“Are you happy?” I asked my mother, sipping the tea as I did so.
It's late night. Or perhaps early morning, depending on which side of insomnia you fall into. At this rate, however, it is late at night, for my body ached with yawning tiredness. And yet, there's something that keeps me awake still.
“Yes, of course I am,” she replied. It had been the only time of the day when we were able to sit down and have our little chat. It has been a long time since I did so, and the path to this day had been littered with little arguments, heated debates, drawn out misunderstandings.
Thus, given the minefield that we both had negotiated to get here, I sense a little in reserve on her part. And more than a little on mine, too: it's too late (or early?) in the day to get into more arguments.
“I have a beautiful house,” she continued, “and I'm finally settling a lot of things properly.”
“Things could be better, of course.” She had paused, and yet that sentence come on like a train that never stopped. Never lost its momentum. “There's the thing with grandma. And your brother was admitted into hospital recently.”
A small chill went down my back. Cliched as it sounds, that's what it is regardless. “Why?” I asked, erecting another layer of defence to filter the concern. I think I succeeded, though a part of me wondered what has become of the world when a man filters his concern for his own brother.
Perhaps its just the man in the middle himself, rather than the world around.
“He had a series of rather serious fits,” she continued after a matter, having sipped her tea. “I was around at the time, fortunately, and called for an ambulance. Thankfully, it worked out OK, though he spent three days in the hospital. Didn't think he enjoyed it very much.”
The conversation continued in this pattern, a conversation that deepens the sinking feeling in my stomach. It is a feeling that is alien, for it has been away for a while, but at the same time, there is enough elements that are familiar to root it into one category that I have visited time and again. Into a void of seeming unending darkness.
That of irrelevance.
Sitting there, at the table, I felt somewhat irrelevant as details of that particular episode unfolded in good time. A crazy, and somewhat inexplainable feeling. But it is what it is. A sense of disconnection with what was a part of my everyday life.
Now that I am no longer living with my family, it is easy to wrap myself in this cocoon of mine. I know not of my brother's (further) ailments, my sister's achievements, my grandmas' antics, my mother's trials, and even more of the tribulations where that came from. But at the same time, there is a sense that what I've been going through these past few weeks, that of (re)constructing a life of my own is what is necessary.
But it doesn't mean that I like it.
And thus, that void of disconnection, that feeling of irrelevance, calls out to me once more.