After almost a year I put aside the usual mumbo jumbo of "life" to go back home to see my family. After a rejuvenating three days I woke up in the early morning packed my bags and tiptoed into my parent's room to say goodbye to my mother. She was shivering. Her forehead was warm. "I'm OK. Its just a cold" she whispered as I hugged her goodbye.
My father is out of town for work and my brothers like me, are grown and gone. She doesn't need me. A pot of tea and a can of soup aren't complicated. But does anyone need anyone most of the time? Did I need her to press my forehead when I was sick as a child? Or make pakoras and fruit chaat every day for iftaar? It was one part obligation, but it was three parts love. And I can't return the favor because I have places to go, I have things to do.
They say distance can be a good thing. That absence makes the heart grow fonder. That one should not live in the same cities as their parents. Something about conflicts. Avoiding them. Maybe, sometimes. But right now it just seems like a thing you say to make yourself feel better. Right now I want nothing more than to be there for her. But I can't. I'm too far away. I have to live with the knowledge that the one who spent her entire life making sure mine could be easier, will be home alone tonight with no one to make her chicken soup. And maybe the emotion is too strong, but right now, this singular thought affects me deeply, as though creating an irreperable cut directly to the core, a chasm, a gulf, which feels as though it can never fully close.