being back gives me mixed feelings. in my head, i keep playing back the last 5 days i spent in pakistan. and all i can think is.
i miss you. it’s been almost 8 years. but you’ve still managed to stay close to my heart and managed to do your job from 7,000 miles away. without you, i wouldn’t be sitting on my disgustingly hot leather couches in brooklyn. i’d still be in lahore, running from house to another, unsure of whether i was going to make it or not, unsure of where i was going to sleep, what i was going to eat. i miss you and i wish i could thank you to your face.
i don’t know the next time it’ll be safe to go home. but i know that no matter what happened. i’ll be going back. maybe this december, maybe next december. but one of these winters, i’m spending with the cousins, sleeping on floors and looking over my shoulder. i can’t go back to our town, but that doesn’t mean i can’t go home again.
i want to endlessly scroll through my dashboard, but i keep playing back the last week in my mind.
and i have to get this off of my chest.
i just got back and i want to sit down and cry until i can’t breathe. i miss you so much.
the smell of dust, the spices and the people. the ones that sleep on the sidewalks by punjab university and the ones that lock up their priceless valuables. the old woman who bangs on your window with a crippled child and promises prayers for money. the marketplace where you can get run over if you step on the wrong cobblestone, the little kids who pretend to pickpocket you for food. the smell of soap and incense in our house, my velvet enclaved room, the wandering eyes of the country boys, the city guys with calculating eyes.
the marriage proposals, the cousins who never stop telling you they love you, having no limit on spending money, eating what you want when you want, being able to leave the house and come back never, dancing in the rain and being carried home. motorcycle rides through the dust and sore throats from all the sugar and cold coffee you imbibe.
the gifts from peasant boys who can’t afford 3 meals a day, but still want to show affection, the marble porch where i spent every summer that mattered to me, the letters that i’ve kept buried in my mind for years coming to life, the gunshots that celebrate everything, the 117 degrees of summer, the bright outfits everyone wears, the insults and the excuses, that one caress of affection from your eyes that i’ll remember for as long as i live and the destruction of all of that. the foreign military men who illict sexual favors but end up in the middle of the deserts, sleep 2 hours every day and still running around playing cricket on the roof. the bridge flooding and everyone dancing on it, the cameras, the explosions, the deaths and the births.