All it took for us to leave India
Was three days of packing up our house
Four different applications for travel passes
And a day’s worth of rushed goodbyes.
We spent nine hours on that bus.
Then five hours sheltering in an airport hotel.
Another five hours standing in line at the airport.
Before finally leaving on our ten-hour flight to Paris.
Nine hours in the CdG ghost-town terminal on a layover.
And eight hours on the transatlantic flight to JFK.
Twenty minutes to get our bags
And three minutes on an empty train
To pick up a rental car
For the two hour drive, and,
Inexplicably, not a lick of rush hour traffic.
All along this rushed departure,
Which also took forever,
Was gripping fear that we’d be turned away at the
Karnataka border, or the anticipation of
humiliating stupidity that we’d
exposed ourselves unnecessarily.
In Seat 14G, I found Relief, followed by a heavy Fatigue.
Packed down deep was stammering sadness
Wrapped in unmet expectations
About how I wanted to graciously leave
the place where I came into the
Life I’d always wanted.
The long road to Bangalore from Chennai
passes through the
Relentlessness of India;
All that is great and distressing on display.
A strange farewell.
Fitting or not. Here it is.
And maybe always will be.
India’s familiar heat pushed up
On all the windows, reminding me
How lucky I am, for even in our uncertain departure
I don’t have to worry if my baby
Will make it through this heat.
As ever, there is a buffer for people like us.
This long bus ride gives plenty of space for
A mind to go to all that could go wrong.
When the distress fills me,
I peer underneath her covered car seat to
Glimpse her perfect sleeping face or
Toothless grin when her eyes catch mine.
I didn’t imagine when I arrived in this great place
Seven years ago
That the strangers along side me
Also spilling with curiosity
Would become my wife, my dear friends,
companions who would flee their homes together
Clutching each other for security.
It’s fitting that our beleaguered leaving happened with
Each other. The love that binds us
Grew amidst Incredible India.
Where everything is true.