What’s missing?

21 Ramadan 1441

We are now in the final 10 days of Ramadan.

A few people have asked me what I envision the world might be like after one year. I’ve responded each time, I couldn’t really tell you what I envision for next week.

To be honest, both past and future feel so far away—I really couldn’t tell you what I envision beyond a day and somehow, 24 hours pass, and I find myself waking up to a new day.

In order for me to identify what’s missing—what I am missing from my past and what I want for my present and future—then I would need sustained focus.

Because much like my motivation today, my feelings of sadness are fleeting.    

And it’s very easy for my mind to focus on what is in front of me.

And what has manifested in front of me, over the course of 24 hours, are the following—

I met with three students via zoom to talk about their writing and the semester in general.

A very pregnant friend sent me a picture of a carrot that looks like, and I quote her, “a demure nudeist,” which made me laugh so hard it prompted my husband to walk from his desk to my desk to look at it.

I felt guilty about not completing the fourth round of edits to my journal article so I emailed the most updated version on my desktop. 

I called a deeply compassionate human who is new to Instagram and only follows celebrities and me, and we caught up about things and she assured me red lipstick is my PPE.

I attended a fake meeting hosted by another compassionate human who wanted to make her god-daughter’s pandemic fantasy of zoom bombing an adult work meeting come true. When she put out an open call for a few willing adults in her network to pretend to have a very serious meeting derailed by a young zoom bomber offering us a TikTok dance class, I asked myself—who am I to turn down an open call to heroic action?

I attended a script development meeting with artists to think through the structure and content of a play we have been working on for months and was able to utter coherent feedback while listening to everyone process their own ideas out loud and offer each other affirmation.

I received photos of myself with my family and loved ones via text message from one of the grooms of the 17 wedding-related events I attended at the end of December 2019 and beginning of January 2020. 

We ate a delicious iftar of satisfyingly sweet dates and cantaloupe, crispy piyaju, chicken coconut curry and noodles, and tea while watching How to Get Away with Murder, and we finally learned who Frank’s real parents are. 

I felt flushed with worry, embarrassment, disappointment after midnight because, for twenty minutes, the internet and all my devices decided they did not want to work, and I couldn’t sign in to Zoom to join a midnight Quran recitation. When I finally joined the meeting, everyone was still there waiting patiently, and we finished reading the 22nd juz together. 

If I allow myself to miss someone or something, then it’s often a combination of missing the spontaneity of going on a walk outside for hours on my own whenever the weather is particularly beautiful like it is today and the spontaneity of walking outside for hours with someone who also enjoys doing the same whenever the weather is particularly beautiful like it is today.

Or I miss sending a text or making a phone call without thinking very hard about it, like — hey I cooked dinner. Wanna come over?

Or hey, I’m going to Rasa. Wanna grab a bite together?

Or hey, I’m somewhere near Columbus Circle. Wanna go for a walk through the park? Or get some donuts? Or gelato? Or cake? Or all of the above?

Or hey, I have complimentary tickets to see this play. Want to join me?

Or hey, Khammi. Can I come over so you can feed me and I can shop at Stop and Shop—or is it Stop and Save? I can’t ever get it right even though it’s been ten years, but you know what I mean.  

Or hey, I dropped by Macy’s to pray in a dressing room and there’s this amazing sale on booties and I just bought a pair I’ve been eyeing for months that is now $24.

Or hey, I crossed the border so I could get a proper bowl of poutine. 

Or hey, I walked into an Amorino and one of the workers saw me drenched and offered me hot chocolate on the house either because he thought I was cute or because he thought I was homeless—or maybe both—but he didn’t offer hot chocolate to my husband or friends?

Or hey. I just hopped on a Megabus or train to go to DC, or Philly, or Boston to play and cry and rant about life with my sister and friends because text messages and phone calls just don’t cut it. 

Or hey. I am on a one-way flight to go far, far away and sit on an island.  

Or hey. I just purchased a round trip ticket to Fort Lauderdale to celebrate Eid with my family. 

But at this given moment, I don’t miss anything.


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