Total Solar Eclipse


There are so many infinite reasons I love Montreal, the total solar eclipse being one of them. Collective awe being another, and the waft of smoke from sausages grilling in Jeanne-Mance, on a perfect spring summer day, wedged between new friends and old friends. I love the walking, the students in throngs, lopsided houses, big lazy bulldogs, The Word’s irreplaceable book displays. The spring here is dirty and dusty, but even still, I love it to death, especially now. I love the sky above Montreal, I love the ground holding it still and pushing it towards history. I love this city, the unexpected shapes it makes, all these languages chirping, offering me a new day.

Will It Ever Be Easier, and Easy?


It is not like I ever stopped trying. But how is it possible to ignore the small flashes that are the thuds of my heart? The momentary realizations that I might be alone again, and possibly forever? And yet, so relieving would this freedom feel, so familiarly good. I want to stop trying.

I want something, and somebody profound. Profoundly. Yes, the every day moments, but transfigured, transformed. To what extent can we accept our limitations? And even when they are destructive? Why can I not love the way my lover loves? Why does sadness clench my stomach?

If I could, I wish I could know why the people I knew took away their own lives. What was their inner pain, their most inward suffering? I think of them all the time.

I am no longer enveloped by the total darkness of the past, but I sometimes imagine myself falling down the balcony. Driving sharpness into my heart. It is so ugly I can only write it here, hoping somebody will read it, wishing everyone could hug me. At least I know now there is always beauty in this life, and I almost know now there is always goodness in me.

Yet, Godless still, I am left with sleep, and dreams, and fantasies…

“The way I must enter / leads through darkness to darkness” (Izumi Shikibu)


Is it this strange weather? The knowing of an end? The tragedy that befalls the underserving, so horrible that it is infinite? For days pressure builds behind my eyes, and the skin around my eyebrows flake and disintegrate. Windows of my home rattle, the temperature drops by thirty degrees. On my way to the airport, in the dim-lighted metro, a violinist and accordionist play “Dark Eyes” and an old man walking past me croons the lyrics back (Очи чёрные…очи страстные…). I was startled, but I am reluctant to say why—reticent about the truth, fearing it cannot be understood, but worst of all… fearing that it can.

Even if only in hindsight, the miracle of blessedness


Around two weeks ago I had a very special weekend, brimming and bursting with friendship and places to go. Friday night I hastily cleaned my home and welcomed, ten, twenty, thirty(!) people friends into my apartment for a musical devotional. People came in late, left early, and at around 9 I went to open the door to Jacob, who was famished and as soft as ever. Guitars, piano, violin, clarinet, drums, voices upon voices. Later Jacob and I lay in exhaustion, together, sinking to sleep in bed. Saturday brought a visit to Le Central and a hike up up the mountain with Sana, Anvesh and Aniket (Atsushi left after dosas…) where Kimia joined us at the top, between coffee, hot chocolate and chins bundled in scarves. I said goodbye to Anvesh, who was saying goodbye to Montreal, and Jacob left me at home as I hunched over my homework for a couple hours. After a couple of hours, I left home too, towards Emma’s Asa’s and Caroline’s to catch the second season of Fleabag. Jacob and I and “Gnomy” got comfortable on a couch near the door with herbal berry tea steaming in mugs between our feet. Sunday came, and early evening (in the deep dark) we walked along St-Denis to arrive to Somaya’s AirBNB on Mont-Royal and enjoyed bites of sushi with Amanda, Tyler, Larissa, and of course, dear Somaya. It was a short catch-up and soon I was bundled back in my new wool pale blue coat, red wool scarf, red beret, red gloves hand in hand with Jacob, dreaming down St-Denis. Monday was sushi again, a small MM reunion in the lounge, at noon, cutting the early winter wind. It was lovely, it was at times awkward (AJ ignoring me…) and it was a breath I hadn’t inhaled in a long time. After small candid conversations with Fatima and Zeytouna, I went home and cooked napa cabbage and shitake mushrooms and carrots, baked zuchinni and sweet potato, and pan fried tofu and shrimp for Emma, Caroline and Asa. Jacob made an Israeli salad which went perfectly with the appetizer of bread and butter. Finally, we donned our coats and went to Cinema du Parc to watch “Anatomy of a Fall.” It was engrossing and brilliant. I couldn’t believe my luck, all my luck.

New York, New York, February, 2023


When I was coming back from the tip of Manhattan, balancing myself in the train, an older woman nudged me through my coat and gestured at the open seat next to her. I smiled into her eyes and sat next to her silently, briefly, likely for the last time.

I was going home to you, an utterance only months old, up near the East Village. Those brown bricked towers, your window-less living room, the bedroom we bared ourselves in. I could not believe in anything fully, but I saw that you could.

