So I am back in the land-far-and-away for a Viking funeral. Weird, I know. Weirder for me. I am jet-lagged, grieving, and not hungry at all. I haven't cried really. When everyone else is crying I can't cry. Maybe when I get back to Oman I'll cry. Sometimes it takes me years. For now it is like I am floating, doing what needs to be done. I am supposed to be back in Oman, but since my work screwed up my visa, and the ROP put a valid visa stamp into my passport but not into the system originally, that made me miss my first flight and I had to catch a one-way out here, I still don't kow if I am allowed to come back on my first return fare. Waiting on that. Another stress factor I don't need.
I am trying to help manage get the estate (Omani's say heritage?) ready, because others are griveing (or are too drunk since everyone wants to finish off that heritage Scotch and vodka to manage or do a good job sorting). I gotta say, I have the most awesome cousins and my sister is doing better than I ever thought she would. And it is really weird, but since it has been such a long time that I've been away, and since then, a lot of older relatives have begun losing their memory just a bit, I am being treated like a ten-year-old girl. Which is so weird because even when I lived here my own father had no rules about how late I could stay out, he knew I could take care of myself, so that is so strange, that I am feeling more confined that I ever do in Oman. My Omani husband doesn't freak out if I go out by accident without telling him if it is to buy milk or something so it's odd... Anyways...
...So taking a break from all that, I met up with some old and good friends and we had coffee. Funny how everyone has to apolgize at first, because the first thing everyone does in the land-far-and-away is ask you if you want to go out for a drink.
So we go out for coffee and discuss our lives in different countries and find it weird that despite all the years and all the distance so many things are the same. We all finally managed to get into healthy relationships, and find work that suited our natures, and are starting to live our dreams, like travel, or family, or talents like politics, art, music, and writing. And wow, does my city now ever have a lot of male Saudi students. They pass by and do a double-take when they see a Canadian Muslim woman behind the cafe's glass window. That in itself, will never fail to annoy me. After coffee, we walk to the harbour, and the sun is shining, and everyone Canadian is enjoying the warmth, and I'm wrapped in solid wool shivering, clutching the coffee cup for warmth, alas.
Discussing relationships, we'd all come to a point in our lives where we put our feet down and said, 'this is what I deserve and I'm not taking any less', and to other people, if they didn't like it, then they could go, we'd be fine. Also, we determined we didn't trust people anymore. Not easily. Not very many people. I mean, once you are my friend, I love you forever. I am loyal forever. But if you screw with me, I don't give more than three chances. I just don't trust you again. And these days, I am suspicious of people who want to be new friends. I have to see their character exhibited by an external situation, to swear my loyalty to them in the first place.
Looking now at life, it is really odd, the people that wound up sticking by one, and the ones who slipped away. My friends asked me if I wrote poetry still, and I had to admit, I'd just gotten back into it. Below is a poem that I wrote about how my relationships have evolved, and it could go just the same for men as well, since there are an awful lot of women in this world as well, who are users and fairweather friends:
MY LOVE WAS MADE OF LEATHER
My love was made of leather
But his was made of sands that blow,
The love that wants, but what, it does not know.
The rare ration of love contained within me,
I bid him drink of it as if I'd had my fill,
So he could cross the plain and take the burning hill.
Canteen that I was, I gave him my talents and strength:
I choked on dust and drank stones,
And shrank content into a tent of skin and bones.
I would go without if he could just make it,
To whatever dream that he had, if we got there together
Through the parching winds, and blinding weather.
But his love was made of sand.
And I poured myself into the oblivion of his thirst-
But cracked, and dried, that well-skin burst.
My dreams for myself, like footsteps in the sand
Then shifted. And in his hesitation I found
The answer I was looking for, and came unbound.
If it weren't such a waste of water,
For the wasted years I would have cried,
Instead I went on walking, for my well of caring dried.
They call me cruel, for I left him alone there,
Lost in a desert of his own making, to change or die.
And I did not stop, or turn even to bid him “bye”.
A love that is made of leather
Is supple, and useful, and it even gleams with care!
But with over-use and neglect, it will show its wear.
To vain men and stupid girls, if you make woman but a canteen
To drink from, or a faithful rope to use, soon enough you’ll rue
The loss of a good woman, generous, unflinching and true.
If you would use, or allow the use of, the good faith of a first love
To bind her to some coward fool, as naught but a tie or a tether,
Take heed: but once in a girl’s life is her love made of leather.