How are you?
By Virginia J. Pasalo
“HOW are you?” is a question I am rarely asked. Others normally would tell me about how they are, how many awards they have gotten, that they have finished Ph.D.s, that they have travelled here and there, that their careers are moving up, and they are pursuing this and that. They assume I am always okay, and there is no need to ask how I am. They want to share their happiness, in whatever and however it comes to them, and vicariously I would tell them, “I am happy for you!”
To some who asked how I was, I told them, “My heart is broken.” Half-believing, they would remark, “Oh, you will get over it, you have always gotten over anything.”
Immunity from hurt is associated with women who are perceived to be strong. But “strong” women are as vulnerable as anyone else to get hurt, with utmost gravity, especially if they are gifted with sensitivity and empathy.
Asked the same question by one of my closest friends, I offered a modified reply, “I’m okay.” He held my hands and looked at my eyes, and without hesitation, he declared, “No, you are not! Your heart is broken.”
And then he quickly adds, “You will survive. You will even survive without me. Now drink your saké.”
There are those who really mean it when they ask. These are friends who help in the healing, as they do not only provide comfort, but they listen, especially when you are not talking, and just drinking your sake.
it is your darkness that excites me
the darkness that unfolds mysteriously
at sunset, enfolding questions
in total darkness, pleating answers
with all the other darkness unfolding
and still waiting to unfold
a black backdrop
where, because of it
a thousand stars are made visible
to be stringed into beads of hope
and the creation of the impossible.