Once upon a time, long ago, in a faraway land, we threw an awesome party in a beautiful garden lined with cherry trees, by a beautiful mountain river. We invited a whole bunch of family and friends and had amazing food. We had a big barbecue with a mound of different kinds of kebabs, and one of my co-workers who used to work in catering brought in an unbelievable assortment of side dishes, appetizers and salads. Everybody behaved civilly and decently, nobody talked about religion or politics, there was music, laughter, pina coladas, and tequila. The sun shone yet the weather was cool, the children played beautifully with no fighting, lovers kissed, and we took gorgeous photographs which made us look like movie stars.

Towards late afternoon one of the children- a distant cousin or something- fell on the bbq fire and burned half his face off.

As the guests screamed and scattered, the child’s uncle -another guest- muttered bitterly, “Joy does not become us”.

Very soon after that, the catering co-worker had a heart attack in car as he was driving home from the office and died lying on a city highway.

After that, I noticed that the uncle’s remark has somehow become the mantra of my life. I have fun, I get good news, I love my children and they love me, I have financial stability and a home of my own, I love the place I live and work, I have friends who adore me and colleagues who respect me. And yet every single one of these achievements has come with a price- not a direct price, but more like an omen, a warning.

Every time something nice seems to be happening to me or my family, something horrible and unrelated follows soon after, almost within a matter of days. Not awful, life-shattering horrible, but annoying-horrible, unpleasant-horrible, horrible enough to bother my soul and shatter our peace of mind. Just enough horrible that I can control it, not too horrible to make me run screaming mad through the streets.

I am so sick of it. I get it, universe. I am not invincible, never said or thought I was. I know life isn’t meant to be one big party in a garden full of cherry trees by a river. I get it. I won’t be sad and brow-beaten though- is that what I am supposed to be? My spirits fall, but then they rise again, as I think of all the worse things which could happen. That child has now healed with no scarring. I will be proud and joyful, I will treasure my moments of happiness. Don’t throw your worst at me though. I am on the edge as it is.


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