Permission to chocolates and other things our parents have taught us.

It’s Thursday night, and where I am people go back to their homes after work in elation of the week ending, of work and its frustration being left behind and I , come back home to an empty home, make a fresh pot of coffee and sit alone at the dining table. An evening light so precious stream in through the kitchen window and seeps in to the dining. I put on Aznevour and I think of a Hopper painting, I know exactly how this light would appear in his strokes. It’s become a ritual so intimate that if I wrote a memoir all my life-changing realisations would be set in these moments, ‘oh, I am deeply in love with him’ , ‘oh I have grown apart from the friends I grew up with’ , ‘oh my mother, she is lonely’, ‘and my father, I forgive him’. Later, I take myself to the supermarket. I walk in to feel a bit lost, I forget why I decided to come in the first place, it feels odd, I feel out of place. I suddenly remember my childhood, running across the aisles , standing between rows of candies larger than my five year old self and deciding this is heaven and never letting my parents leave the aisle. I remember warmly, at the counter my father would look at all the candies and chocolates I’d filled in the cart, at my fingers stained with colour of m&m’s I had even before we got to the counter and demand that I promise not to have too many at a time and I would prepare myself to cry but my mother would place her hand on his and that was it, they come through to the other end of the counter. I would dance and twirl to the car hanging on to my mother’s hand with one hand and another on the cart my father is pushing, dreaming of all the candies I would eat all night. Ofcourse I would get sick with my seventh one and abandon them under my bed which later my father would find. It’s a story I like to tell to when I explain my unquenchable sweet tooth to people. It’s a story I remember in the hard moments I miss my parents dearly. Today, I pass aisle after aisle aimlessly pushing my cart by myself. I turn an aisle to look for something but I can’t seem to remember what. I hope to see something I recognise , I hope to pass an aisle and find a familiar face, maybe my mother. And then I find myself between rows of gummy bears and chocolate bars again, but this time I feel a loneliness that you feel when you miss your womb , your family . The kind of loneliness where you feel the distance in your blood to your blood and that is enough for me to turn to the yellow packets of m&m’s , nauseatingly happy and cheery , and let a tear roll down, a soft sob. I hoped they would understand, recognise somehow , this little girl while they witness a private moment. 

I remember a time when I had envisioned myself doing this, doing my own groceries, doing the mundane job of taking care of yourself, being the woman I always imagined myself to be.  I had imagined myself content, happy , an independence of sort that I had dreamt of all my life. Why does it feel so crippling then, why didn’t I see this coming? I wonder if all my dreams realised would end in me turning on the dream to wipe a tear . If all my ambitions realised will be wounded and blurred with tears somehow. I fear if nothing would bring true happiness to me without the people I love the most to share it with. In a terror of realisation I call my mother and tell her I miss her and she tells me, “ Buy some chocolates that you love, nothing makes you happier” So I do just that. Being alone is something to be learned for women like me, somehow everything that you do feels terrifyingly wrong in the absence of authority. I imagined if she was here she would place her hand on mine on the counter, and that would be her way of saying ‘you’re allowed to be happy darling, with or without me.’ 

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