At eighteen minutes past two on a surprisingly warm winter night, I stand outside on the balcony, staring at the nebulous, almost invisible hills that I have looked at time and again for the past three and a half years.
I stand here wondering what makes a person, well, a person. And I do not have any conclusion, so I will not pretend to know the answer. But I know that there are some non-negotiables, parts of the whole, if you may, and I will try to write them down, and to do this, I will simply pose questions for I have exhausted all my wits to form an answer, and which is more, I have spent this last day questioning things.
What makes a person? Is it the clothes hung behind the door which is bare now? Is it the unread books that have bent the shelf under their weight? Is it all the frivolities someone might need in today’s world and a few things they would want when need is too poor a word to describe them? Is it the pictures, the paintings on the walls, which shall gather dust in the absence of anyone to wipe it off with the first sight of it? Is it the plants they take care of, that will inevitably die in the dearth of anyone who notices them wilting? Is it the near-empty refrigerator, buzzing for months on end, keeping three packs of juice and a box of milk safe and ready on the off chance? What is a person, if not where they live—what they call home? What is a person, if not their insistence on having a meal with the people they love on a Saturday morning, whether it rains or shines on the city they call their dearest, or their compulsion to walk to the nearby patio cafe to sit and think over a cup of coffee.
All I know is that everything will wait for me in its right place, and that is all I can think of as I get ready to turn this lamp off for the last time for some time. That this life I have built will wait as long as I can keep the rent flowing, the lights on. There is this haunting feeling of this apartment without me in it. What an absurd decision, in hindsight, to want to go away but keep a foot in the door. But I swear I could not move anything away from here, from where it found its place, and trust me, I tried. God, I tried.