I remember looking at the brown and mustard kitchen tiles on that last morning. I thought, Finally! I won’t have to ever wake up and drink my cup of coffee while staring at these hideous tiles with their green fading flowers again! The sight of it has taken my appetite away many times! Finally I’ll get to have breakfast in my trendy new kitchen with marble tops and porcelain tiles…
I grew up on these tiles you know. I took some of my first steps on them. I’ve cut my knee and bled on them. I’ve cried on them. I’ve thrown tantrums as a child on them. I’ve spilled cereal and parts of my life on them. They’ve felt my footsteps from little pitter patters to high heels with their ‘cluck-cluck’ sound. When I recount all the memories that these tiles have seen, a dull ache sets in. It catches me unaware and I become somewhat bereft for just a split moment thinking that I’ll bid this life and these memories farewell today. But then excitement churns away within my belly as I remind myself that after today, I’ll be living a life that most could only dream of….
Tonight I’ll leave my home, I’ll leave my mustard brown with tinges of green kitchen tiles. I’ll leave my name too. I will become someone brand new. I will become a married woman and I’ll enter a new and better world. I cannot wait!!!
6 months later.
If only I knew then what I know now, that the color and pattern of tiles don’t determine your level of happiness, that things matter the least and that feelings matter the most, I would have lingered a little longer on those mustard, brown and green old fashioned tiles. I thought that I couldn’t wait to be free from those shackles that inhibited me, the shackles of my life of poverty! I thought that marrying rich would define me and set me as free as a beautiful butterfly, but I see now that I was wrong! I sit with a bitter cup of coffee every morning, alone, as I stare at my sparkling white tiles. They bring me no happiness though, I thought that they would. They never stain. They never soak up any spills. They just stare at me with a blank, cold stare like I’m a stranger or an alien stepping over them. I sit and eat a lonely dinner at the marble kitchen counter with my expensive cutlery, but it doesn’t fill the void in me like I thought that it would. I find that at those moments my mind drifts back to that old fashioned kitchen with its ugly brown units and awful tiles. I can almost smell the aroma of onions,tomatoes and indian spices simmering in a delicious pot of lamb curry. I can almost hear the noise, the sound of love that surrounds the walls of that less than modest home. I can almost see my mum rolling roti’s in her orange gown asking me if I want to eat a fresh roti with butter and sugar. My taste-buds salivate at the thought and my heart drops at the memories.
It turns out that I had everything that I needed to be happy but somehow, I felt that I needed something else. Somehow I felt like kitchen tiles,branded clothes, a Mercedes Benz and a walk in closet to die for would mean more to me than a simple roti made with love or the sound of my mothers voice as she says ” beti, are you home?”.
I wait up for my new husband so that we can eat dinner together but he never makes it to bed before 12 am. Is this what marriage is all about? Is it this way for everyone? Is everyone just lying when I see facebook and instagram updates of their perfect lives? I know that I am (lying) but I can’t help myself. I post details of the life that I wish I had, not the life that I am truly living, not the lonely existence that I’ve come to know as life.
I guess I had to learn the hard way that kitchen tiles don’t really matter. That money matters even less. That a walk in closet and a Mercedes Benz are sometimes unfriendly companions that don’t speak much. That people cannot bring you happiness and that the life you wish for doesn’t always turn out to be the way that you envisioned it would be.
Tomorrow I think that I’ll pay a visit to those old grimy kitchen tiles as I sit at the wooden kitchen counter drinking tea and eating a fresh roti from my mothers 1979 vintage collection of plates and cutlery. I’ll smile when she asks if I’m ok. I’ll pretend that I am and that I don’t miss home. I’ll gaze for a while at those beautifully hideous tiles and then I’ll hug her for a minute longer than I normally would as I greet her and tell her that my husband is waiting for me. I’ll be lying I know, but she won’t know. Then I’ll leave, I’ll wave goodbye as I drive away in my Mercedes and make my way to my penthouse apartment high up the city building. I’ll cry a little as the elevator doors close and it moves up but its ok as no one will see. I’ll be hidden from the world, hidden from the past, hidden from the truth that I’m really living…..
Be careful what you wish for….
It isn’t always as you imagined it would be…🍃