She found a finger swimming in her split pea soup. It was fraternizing with the carrots and onions, acting as if it owned the crock it swam in. She insisted that the finger jump out immediately. When it refused, she bit it, only to realize that it was her own – it throbbed for a while.
She found a foot on a warm sandy beach in St. Thomas, so she invited it to join her in the tranquil sea but the foot wouldn’t move. She watched it from a distance still hoping to find a way to persuade it, but she couldn’t. Much to her dismay, the foot sank deeper and deeper into the sand until it was swallowed up – it didn’t leave any prints.
She found a golden nugget wedged in her tooth. She ordered it to sparkle and shed some light, but instead it dulled and fell to the floor. The nugget said that it would wait there for someone who might enhance its luster; someone brilliant and polished; someone who was worthy of its radiance. She stiffened in discomfort and spat out the tooth that the nugget had filled – the hollow tooth rolled into a curbside sewer.
She found a child’s mind at the bottom of her laundry basket. She stared at it for a very long time wondering who might have lost it. As if the child’s mind could read her thoughts, it pointed to her. The mind begged her to move on but she didn’t quite know how to interpret that. When she told it that she had already exhausted her journey, the mind didn’t cry, it didn’t even whimper; it just waited to be bleached, pressed and neatly folded in her drawer – she wrinkled it and hid it under her bed.
She found a soul dangling in her closet and wanted to know just how long it planned to hang around. The soul replied, “For all of eternity”. She considered that to be an unacceptable answer, as she needed more space for her new clothes. She urged it to vacate by telling the soul that it had no purpose; after all, she wouldn’t be caught dead wearing it. Insulted and saddened the soul flew off in a huff, leaving only its debris to be swept away and more than enough space in her closet – enough space to fill a God-gap.
She found a bleeding heart crushed under the Twin Towers. It was grieving and wailing, its pathetic panting prevented it from beating harder. Its arteries were still attached and stretched out like strong branches beneath a cloudy sky, the kind she could hang on or even embrace, if need be. She requested that the heart beat faster and stronger; the heart obeyed. Placing it inside her chest, she adopted it as her own; it didn’t pulse for very long – the tempo changed.
She found an old woman grunting and groaning. When she asked if she could help, the old woman said, “No”. She questioned the response but the woman didn’t answer. She looked deep into the woman’s eyes, which mirrored her own reflection and then she kicked her – knowing that the hurt would be her own.
She found a wedding ring at the bottom of her jewelry box and demanded the ring to slip over her swollen finger but it claimed to be afraid of the teeth marks. She spun the ring in circles until it was dizzy and disoriented; she spun it so fast that it pleaded for pity. Finally she put it on a golden chain and wore it as a necklace – it burned a hole in her skin.
She found her diary standing naked in the window of a bookshop; the pages were dog-eared and it was offered at half price. She went inside the shop and reached for the diary but it winced with pain as it shed its cover. The pages fell to the floor one after the other, unmasking their misgivings and mishaps. There was only one blank page, and it was left standing – she tore it to shreds.
She found her shadow sneaking out one night and followed it to the rooftop. Suddenly it lost its balance and fell; she snatched its hand to save it from a 20-story plunge. The shadow weighed too heavy for her frail hand so she lost her grip on its fingers and they slipped away one by one. Surprisingly, its bruised and bitten ring finger was the last to let go; she decided to detach it from the rest of the hand in order to keep it for memory’s sake. Whilst the shadow was still in decent, she summoned one final request – all she asked for – was another chance – she didn’t find it.
“What She Found” was written while I was battling with grief over the loss of my husband. It was meant to describe my attempt to redefine my identity and reemerge as a functional human being. It’s a collection of my innermost thoughts on grief and how I viewed mundane tasks while balancing the burden of hopelessness and despair. At some point I was overwhelmed with sorrow and looked for a way to detach myself from it – but I didn’t find it.