I wasn’t thinking this then, but I am thinking this now again, which is, how do I make myself stop wanting to end my life, symbolically, seriously? How do I become brave enough, true enough, faithful enough, to face adversity as a means to live and not as a means to dissipate the desire to disappear? Or better, how do I accept my weaknesses and live imperfectly and with goodness?

I spilled coffee on your carpet and chicken soup on the floor and somehow you did not say anything incriminating. At times I feel guilty that we have found each other, at times I want to do things that I know would you hurt you terribly, and myself too. What is it that I even want to say, apart from the fact that I love you, I love our world, and that I love myself with more reservations that I dare name?

January Observations


The worst thing is, love is not enough.

But that’s an awful way to start a story, the story I’ve been wanting to write. It is about a law school seminar, unknown weather, a student (girl) who wants to have sex with another student (guy), and his pet. For almost a year now this tale has weaved in and out of my mind like a soft needle over a long piece of fabric, never to be folded.

In classes this month, people have been sick. With some people, you can tell immediately—they are red in the nose, ghostly and slouched. With others, they first appear innocuous, but then they start sniffling, sneezing, and clearing their noses unsuccessfully into a broken piece of napkin. I look into each of them, twisting my neck here and there, becoming angry at their maskless faces.

Last night I went to an event on the rise of ESG in international arbitration whilst a snowstorm brewed outside. Sitting on perfectly aligned, giant ergonomic office chairs, we listened to one professor complain about the lack of access to justice for a German banana plantation owner after the plantation was taken over by its revolting Costa Rican workers. He explained: international arbitration systems do not care about companies worth tens of millions; only those of hundred millions or more. My friend and I turned our glances towards each other, quietly and incredulously. How his complaint had to do with ESG, or access to justice, we had to understand perversely.

Snow blew into my scarf touching my neck, snow painted a stranger’s eyelashes into the colour of mourning. My favourite park stood monumentally in the stroke of what is perfect and darkened. Here are the benches we used to sit on, covered completely soft.

One friend busing back to Ottawa, another friend connecting in Atlanta to fly to Kansas. My ex losing his job in Copenhagen and looking for a new one. Let me tell you something from the past: in Toronto in my depression (or whatever appropriate term for all that I was feeling for too long of a time) I would bike to the harbour front at night and it would give me, if not happiness, then a gratification that soothed me from the misunderstanding of others.

Tonight my stomach hurts waiting for my boyfriend to come home to listen to my frustration towards him. I haven’t been able to shake my shame away, and I am afraid I will be shackled by this thing which is so heavy, so real, so deplorable, so insignificant. I am afraid I will ruin my life by ruining my life. I am afraid I will always speak too early and act too late.

Time of the Year, Again


A day like today, a night in the day, my heart turns into itself to observe something harder.

Here I am, missing my love, missing my parents, missing what I am missing out on, missing that brighter word.

Across the weeks do I still remember, our arms interlocking and that sweet smile the older woman gifted us, when you sang to me along the October pavement.

I am learning—finally, only just—that my mind is not always a complicated creature, that it needs just what it needs: rest, silence, nourishment.

I know that I know that I write because I must.

Each passing day: a gift, a truth, a pain… a tear flowering the face.

Thank you, Z


“You’re so close to finding love, you’re the literal embodiment of love for so many around you and I feel like it’s so close for you now. / Your perseverance through every small and big heartbreak is honestly everything.”

Summer! Summer! Summer!


How will I remember, this summer where life death knocked at our doors and flower bushes were plenty colourful and friends would pass me by on the street like familiar ghost souls?

How will I remember, this evening where I sat in an empty theatre listening to Elvis crooning loneliness and hugged myself to fear and cried at the weight confusion of family journeys under the wind gray moon?

How will I remember, this dreaming of a boy gone to his own ocean away dream, dreaming so hard the time passing becomes a guilty relief and fear, dreaming so true I forget his unknown-ness to me?

How will I remember to remember, those easy joys that did not need words to save them or supplant them, that spark in my eye, perennial youth, perennial belief?

Summer! Summer! Summer! Your mystery is my memory.

Things I have learned, perceived and/or felt in the past 2 years


To practice seeing and believing in myself in a loving light is pivotal, and ultimately enjoyable.

Just because I (we) ethically refuse certain versions of the future does not mean others will materially pursue it less.

A break-up feels unique when it is fresh, and more universal in hindsight.

My mother does not have to be my role model; disagreeing with her not mean denying her.

Singleness is no tragedy or drama, but seems difficult to reason as something more desirable than a good relationship.

The sun and fresh air and moving my body can do wonders!

Be patient with interpersonal depth.

Persistent cynicism — even as an act to assert moral goodness — tarnishes the soul.

No feeling is permanent.

Romance feels tortuous, unequal, and perfect when imagined in the abstract.

As one human, I can only walk in one direction at one time.