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HONORING MY MOTHER | Snippets from the corkboard of the mind




A SUNDAY morning drive to visit the granddad. During one of those extraordinary times when one knows deep inside that whatever is seen from out the car window may all seem ordinary and naturally part of everyday life.

At the stoplights, your own eyes casually meet with empty stares of strangers in the other vehicles. While their eyes hide the struggles within, they blend perfectly with the light-blue face masks which in turn, desperately try (but fail) to project the message, “I am protected”.

As I am sure you would have heard by now, we really are at a different time. Like a ship with still a good view of the pier, we can’t still believe it as we ask ourselves, how long has it been, almost two years? With that coronavirus pandemic unceremoniously landing like an alien spaceship and spreading mayhem all over our “normal” world, the pier as we know it, has become permanently a thing of the past.

At least as a consolation, tagging along with both the invisible virus and an overwhelming fear, had been a deep feeling of introspection on our part, that long-called-for review of what has become of us.

No, all these may not have come from out of a mere Sunday morning drive, although that may have triggered it, in the same way that anything these days elicit similar contemplations.

The advent of 2021 may have had everybody hoping, and when it looked like things were going to stay more or less the same, it had been back to gritting teeth. All in all, ordinary trips can indeed create in one’s mind an endless montage of images. My God, it’s full of stars!

Navigating through the essential corners of one’s own mind, feigning normalcy with people we know and squaring off with levels of depression on a daily basis, these have each become our common brain teasers in this pandemic time of ours. If sanity were indeed safely snug in both your hands, I would have to temptingly ask: “How are you holding it up?”

On a personal note, the early months of this 21 may have brought a load-full of sadness at varying levels: the loss of a brother, then of a friend, and just more recently, an acquaintance. Is there anyone else I’ve not been informed of?

The corkboard at the moment may only read how really mortal we are. Meanwhile, the happy pictures, many long-faded, with some of them already frayed at the edges, dangle delicately, held only by rusty and cracked pushpins. In comparison, how are we holding up?

You know, my old man with each visit, always says he is tired. I look at this as his own version of a secret note which reads, tired but hanging on, so what’re we to complain about? A funny read of it, really. As sure as we all have our own crosses and things to whine about, we’re still breathing, aren’t we? In spite of ourselves and the uncertainty of the times, there will always be one more inch of road that is reachable, a fingertip at a time.

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