Even after three decades of submerged life here in the US, it is almost always that intense existential sense of dislocation of exile and the dichotomy that defines me and my everyday discoveries.
Winter has finally arrived. The temperature has started to dip below the freezing point. The sharp wintry winds cut through the heavy layers of the down jackets, woolen caps, and leather gloves. I walked down from the 64th and West End Avenue to the 72nd Central Park West to cross over to enter the park. I was cognizant of the famous Dakota building, as I always do, and I started to hum, “Have yourself a merry little Christmas.” I looked up. Judy Garland was standing by the window and singing along. The maestro Leonard Bernstein was accompanying her on the piano, a floor below.
All was good until it became infamous when its other famed resident John Lennon was gunned down on a cold December night forty years ago. Every time I am walking around this neighborhood, the same thoughts come by, followed by the humming of the peace anthem, Imagine, and I can sense the broken world melting down to a beautiful unified one with no borders and no fences.
I crossed over to the other side of the road, following my usual route to Central Park through the Strawberry Fields. I saw the poor glove near the entrance, lying there, holding the beautiful white oak leaf.
First, I whisked by it, trying to ignore it, but then, I retrieved my steps, and the glove looked all the more melancholic and forlorn, hoping perhaps that someone will come by to claim it with a cheer.
I looked down, the wind was blowing, and I said, “you too?” I started to feel a kinship and saw the coachman drawing the carriage pass by and, the tinkering sound of the saddle and the sleigh bells from the horse lingered in the air. I wanted to pick it up, I hesitated, and then I did. I took it with me to the gate, placed it on the railing, and wished for it a happy reunion.
The other day I saw another beautiful ivory-colored glove with a golden border, and I thought who it might belong to—a montage of faces, stories, and words weaved in my head. The lost glove, unpaired by destiny, always makes me sad. I, too, am looking to find the other piece of my immigrant life. The lonely glove left behind carelessly, my other self, lurking somewhere midair behind those soft downy clouds floating away across the blue sky. Just like a Japanese haiku of separation, loss, stitched with the loneliness in the big city. A lost glove is looking for its mate. Am I not just the way of the world?
Aren’t I just like the lost glove in search of the perfect pairing with life, family, friendship, looking for my journey within and out — if we are a left hand, aren’t we looking for our right hand?
The holiday season is quiet and muted this year, with prayers for a remission—the white lights of hope streaming in through the science labs across the globe and uniting all, the lost and the lived.
As the needle pierces through the skin, the grins are spread onto our tired cheeks as we burst into the waiting spring morning like a blackbird’s melody, ready to break through our imprisoned life.
Good Riddance, 2020.
The new year bells will be chiming soon everywhere, bidding farewell to the decade and ringing in a whole new year. Though our hearts are scarred tonight, we will still spread joy to us during this season and always dance, like the happiness of life within ourselves cannot be tamed.
Happy New Year! Love and Peace to All.