• Hafsa Jamel

Hummingbird Outside My Window

It’s 1 in the morning and I struggle to write this chapter. A script that has been playing in the back of my mind for a year, unsure of where its beginnings lie. The right timing gives way to the moment that brings the first few words onto paper. The love lost and the love that is shown, that somehow bring to life a story, defined by a second, a glimpse.

Some people find love scattered in the nooks of life, under the door mats and between cobblestones, as the vines grow wild and the old tree rests against the aging roof. Some lose love in the same places they grew their flowers and tended to their gardens. While some search forever, or at least in the forever they know, as they discover, for moments, a passing stranger to extend out an arm, or a glimpse between kindred that changes the winds of time.

It seems a story untold, to not write about you. For my beginnings were you. Like the hummingbirds outside my window, I have loved you briefly, and then from afar, and then, for the length of my time here in this world, I have come to know you as a passing shadow with its wisdom bestowed upon me. I’m holding onto memories tied together with laundry lines and sunlight reflecting off chandeliers as the birds make nests in them. Pesky, and yet a teachable moment from you to me, of life, and of the sweet song of living apart from our own.

There was once you and a version of me that needed hoisting onto a chair for breakfast at the table with the toast piled in the middle, warm enough to melt the butter into little golden puddles and the jam that wasn’t allowed to touch my food with the same knife that was used for the little yellow nectar. Butter, and you and me, and 4 slices of gobbled up bread that disappeared into a tiny human to your amusement.

In the middle of a field of brown grass as a group of boys practiced sports, you sat with me as I ran wild, tumbling with little legs, away from the idea that one day, all that will remain, is a faint picture of the once untold.

As the memories are laid to rest, we love each other from miles apart even as I remember the moments when I would throw fits to spend time with you, even as you were working days and nights, and I was your little human, and you crept in with new fish for the tank and for the new day and for our new smiles.

Writing this chapter I struggle to keep from crumbling, from pushing away from the parts that I do not want to memorialize, but as the hummingbirds come home, they also leave. For fleeting seconds they bless the morning dew, with fluttering wings and beaks to feed from the honeysuckles that bloom and grow brighter each year.

We now exist in happier times, and yet, how can I fathom a time happier when all we have is a call, once a week, and messages that convey nothing. Yet, I believe, the connection, that we share, is lasting in ways that are beyond painful, because in the moments when you know that I am hurting, I cannot tell you how much it breaks apart the girl, the child, the wild little wildflower you once knew, and I am not her anymore. I exist in her as fragments, and yet I do not want to let you down, for the proudest I have seen you is when you have been proud of the memories of me.

Maybe that is my cross to bear, to let go and to be. For none of us are the versions of ourselves we once were. I seek forgiveness from you for the misunderstandings, and the life that I am living that you may not have envisioned for me. I forgive you for the acts that you made for yourself, it was the right thing to do, for you. For me, as I grow, your happiness prevails above my adolescent anger that fades with each passing milestone, I hope we can start to call our own. I have existed for a mere portion of your life, for there was a time when the idea of me was not even a passing thought.