Friday, August 14, 2015

At Home

You know the feeling.

You're absent-mindedly scrolling through your feed, glancing at this and that, when suddenly a blast of familiarity hits you like the proverbial ton of bricks.

You've stumbled upon an image that resonates within you - a loved one's face, a beloved place - that instantly makes you feel at home, at ease, at peace.

Here's a photo that popped up in my feed yesterday, giving me that same powerful rush.

Here we have my friend, Aleesya, a young woman of many, many moods. I haven't seen her in over a year, but that sideways glance and determined posture takes me right back to the roller coaster ride of living within her emotional universe. I smile just to see her sweet and temporarily stormy face.

The pointing finger belongs to Aleesya's grandmother, who is just as determined and feisty as her granddaughter, and only marginally more reserved in her expression. Mak does not mess around and even though her face is far off-camera, I can easily imagine the angle of her eyebrows and the purse of her lips.

(Little Auni was just a baby when we last met, so this leggy toddler is a new person to my eyes.)

I know those pink walls. This is the family home, beautifully set in the countryside where the wild boar pass by each dawn and dusk. I've stood on this porch during a wild tropical thunderstorm and felt the hair on my arms stand up in the charged atmosphere, and smelled the sharp scent of ozone stirred up by the storm.

I've wandered in circles around the house, taking in the shapes and colors of the garden: mango and coconut trees, bougainvillea in pink and purple, lush green leaves in all variety and texture. I've felt the sun beat down on my back as I pinned clothes to the line in the side yard, and come back to find them dry in an hour's time.

I have lounged in the shade of the back porch, watching motorcycles be tuned and coconuts chopped open with machetes. I've helped the grannies clean tiny dried anchovies for the day's meals, and despite the language gap, worked and laughed together with them in great companionship.

To my delight, I've helped out in the kitchen too, stirring pots of mysterious sauces and tossing thinly sliced potatoes in great woks, always following the orders of Mak, our commander-in-chief. And once. I was given the honor of head chef when we prepared, under my direction, a double batch of lasagna, just the way I make it at home. 

And I have eaten many meals at the big table in the dining room. Curries and fish dishes, spicy breakfast feasts, endless bowls of nasi (rice) washed down with ice cold fresh coconut juice. I've met new friends around this table, and gotten to know my older friends on a whole new level. I've laughed there, feeling comfortable and safe; I've cried, feeling utterly alone. I have been completely and totally myself. 

* * * * *

If you haven't already guessed, this is a scene from the other side of the planet. Melaka, Malaysia, lies some 8055 miles away from my house, but the instant this photo meets my eyes, those miles disappear in a snap and I feel at home once again.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please comment...I'd love to hear from you!