Diana and The Shoulder Seat


Winslow, Arizona

I’m always wondering about the surrounding things, analyzing their structures and movements. It’s unusual that I sometimes do think about the high pace of our progress won’t end us in bombs or starvation. All these thoughts are always flowing until Diana interrupts me, being a single father isn’t just about being around your children but a responsibility of providing the love of mother as well as yours. Diana never knew there is someone called as mother in the term Parents, when one day she was asked by her classmate.

I lie to her by saying that momma’s gone on a vacation, and she’s gonna take a while coming back. 

Yes, I had to, not because I didn’t want her to know that she is dead but to keep a light burning within her till she is old enough to handle it.

One thing which Diana really is obsessed to is

The piano in our living room, and she takes pleasure in playing the same four chord progressions that I’ve taught her, even after which includes a broken C note and would sing along a song that I wrote along with my beautiful wife.

The song meant me a lot because it was like a bridge for me towards her aura. 

 I don’t have a nerve to forget the day she bid a non-intentional farewell, and still have a picture somewhere in my memory of her when I came back from the work that evening she was sitting at the dinner table, frequently pulling her hair behind the ears while correcting and completing the other half of the song. 

A day after we wrote the lyrics, Julia got a call and had to leave for a work meeting in South Dakota. With an entire week of no communication with her, a very shattering news trembled around that her plane got hijacked and crashed through the World Trade Center. I was broken, mostly into minute pieces. She made a promise to arrive soon as Diana was going to be 3 years old, and we both had in mind to gift the song by singing it together before her.

The song went like this:

Wonderful, O’ wonderful 

Shining pearl, O’ Beautiful

Sweep in sudden peace

Sailing through, O’ Graceful.

Lift higher to the oceans

Loose the pouring benediction

Wonderful, O’ Beautiful

Struck me down, O’ Powerful.

Sympathize my soul

When I fail control

Lend your hand, O’ Merciful

Bring me down, O’ Faithful.

Touch and feel the pain

The hearts will rearrange

Beatings never wait

But sound’s still the same.

Wishings never fail

The pleading will be the fame

Settle down, O’ Unnamed You

Make me just like you, O’ Cheerful.

Wonderful, O’ Beautiful

Sailing through the cape of good

Wonderful, O’ Graceful

Make me just as good as you.

Though Diana never learned to play the piano, but she loves to act like a professional while playing it and at that moment she perceives herself more than just a 10-year old kid.

At times in the evenings we wandered at the beach with the sand pleasing warm and an eye-relaxing sunset. She would at times open up her arms indicating that it’s time to pick her up, not in the arms but on my shoulders. 

Once diana asked me, “When will I grow up like you?”

“As your age grows older. What’s the hurry?” I asked.

“The world looks bigger and different from up here.” She replied.

Indeed the world looks different if you climb the Eiffel Tower or Mount Everest.

“IfIi climb over a building then I’d experience that too, baby.” I said.

“What do you call this feeling? Like, is there a word for it? “ She asked.

“I don’t know…neither ever gave a try.

What would you name it if you’re asked to? “ I asked.

She named it as “The Shoulder Seat”

Diana believed whatever that rise us up from the ground is a shoulder to that person. 

In words of Diana, the summers are divine and captivating with the numerous layers of colorful strokes scattered across the sky and winds like water to the deserted skin. Every year as the fall passes and another wave of summer arrives with a new year, holds a gift to her. Diana’s halt for her most beloved flowers is the wait that she can do for the entire lifetime, even if nature declares “No Summer”. A tree in our backyard blooms every summer and floods in with a bunch of fallen flowers, Diana has a belief that it blooms better if she gives a hug to it because the tree presumes her as its queen. Even I do believe that she is indeed, there is always someone living for us. 

She’d sometimes collect all of them from the backyard and store them in a shoe box sized container. 

One day I asked her, 

“What are you going to do with them? “

“I’m saving them before they get dried outside.”

“But storing them in a box won’t make any difference, Diana. “

“Why? They get dried lying outside, I don’t want them to dry. I want to keep them to myself.”

Surrounded by a warm layer of anxiety on my skin I was afraid to converse about the cycle of life with her. Seems easy, huh? But no. 

“Diana, nature is like our mother, you know that? “ 

“Yes, Mrs. Jefferson taught us about nature. “

“Good. Mother nature does everything she needs to do to keep her children happy. “

“But what about my flowers? It doesn’t make me happy to see them fly away, or get dry, or get crushed under somebody’s shoes. And why do they have to fall every summer? 

“Diana, that’s the rule of nature you’ve got to get used to it. The tree shed their flowers so that they can bloom new one’s. “

“New one’s? But why? I’m happy without the new one’s. “

“Diana, everything on this planet is following a procedure just like you and me. We’re too shedding our leaves every moment or another. “

“Is that supposed to be a metaphor? “ Diana asks. 

“Yes, and you’ll be able to understand that better when you’ll become an adult. “ 

Diana was a box filled with the questions to its top and she always had a curiosity of finding what, why and how everything happens at the present. Of course, Diana is an average child just like every other at her school too and not a child prodigy. Children’s keep on asking something or the other while there brains continuously think about hundreds of things before they could get the answer to their previous question. And that’s the beauty of mother nature. 

2001. I don’t know why but there is something that I’m feeling right now this year.

I might have hardly spent such a grateful time with anyone else than my daughter, kids are amazing but I fear that time would change everything as we go ahead.

Maybe when Diana gets older she wouldn’t be as interactive as she is now. 

The disadvantage of science has been gradually tightening its grip on us now, perhaps it will dissociate us sooner or later. Can’t stop wondering about how the world would be twenty years later, streets might get empty or else something terrible than the World Trade Center, I wish it was a nightmare and not the real incident. 

Sometimes Julia’s face appears when I sit on the porch with my eyes closed. I see her approaching the house but before she could reach, a big sheet of fog from nowhere suddenly covers her up and vanishes her into thin air, then I realize that I was hallucinating. 

All these thoughts are always flowing until Diana interrupts me, but I’ve got less time or not even that too, as I’m raising her alone so it’s better to keep her close or else the world is already evolving, can’t foretell the future.

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