In-Between Symphonies

This looks like it could be a scene from a really sad movie. One where the girl is sitting next to the window seat, staring. The viewer watches in shallow focus. Although she knows which stop she needs to get off at, her eyes tell a different story — partly dark brown and partly lost. The closer and closer she gets to where she needs to go, the more and more she loses herself.

Watching the outside through the glass, I realize I am seeing a younger version of myself in the third person. In blurry shades of the green overlay, memories of the other night involuntarily draw themselves in. My father's furrowed eyebrows resting above his squinty eyes. My mother’s crooked left lip that forms whenever she tries to stop herself from crying. Then there is me. A first-generation Hindu girl sitting in her bedroom and asking herself why she could never feel accepted.

The bus comes to a stop. A gust of cold autumn breeze colliding with my train of thought. My attention turns to the front. A blonde haired woman carrying a stroller enters. She makes her way to the area with reserved seats - directly across from my view. She lowers the hood of the stroller revealing the smallest looking bean inside. Harmonious is how I would describe the way the lady and the bean were holding pinkies. This little bean is not even aware of the fact he has someone that swears to love him unconditionally. Regardless of the sprout he becomes one day, he will always be rooted to her. Simply being accepted for all that you are is a feeling I may never know. Perhaps, I am too numb from listening to my mother’s voice echo “what will others say?”

The bus moves forward and my mind enters a trance once again. Beyond the glass, I see myself in the middle of an orchestration. Sitting unable to move, unable to speak and even unable to breathe — waiting patiently for the noise to start. Maybe I am more scared of silence than chaos. Maybe that makes me broken?

I am nineteen years old. Seeing myself now, and all I want is nothing more than to scream through the glass. I want to tell that small girl in the chair that I am sorry. Utterly and truly. I am sorry for the knots in her throat when all she wanted was to use her voice. She wanted the courage to tell her father she was sorry for growing up in a world so vastly foreign from his. She wanted to tell her mother that every decision regarding her education, career, future should be her own. She wanted to yell from deep within her lungs that she was perfectly capable of making her own choices whether they were right or wrong. Despite all the thoughts that entered her mind from her core, she never found the words to speak them. I think in a way she did not want to be the thread that caused her dysfunctional household to unravel. Maybe she was scared of seeing the disappointment in their eyes, or maybe she was more scared of seeing their ignorance if she told them how she felt.

Through the glass, I see a fragile little girl sitting in a squeaky old chair. The hairs that usually frame her face are stuck to the sides of her wet cheeks. She turns to a blank page in her sketchbook and holds a pencil between her trembling fingers. She begins to draw. Suddenly the noise in the living room becomes the loudest ensemble she has ever heard. Faucet running, books falling, her bones shaking. Every sound further amplified by a heavier stroke. A part of her wishes that she could drown out the sound and the other part of her wishes that she could drown in it. Regardless, she never does. And in her naive little head, she thinks that just maybe, if her parents saw her creation, what they inherently created by making her, then they would stop — even if it was for a second. In their dissonance of a place, they would realize that home was wherever she was. All she wants is to be enough. She will never be.

That night I felt as if my innocence became fragments. Despite however many light years it takes to travel to space, the stars and soil met the night my world fell apart. It took me nineteen years to come to the realization that my life is not a movie. There is not an easy ending. If my heart desires a happy one, I need to find the melody myself.

“Excuse me, ma’am. Excuse me!”


“We’ve arrived at the last stop.”

“Sorry, where am I?”

“Well, where are you trying to go?”