The first night back in Bombay after what feels like an eon. Emerged from the shower scrubbed clean of the days filth and made myself the ritual coffee and sat on my favorite chair, with it's back to the open window and the evening breeze. Plugged in the computer to my beloved speakers and played all of the songs that make me so happy. And felt the rain begin behind me, and the rising of the noise from the street rise to meet it like an outraged lover caught in another petty infidelity. Over the song I heard them argue, the rain and the city, and let a sigh escape from where I horde them like a miser.
The rain only came to try and cleanse the city of its self-loathing. As it came every year. And as it wept over her unrepentant and fallen lover, I felt my soul reach up to embrace her like a beloved aunt. I whispered meaningless words that she said she appreciated nonetheless, wiping her soft, wet hands across my face and my lips. And we stood there a while, the rain and I, barefoot in the damp, holding one another and looking down across the still shrieking city.
Last night I couldn't sleep. I didn't know why. Sleep and I being on such friendly and easy-going terms. I lay my head down in my bed on my parent's farm, my favorite place in the world, at around eleven thirty at night, just done with a couple of chapters of an old favorite book I re-read from time to time. I tossed and I turned, and I swatted mosquitoes and I went to the bathroom and I drank lots of water and I stared up at the ceiling. It was around two am when I heard it. My heartbeat. Like an old war drum sounding the sighting of the enemy across the city walls of my spirit. Barbarians at the gate again. Tuh-duuhm tuh-duuhm. Tuh-duuhm tuh-duuhm. On and on it pulsed, getting louder with every barely sucked in breath. Battering at the walls of the storeroom in my chest, where I kept the joy I had so carefully collected over the ten days that I was ambition-free in the lap of my parent's secret paradise.
I knew why the drums were sounding. I knew why I couldn't sleep. I thought it was only me, but this morning when my sisters and I sat huddled in our airplane seats, they told me that they too couldn't sleep last night. It was because we knew we were headed back here. To Bombay City. Where no matter the weather or time of the year, a storm crackled across the sky, its thunder shattering pavements and hearts, it's hurricanes blowing the roofs off the beleaguered multitudes pathetic hovels, and our resolve and our joys and our hopes out to the filthy Sea, and it's lightning, that we each carried in our eyes, like never-healing scars from a malevolent fire that we took so much delight in singeing each other with.
I felt the echoes of that Storm last night on the farm. I felt the adrenaline flood my system at the thought of my impending arrival back into the heart of that tempest. How could I not loose sleep? This thing was designed to be a breaker of hearts and men. It was a sentient presence, vast and hungry and vampiric, that took the best of us away, filling the holes with only empty yearnings and fatigue.
But here I sit. Upon my favorite chair. With the ritual coffee dancing its way into my belly. And the sound of the rain...
This isn't meant to be a negative piece. This is not me being full of doubt or fear. This is me acknowledging my enemy. Standing atop the walls of my spirit, shaking my spear in the face of that storm. Batter me down, let your tyrant winds blow, let your petty thunders shiver my sky, let your lightning cause the very stars to flee from their night time perches. I will not be bowed. I will answer your storm with song, and laughter, and giggling fits that can cause temporary facial paralysis.
There are people here, full of magic and light. Moments full of the most complete wonder. Because they come to you in the midst of that quiet storm, like sudden visitations from angels you had gone weak believing in only to see at last. There are conversations that flow like wine, music shared that strikes up every unplayed, dusty instrument in the long abandoned concert halls in you. There are nights like these, where the rain comes down just as you're ready to feel alone, and washes the worries away.
There are nights like these, when the words fall with the rain, like secret missives from the stars. Telling me that the quiet storm of this city's cries, will never break down these walls. We will shake our spears at the enemy. And though we may know fear, and we may feel weak, and we may be scarred, we shall never go down easy. We shall defend our happiness and our dreams, until the dying of the Light.
Here I sit.