Friday, September 11, 2020


My husband and I were driving home in the evening exclaiming how clear and beautiful the twilight sky was with some remnants of the sunset moments ago and the twinkling blinks of some stars, Venus and Jupiter were making their appearance. As we stepped outside the car, I needed to take a moment to stand there and breathe in the fresh air and the gentle warm breeze caressing my hair and skin. The night was momentous in its calm beauty and peaceful silence. We slept with our windows open that night because the valley within which we live embraces the wind through the summers so the night refreshes us from the heat of the day with its natural air conditioning passing over the mountains. 

    This morning we woke up to what I initially thought was a cloudy morning but the breeze was bringing in a nostalgic smell that alerted me to the unique nature of the hazy appearance outside my window. In the afternoon we stepped out for our weekly grocery run and stood outside shocked at the change from last night. Ash floated in the smoke scented air transporting me immediately to the warm dusty smoke-tinged air of a busy city in Pakistan. The atmosphere reminded me of a dust storm blowing in painting everything in a burnt orange shade. 

    The swift change in weather became a stark reminder of what the entire year of 2020 has been like so far. Everything around me moving and developing in patterns so quickly that I cannot adjust. A lot of my life decisions this year required quick thinking and sudden responses to immediate challenges. 

    Because of the pandemic, I needed to return to Canada due to immigration reasons and needed to be prepared to say goodbye to my husband who was driving me to the border. We feared they wouldn't allow him to pass through because they allowed only Canadian citizens and essential services entry. But we played the game of fate and see if we could convince the border patrol officer to let both of us through so my husband would not have to make a three and half hour drive back home. Luckily,  a confused border services officer who did not know what to do in the situation let us through. My husband was working from home, so we survived.

    The strange situation led to my two siblings who were studying in Europe to return home because all the universities shut down. In my mother's eyes, the pandemic proved to be a blessing in disguise because she did not expect that we would all gather in her home all at once anytime in the foreseeable future because of differences in schedules. She became the happy mother hen all over again, showering us with her unconditional love and stuffing us with her delicious home-cooked meals. I enjoyed being fed biryani, an aromatic rice dish of boiled rice mixed with either chicken or goat curry combined with an array of whole and mixed spices that soothes the soul to the core. Then there was also her butter chicken, which I must admit feeds an addiction of mine.

    Everything seemed to go well until my father suffered a heart attack in the middle of the night and our world changed once again. This explosive situation crept on my father from out of the blue, and we were all unprepared. Now lifestyle changes needed to be implemented, and it was also time for my siblings to fly back to Europe for their new school years. My mother's golden hours shifted into the darkness of twilight. It would be time for all of us to head back to our respective lives. 


    I am not sure why my life revolves around brief notices, but two days after arriving back into the US, I received my email for the immigration interview so I had to speed back home to quarantine. I am sure I have left the border officers confused with my antics of comings and goings in time of lockdown. As this is not the end of the year just yet, there will be more of these sudden surprises awaiting me, I am certain. The treadmill under my feet definitely revved up a few notches to keep me running on my toes this year. I wonder sometimes if this is a new beginning will become normal for this new decade that barely dawned on us nine months prior. I am wary of what news tomorrow will bring to light. All my days are blending into each other mostly because it is so challenging to keep up and I almost afraid to blink. 

Until Next Time,

Photo by Remi Yuan on Unsplash

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