Visiting

Bus stop, on the left. And straight ahead, the temple. Perhaps it was a calling, and not in the passing. It was always there but I never bothered to visit, and neither was there a reason for me to walk that extra 200 meters to talk to the dead. Overwhelmed with all that has been happening lately and the mutated voices overcrowding in the mind, perhaps the temple could offer her some sort of comfort, as if one were to seek asylum across border just so to escape their war-stricken country.
It was a place we only visited once; twice a year at most. Even so, it would be under the parents’ guidance and practice, in by main door, out by main door. In all confusion for the many doors that seemed to be a main of different parts of the temple, I gave up and just entered in accordance to what felt right. Skipped greeting the gods, and lighting the joss, and walked straight through to where grandma sits. Of all days, why today? Did she call for me, to hear my voice? Could she visit me in my dreams?
Hi. How are you, up there?
Uncertain who she was accompanied by, it struck me that most ot them who were there with her was from the same province, and the others on the same row were from her hometown too. But isn’t it interesting? Started out together, and maybe they’ve led different lives, they’re now seated together, for eternity. Many thoughts generated as she scanned through the room filled with perhaps a thousand and one other souls, looking for words to say and topics.
Take care.
Gave up remembering which exit was right, which was wrong, hence leading to settling for a convenient way out. if mom and dad were here they would’ve scolded for being disrespectful, for not following superstition, for all sorts of myths and taboos. Was it rude to ignore the presence of the gods, or to step in empty handed? Was it impolite to bring nothing during a visit, but only questions and thoughts? Was grandma even there? Would grandma visit me or answer to any of the things I’ve mentioned whilst standing there for ten minutes looking at her bottle of ashes, a face and a few essential details engraved in gold?
Maybe she was just talking to herself. Perhaps that was what she needed most, there and then, just some peace and quiet.

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