The Listener

By: Mehak K

It was my first day as a ‘listener’. On the speaking end was a sixty-three-year-old woman whose lover had abandoned her. Following her diagnosis of schizoid personality disorder and grief disorder in 1992, she had been to over twelve different psychotherapists. "I need someone to talk to."

This tear that has welled up, hearing the tales of a stranger. What is it?

Is it a witness of my wail, my camaraderie? Is it a proof of my heartiness, my flickering sensitivity? Is it saying that within me, resides a heart that refuses to repine, refuses to sit still?

How can it be? This tale, this tale I have heard only a few moments ago.

Was I to believe that the tear had only been there for a few moments?
Was I to believe it had been nowhere before?

I suspect it was somewhere. In the distance between my heart and my lash, where towns of thoughts dwell, where graveyards of dream reside, where in the orchards of love, stand the thorns of bitterness, from where begin the dense jungles of confusion.

Yeh shayad wahi chupa tha. (It was perhaps hidden there).

Those who birthed it, those miseries. They had been wiped out moons ago.
Destroyed at the hands of my own experience. Who could it have trusted, then? That it was a tear without a reason, without a justification. A poor tear. A helpless tear.
An orphaned tear.

Today, when the caravan of tales marched by, that orphan tear searched, searched with hungry eyes. A guardian was all it needed. It tightly clutched the finger of a story, and making me put a handkerchief to a stranger’s grief, settled on my lash.