Saturday, 15 April 2017

passing thoughts of a museum greeter

up and down, I wander... then pace, like a tiger, like tipu's tiger, ready to bolt.. I take a deep breathe, I look to the clock, a minute has passed, I stop. I stand still. I close my eyes. An eternity passes. I open them. I begin to wander again, into the renaissance gallery. narcissus is staring into the ground, his reflection has disappeared, the fountain is no more, the waters have evaporated- gone... there is a naked stone man, he is slaying another, his stone eyes furious, cold, filled with disdain... lyrics pass through my head, that old hindi song, lagan tumse man ki lagan, lagan tumse man ki lagan. I'm somewhere else, under the blue sky on a charpai in lahore on a balmy spring day. so many years later, so many years... life is passing by, sometimes freely, aimlessly, but there's so much left to do. shit, and I'm here, just wandering, just witnessing, a timeless act of violence; inert, still, restless, ill, but here... still here... alhamdulillah for life.

I watch the people pass by, a Japanese man wearing a blue kimono, an old Indian lady dressed in an orange and gold sari, trainers poking out, she smiles at me, I smile back, I forget sometimes that I'm not invisible, not yet- slowly fading- not yet. A monk in red robes, he's drifting, countless couples, little kids, elderly... tourists, dressed in beautiful attire. I have cat hair on my scarf and dust on my boots. I wonder, is it possible to die of boredom? I watch the clock, ten minutes have passed. I try to remember God. I try once again to do dhikr, I move my thumb across the length of my fingers... repeating as I go; subhanAllah, subhanAllah, subhanAllah, subhanAllah, subhanAllah, subhanAllah, subhanAllah....... 'excuse me miss, where are the closest toilets?' I'm pulled back to earth. Straight ahead down the stairs on the left. I repeat for the hundredth time. 'thank you' Off she goes. I sigh.

The construction workers pass by in hard hats, in neon yellow, gruff, they look out of place.... the director walks over to the information desk. I try to stand a bit straighter, but then I decide I don't care. I want to bang my head against the beautiful marble pillar. I want to lie on the floor and fall asleep until the end of time. I want the glass chandelier to come crashing down, but is it possible, I wonder? to die of boredom. thoughts that lead nowhere. isn't it funny, all I ever wanted to do was wander and watch people and watch life unfold, and sometimes it's everything. Sometimes it's perfect. my face hurts from smiling. I still can't laugh. On a good day, when my imagination runs wild, a thousand good thoughts to feed off, a soul energized, illuminated, pleasant exchanges, connections abound. a memory comes to me, a distant vague memory, the well of death, mona lisa's sad smile, her eyes bore holes into my heart, the stars and ocean at dongbaek, taking out the trash, fire and ice, a place i once tarried. But sometimes it's bad, because it's tiring doing nothing, and watching the clock, and waiting waiting waiting, and watching and wandering in circles, up and down, with only thoughts for company, the bad kind, the kind that won't ever go away. I lose my mind. I wander, I watch, I wait. Maybe it's the prednisolone. I feel dizzy- as though I'm caught in a whirlwind. The constant sound of people chattering is jarring the noise, the noise, the noise, the movement. You chose this. I close my eyes. Everything is everything.

soon i'll finish my shift, and I can walk under the sky. birdsong and river and evening light, solitude. sweet sweet solitude. my mind calms. I open my eyes again. A stone figure is staring at me. I will turn to stone. People will walk around me. Don't touch the statues!

I wander around islamic middle east, everything is too beautiful, the feeling passes. everything is nothing. I go back to the clock, the clock the clock...............................

what took you so long?

I don't know. I shrugged. Life happened. In my mind I search for the answers. Everything that comes to me, leaves me feeling a little emptier. self loathing, self doubt, a thousand insecurities, lack of courage and a desire to be free. <hesitation> a need for self preservation. What took you so long? The voices within and without. The rejection, the heartbreak, the condescension, the heartbreak, the self doubt, the job vacancies in my inbox, the voices, what if you're not good enough? you're not good enough, nothing even matters. Does it even matter? The questions, the questions, the questions, the questions. What took you so long? The past, the path, the daydreams, it seems; Life happened. an inability to commit, to trust, to speak openly, to kick up a fuss, the desire to leave, the heartbreak, the loss of faith, ---- to wait. Missing God. Missing God. Missing God.

I watch the clock. A few minutes to go. Just a few more minutes.