There is Despair Everywhere, Even in the Middle of Cities

On the bus, going through Ra’anana, I suddenly found myself unable to breathe. Had anything ever looked more unfamiliar and uninviting than those shopping mall signs that I could barely read, before we sped past? My chest tightened, and I felt the prickle of sweat crawling up my spine, and I remembered what Baba told me: breathe in for three, breathe out for three, breathe in

This had been back in Washington, where I was suffocated under the pine needles, the mud, the white supremacists, the dearth of employment outside of logging companies, the mediocre boyfriend, the bad food (I mean, awful), the rain and fog, and the general panic of lifelessness, of existence spiraling by outside my window. Baba said that everyone had anxiety, from Jerusalem to Jamaica, New York. Breathe in for three, breathe out for three. I hated to prove him right, but here I was.

Later, I sat on the bus as it drove through the same neighborhood that had been so hostile three hours earlier. The bus stopped to let two high school-aged girls off, and they swung into a used bookstore on the corner that had its doors and windows flung open, and was oozing a sort of warm, uncomplicated light over the sidewalk, and on the families walking by.

It was the first of November, I realized.

Twinkle lights wrapped through the trees. They were so friendly, and I began to remember again. My life could be here.

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