empty street, on the boulevard of broken dreams goes his background music inside his head. It was on replay, that particular sentence to be exact, since he found it fitting for his situation. He was traversing the road where it all began and although it wasn’t empty like the song, he sure did feel like one as the memories go by and the dreams slowly shatter to pieces. I was supposed to make it all work out this time, he thought with regretful reminiscence of what passed as the best connection he ever felt with another human. The wind blew, a scent of Jovān White Musk wifting pass his nostrils and he came to a halt. He knew that smell well- the scent he has been waking up to for three years of his life, the one that has always made him smile and reach across the bed towards its owner and yet, he couldn’t quite look up and search for the person wearing that scent now. Someone cleared her throat and his knees trembled; he knew that throat-clearing like his own, catching his attention whenever he drifts off to where his mind automatically shuts down to and dumbly focuses on a certain part of her- her lashes long enough to cause envy to all women, her lips plump and red as cherries, her nose that challenged the right-angled ruler; she was a goddess sent to give him absolution and yet, he lost her. And now here she was, clearing her throat, wanting his attention when he was afraid it was all just a dream.
“How are you?” She asked, and he heard the uncertainty behind her voice, as if she was not quite sure what she was doing. How could she have graced him her presence once more when he doesn’t deserve it?
“Um,” she paused, unsure, waiting. “Er, it’ll be Amma’s birthday on the 20th and you know how much she adores you…” she trailed off, and that action was painful enough, like she was even unsure if her Amma really did adore him, that he raised his head and looked her in the eyes. She was looking at him with uncertainty clear on her eyes, possibly worry, or doubt, or anxiety mixing up the hues of her bright greenish-blue iris. She looked like she wanted to run away from him as fast as she can, but also she looked like she wanted to reach out and ask him what was wrong. And that would be the stupidest question she would’ve asked because right now, everything was wrong.
“Are you-” pause. “Will you come to Amma’s birthday? Please? For Amma?”
And he looked at her with increasing intensity, trying to imprint her face in his mind, as unworthy as he is to be graced her presence. He didn’t answer her question; he couldn’t waste a single nanosecond when he knew this might possibly be the last time he has to look at her. Even when she grew uneasy to his scrutiny, he didn’t waver. He looked at her as she waited for an answer, and looked at her when he fidgeted on her toes, uneasy, and looked at her more when she smiled awkwardly for the last time, and looked at her last when she turned and retreated, her silhouette vanishing, mingling with the bodies busily roaming the streets. That’s when his voice broke through, a whisper-sob that escaped his unworthy lips and he murmured I’m sorry.