Thursday, January 13, 2011

Opening the Second Act

Wintry walk with a friend.
The second-hand store; calm before the storm.
A light sheen of snow's first visit to my neighborhood.
A friend's son anxiously stares out the window as the snow falls.

It blew in swiftly and playfully. Tiny flecks dotted the morning sky and then disappeared like shooting starts fleetingly lighting the night. Burqas billowed in the wind and then relaxed on women's frames; droopy curtains covering aching hearts. Dog's howling ceased; silence dominated as the storm gathered its strength. Then, all at once, the snow poured from the sky. I pressed my face to the window, along with the children in the room, and excitedly shouted, "It's barfing!" Winter has finally found Kabul.

If my time here were an opera, this would be the opening to the second act. The close to the first act would be my return from the land of holiness and intoxicating Middle Eastern love swiftly followed by the echoing blasts of IEDs haunting a temporary oasis in war. The name of the opera would be Tangled Contradictions because the tumult here has never been strong enough to enshrine the grace of this place.

As the snow of the second act begins to fall, lovely ladies would be dancing around the stage flinging their chadars in the air, singing of the winter fluff blanketing mountain's craggy slopes. The aria would sound like my own breath filling a basement gym, weights clanking on the floor, a melodic, yet intrusive mullah blasting through loud speakers, beckoning the people to come and pray, oil popping in a too-hot pan ready to fry the next couple of eggs, horns honking rhythmically, students sweetly calling, "teacher, teacher," a Chopin piano solo bursting out of a phone, Farhad Dariya accompanying me through the congested streets, a nervous heartbeat filling my chest as I choose my next Dari words, cold seeping into my bones slyly yet gradually.

Ever so suddenly, snow has fluttered in to Kabul; the second act has begun.



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