Brain refuses to budge. Creative flow, or whatever that’s left of it, halts for no apparent reason. My soul screams in frustration; my heart kicks in anger. Hassan’s stories lay neglected on my absolutely-to-die-for writing desk. I could hear Hassan “tsking” away at my lack of progress. The fact that he is sailing thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean does not stop him from frowning at me in disgust. I couldn’t quite apportion the blame to this misery. I suspect it must have been the recent change of address for my family. Like a true Taurean, I weather changes with unfriendly attitude. The move to this new abode must be the cause of me not writing anything from the heart.
I miss my pathetic less-than-a-thousand-square-feet apartment. I long for the balcony where I penned down thousands of my incoherent thoughts on my aging moleskin (badly wrinkled and stains of coffee visible from every corner). That balcony had been a Camelot of my life for the past four years. Here I am at the fringe of the new house staring into nothingness. The smell of jasmine permeates the air; the smell grandma loves so much. The drunken sailor struggles to embrace the pillar in its stunted growth. And the frangipani, its young branch soaring up, hoisting a new bloom of white and pink: it smells like heaven. But even the tender touch of nature fails to uplift my spirit as I yearn for my old library in Setiawangsa home.
I remember the day my husband shelved up the old library many years ago. Disgusted by the sight of books strewn around the house, he stormed into Ikea and bought 5 shelves, measuring 8 feet in width. He paid the handyman handsomely to mount the shelves against the wall in the second bedroom. He named the place – with old books haphazardly arranged – “my wife’s library”. I used to sit in that library for hours on end. Once during my pregnancy, I fell asleep on the floor trying to finish the baby journal I started. I was obsessed with Dr. Stoppard’s books and I e-mailed my obstetrician on monthly weekly basis. I wrote notes after notes for Luqman.
A day before Luqman was born, he did not stop kicking the wall of my stomach. I wreathed in utter pain. Hopeless, I sat on the chair in the library and put “Besame Mucho” on air. Miraculously, the child stopped kicking. The song soothed him. I slept a dreamless sleep after that. Lost and forgotten in that space, I found the deepest of solace and comfort I can’t quite explain in so many words. Prior to the move, Mama stripped the shelves bare of books; my heart sank looking at the bereft library.
As I wait for Encik Mukhlas to set up my new library at this still-foreign-home to me, I understand that life evolves and I must make peace with it. Jefree, like a good husband he sometimes is, forsook his other plan for the house to finish up my new library. He must have sensed my restlessness of not having that space to call my own. For that, my love for him knows no bound.
Goodnight sleepless wherever you are…