He sat on his working desk and looked outside the window. The sky outside the window was cloudy. It was about to rain, but the shimmer of the sun gleamed still, penetrating the shrouds of clouds. From the fourth floor he was on, he could see the busy street below. The busy world of humans felt to him like a vortex of a hurricane that easily sway those who stands too close to it. He tried to stand facing the hurricane. In his inner ear, he heard the roar of the hurricane coming closer. But he tried to keep his calm, though his hands shivered.
He used to be angry with that person. His anger fueled him throughout his teenage years. He hated him for everything he had. He thought of killing him in his sleep. Why could his mother love and keep that person in their house? This he could not understand until later when his anger extinguished. He only learned later on that there exists a type of love that is unconditional. It demands nothing. Only later on did he learn that forgiveness is liberating and that even though anger fueled him, it also burned him. He suffered burned scars that healed slowly.
The last time he saw that person, he felt pity. He chooses to forgive. He chose to sit with him and accepted him as he was: suffering and alone. That person suffers from an incurable illness. He tried to put his hatred aside and sat with that person, understanding that person's suffering. That last time he thought, “I can learn to let go of this anger and finally be free from it.” When he left that person in the town of his childhood, he was a changed person.
His mother called him in one morning. Unprepared, he knew that kind of a call meant only bad news. He was right: it was about a funeral. That person passed away. “How did he pass away?” he asked. “In sleep,” said his mother. The virus got to him. He passed away in his sleep, alone, in the house of his childhood. The doctor took a blood sample, and it was tested positive for the virus.
It was his second virtual funeral. He was so far away. Again, he became simply a passive observer looking into a screen while his cousin shot all the procession in detail. He looked out of the window. He had only bad memories of that person. Nevertheless, he was a family. And in that moment of realization, he allowed himself to cry while looking at the sky outside his window.
He remembers her. How come he would forget about her? She was taking care of him and his brother on many days wherein their parents were away due to their careers. He loves her, despite her stark discipline and eccentricity. She was more than just his mother's elder sister: she was his teacher and also his friend during nights when his parents were absent. She would take him to play card games or challenge him in a chess match. She would read him stories, took him to bed.
The crisis was not over. Nervously, he kept watching on his phone on new development about her as he worked that Saturday. She was tested positive and lay helpless in a long queue in the emergency room. No bed was available. The hospital could not take any more patients. People waited in taxis, cars, and floors of the hospitals. There were not enough beds, not enough doctors and nurses.
He kept waiting for his cousin's report. The clan made sure to use every connection they have to make it work: she should get a bed and hospital care. Thinking about this, he felt a strong poke in his heart. He wanted her to be taken in. But using such a method meant bypassing the hospital's standard of procedure, skipping, or might be overlooking others who arrived earlier than her. But... he wanted her to make it in. He felt strong guilt but also a selfish wish that the clan could somehow make it work. And they did.
She was taken in. No family was allowed to enter the hospital with her. His cousin became the contact person. He waits along with the whole clan, who are spread across the globe. He phoned his cousin. “I'm so far away,” he told her. His cousin answered, “And that makes you one of the strongest among us all. Do call me more often.” He promised her and ended the conversation. He looked at the sky and wonder why he tends to look at the sky. What was he looking for there?
He read from one of his books and decided to talk aloud for himself. So he selected such passages:
This is to be done by one skilled in aims
who wants to break through to the state of peace:
Be capable, upright, & straightforward,
easy to instruct, gentle, & not conceited,
content & easy to support,
with few duties, living lightly,
with peaceful faculties, masterful,
modest, & no greed for supporters.
Think: Happy, at rest,
may all beings be happy at heart.
Whatever beings there may be,
weak or strong, without exception,
seen & unseen,
near & far,
born & seeking birth:
May all beings be happy at heart.
He felt so tired. And as he looked outside the window, the sky released the rain unto the earth.