By Mary Jobaida
Whenever I am having a little time, whether waiting for a train or sitting on a bench in a park, I think of my journey. A girl from a village, rural village I grew up wild, walked miles to school bare footed often crossing mud puddles filled with creepy blood sucking leeches. In those days overcoming those mud puddles without having one leech stuck on my feet or ankles would be the most challenge one would pray to endure in whole life. Then the fear of often monsoon storms. Oh, those days. The more our parents would be worried the more our wild minds would wait to see something exciting, a chance to endure a hard fight against the nature. Then, the capital city, the city that blocked and squeezed my horizon drastically. The miles of greenery turned to some square feet grey chamber. The wooded path became concrete street. Then this city, the city of New York that trained me to adjust with this freedom, a freedom that I was waiting for since childhood. But at what expense? When I look back I see myself the same village girl, a young married woman struggling to carry the laundry to the laundromat while nine months pregnant, worrying if the most amazing professor would speak a couple of extra minutes for free to quince the thirst of the curious minds in the class jeopardizing her boarding on the upcoming train to pick up her child from the school bus; a woman who uses same shoes and jacket every where from the grocery to a wedding only because she doesn’t have time to make it to a store to try a new one. She keeps on ordering the same shoes and skirts from online since she knows those will fit her and save her from going to a store to change them. Yet, on a subway car after squeezing in she looks at all those standing inanimate faces, tries to feel the agitation the fellow commuters are going through. From the hurrying morning to the tired evening- the picture remains the same- only the faces change. She uses the opportunity to take some extra breaths from the open air oxygen or to glance at a wild born flower when she walks on the street. She falls for the smile of the elderly when she hands over food at the monthly pantry, or the purer form of gratitude of the couple just landed here without knowing the English they thought they mastered in the country would be this unintelligible here. Or the young people who benefit from her experience of lengthy wait to get in a college in this country. With her advise they can now dream to finish their college from ASAP program in three years the time that she spent merely on an admission decision. She feels all those hard days were not for no reason. They were meaningful. They are for a reason. In the alteration of hopes and hardships, there remains a beauty of life. Only a human mind has hard time processing.