My teacher says, that if you’re a yogi in this life, in one of your previous incarnations you lived in Rishikesh, and that returning there will be a homecoming for your soul. I didn’t really believe her, considering how I felt in India last time I was there; and the wave of relief as I boarded the plane home to Melbourne. But I still couldn’t get the idea out of my head.
We were chatting on whatsapp. In the downtime between our first few dates we took this occupation seriously. More than once I tried not to reply, until I failed three times in a row and gave up.
For the Aussie battlers, and the sassy babes working in clubs, who still get hassled, no matter how bored their resting bitch faces are...
I’m drawn to old ducks like Judith, somehow. Their kind of life can happen to anyone, and it’s best to be prepared. From her eagerness it seemed as though she was more or less alone, and didn’t want to be. It smelt like divorce.
If you know about the Barro hotel, you make sure to visit as often as you can. Its shabby grounds are curtained by a stubborn row of pine trees that screen guests from the streets of Addis Ababa; a city that everyone is sick of by nightfall. I was at home in a discussion among regulars, when I saw him walk over to me. Even though I was in good company, it was a little frightening, because I thought we’d said goodbye for good.
I had plans to go to Cairo, and then, who knows. R had been calling his mother more than usual lately. All I gleaned from their long, emotional, Spanish conversations was that he’d been asking her for money. It wasn’t clear that she had any to give. As far as I knew he had $50 USD left, which probably wouldn’t even get him back to Cape Town if he needed to split.
"You want to know the saddest thing?" she said. "Last year nine students committed suicide. Nine undergraduate students." I bowed my head a little and agreed, "it really is the saddest thing".
What does it mean, that the weight and heft of my mother’s life can be measured by a number, and that the sum of her struggles and sacrifices has been spent, in part, on my thoughtless folly?...“It’s not a question of whether you deserve it,” someone once said to me. “But you have it, and now you've to figure out what you do with it.” It demands I take responsibility, and when dealing with it, I feel a great deal of pain.
There are seven billion people in the world committed to different things, at different times, in different ways. And each person is a door to a part of the world I haven't known before.