“Half a Lotus” by Meg Tuite

Half a Lotus

 

This girl is a godless godhead. She lives in India and follows a trail that her words make. She spreads a gospel that no one understands, yet lingers over. If they disagree, she stretches the smirk of the all-knowing and continues preaching. Her language is old and reeks of the Bhagavad-Gita. She can quote an ancient legend that is untraceable. She wanders over a land that encompasses nothing of a past she embodies like a country.

She could steal 100 wallets and three leather jackets from a leather shop in less time than it took to sew up a loose button or say nine times “a stitch in time saves nine.” She used to cart off an espresso machine and a juicer from a kitchen shop faster than it took a shop owner to look right through her.

An Ayurvedic astrologer told her that she was a child of India. Is a girl born in Indiana a mistake of just two letters on a Scrabble board?

She did not own businesses that went bankrupt. She did save an old woman from the blackness of memory and loneliness. She did not take out loans from banks and shaft every partner she ever worked with. A lien may have been put on her property when she departed. That is the karma of those left behind. She moves forward and there is not a wisp of her when she looks back.

She can do half a lotus and cry for hours through a night that whispers of capitalism and exile. Her eyes are swollen and red. They speak of days, months of silent sobbing, but she tells the families she lives with that she has been up all night meditating. She can walk to the market and back without shoes.

She grew up playing football. She wore torn up sneakers and told people to “Fuck off.” She was born on land that corn was familiar with. She did every drug she could get her hands on. This was the godless godhead. A place where no bad thoughts troubled to grow. It was a voidless history of mushrooms, LSD and getting laid.

She gave up bad haircuts and sweatpants for saris. She steals a trinket now and again to keep in practice. She can hold someone’s attention for more than two hours before they start yawning. She is getting a visa to stay in India for years. It is a place where she is who she is. There are no expectations of a white face with blackened feet.

She used to hear the word “crazy” and laughed. The world of Prozac was mocking her? She detects far deeper voices rasping from the mouths of infants in India. She only has to listen to them calling to know which dirt she stands on.

For most of her life she was married to hatred. She had boils lanced off of her back. She smacked a man in the face more than once for saying something intolerable.  Now, she lets the boils come and go. When she fights with a family, she just moves on. This is a land of empty bowls and open doors.

People speak of family in India and ask her about her family. She tells them her mother died and she has a daughter. She held her mother’s dead body. She bathed her mother in tap water in Indiana and dressed her in lavender and chartreuse.

In India she walked around for a week covered in her mother’s ashes and then bathed in the Ganges like the holy ones.

Every night when she rocks and cries she sees her daughter in someone else’s arms and a land of opportunity that betrayed her. She is business savvy and spends hours each day with a storekeeper telling him how to bring in more money to his shop or café. She talks him into hiring her for only a meal or two each day. Her needs are few now. He believes he can’t live without her, until one day he discovers he can’t live with her.

She storms out of each town with dirty feet, a necklace or some silk fabric stuffed down the front of her sari and a mantra of peace and prosperity on her lips. There are other towns and other words to fill up those vast cavities of loss.

For more information and another example of Meg’s work please see: The Total Eclipse of a Life Too Toxic to Look Directly Into

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