June 30, 2008

Remembering How To Smile

Here’s the scene: 1:48pm the temperature is a perfect sticky 90 or so, the same temperature as my blood. It is difficult to tell where my skin begins or ends. The afternoon storm clouds make their way into the sky like a herd of elephants, grey and enormous, ready to explode, unload and clear the air of this weight. I am listening to Sun Kil Moon’s album of Modest Mouse cover songs. It looks like this:

Please listen to this song as you read the rest of this post:

Kaia just had lunch and is off for her nap; we spent the morning eating breakfast at our favorite restaurant in KL and swimming at a friend’s pool. She is not yet two, but she can nearly swim. I know that if she jumps in the pool by herself she will not drown. I don’t know why, but the fact that she feels so comfortable in the water makes me so proud of her. This pride when mixed with love is the emotion I have been searching for my whole life. It must be what heaven feels like.

I am living two clichés and contemplating where my life is going. Let me explain: The grass is always greener, and you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone, both lessons in living in the present, or better stated my inability to live in the now, haunt me as I reacclimatizes to Kuala Lumpur. I find myself staring at the trees, asking myself why we ever left Kuala Lumpur. This place is nearly perfect. Living in the desert has taught me to appreciate things I took for granted while living here. The city itself is so green. Living in Doha, I yearn for trees, but here they are everywhere. A simple drive down our old street nearly brought me to tears.

How often do we appreciate the trees in our lives? They are truly magnificent creatures. It is easy to weigh them down with symbolic meaning, but just to watch them in their natural element is enough. They are like bridges between the earth, the air, and water in the atmosphere. Rooted in the earth, they pump air and water better than any man made machines. They are perfect. I strongly believe that their absence in my life in the desert affects my moods. I watch them sway in the late afternoon here, waiting for the rain, another element missing in my life in the desert.

Yesterday I was driving with Kaia in the back of the car singing songs, when I noticed the low lying fog, heavy with moisture, crawl past a hill covered in the remnants of a rainforest. My thoughts: this is where humans were meant to live. Near the equator where the air is the temperature of our blood and we float amongst the clouds stripped of our skin. The air leaks water intermittently, tiny drops bouncing off our windshield. There is no sand in the air, no unbearable heat, life is real. It is alive….

Walking to get dinner, Kaia’s hand in mine, I notice all the people I never noticed when living here. They come in all shapes and sizes. They are wearing shorts and I see their shoulders and calves. They are lean and fat. They are beautiful and ugly. Their diversity is refreshing. They are not covered from head to toe in black cloth. They are not staring at me form behind a veil. They are out in the open. They are socializing. They stop Kaia and I to smile and grab her cheeks. We smile. We may not be family, but we are not enemies. They do not make me feel uncomfortable. I miss interacting with human beings. In Doha, people skitter by like ghosts.

Not sure where this post was going. I didn't want to write a compare and contrast essay, but that seems to be where this is going, so I will stop. I just wanted to document this perfect afternoon as I sit here listening to soft music and trying to pin down exactly what this moment feels like. Before I left Doha, my mom told me to calm down and relax. Well mom, I am off for my afternoon nap and haven't been this happy for as long as I can remember. I will try to learn how to return to Doha with this feeling tucked away somewhere safe, but for now I will enjoy what I have right here…Remembering how to smile:

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting account.

    I have the same feelings, but I usually feel them through art, performed, literary or visual.