Munira Hussein

Mine is a Non-linear Approach to Life

My mornings start with a desire to accomplish all that I need to do in the day. While a to-do list is supposed to tell the order in which to do those things, mine is just an indication of all that needs to be done and the fact that I am the one to do them.

I shuffle out of bed when I wake up. No alarm. Just an end to my nightmares or paralysis, grateful that it has come to an end.

The first order of business is to draw the curtains, but after drawing one, I think to myself, it’d be better to put on the water to heat (I take warm water in the morning) and all through the day but the morning one is important). So, I leave the curtains halfway drawn to put on water. I fill up the jug and somehow don’t get around to switching it on. The sink catches my eye and I think that it’d be good to empty it so that I’ll have a mug to use for my water and I start on the dishes. It’d be better to do the dishes with music playing, so I embark on a journey to seek the sounds.

My mind then thinks that maybe I should brush my teeth because I cannot drink the water before I have done that, so I turn on the heater and head to the bathroom. On the way, I remember the curtains are half drawn, so I decide to complete that task with a toothbrush in my mouth.

I start spreading the bed but I am uncomfortable with the toothbrush sticking out, I decide to leave the bed half-spread and finish with my oral hygiene. The water is ready now, and I pour it into my flask. The coffee takes time to brew, so maybe I should put it on now so that by the time I have taken water and given it some time, my coffee is ready. But the filter needs cleaning, so I get around to doing the dishes, water going cold in my flask.

The birds peck at the window and with the dishes still not all cleared, I put out rice and my plants catch my eye. They need to be watered.

I also have to take the fruits out of the fridge so they are ready when I am ready.

Somehow, nothing and everything gets done albeit in an unexpected order.

And my life, like my morning routines, is a backflip, starting with death and ending in rebirth. I start at the top of the mountain often and head back down to a valley of all things I failed to notice. In my grandmother’s dreams, I am a graduate with a husband, children, and a job, yet in my dreams, I am a sinner by day and a writer by night, and while I have started on all of those things (minus children), I haven’t completely accomplished any of those. My life is a wine-tasting party, an orchestra where nothing gets fully played, at least not there and then. It starts out as a violin concert and ends in drums exorcising demons who insist on dancing instead of leaving. It is a relay, where the baton is passed on to a person on a Ducati.

My mind mixes up the rules, takes religion into the bedroom, and literature into the mosque. It blends the past, the present, and the future, and nothing is anywhere in time, even the memory of my presence in my life has no concept of time. Did I talk to her yesterday? How long ago did I water the plants? When did I get them? Did I start, or is this the finish line? I strike a match to light the gas and it is my grandmother’s kitchen that catches fire. The water flowing out of my tap dries up my mother’s tank, and I apologize for being there.

Living with an insanity like this, moving the knight diagonally and the bishop in circles, sleeping at noon and working in the night, drinking on Mondays and getting lost in the embrace of productivity on a Saturday night, writing this with the desire to say something, spending all the words and still managing to not make sense.

I sit at my desk to create characters and like me, they are often absent even from their own lives, or they are not ready, or they just don’t want to be here right now, and I fear that I will let down everyone who believes in my ability to make things up, beautiful things. My mind retires early, says it’s got to be somewhere and I ask if I can come with, and it says I don’t have to if my feet hurt from following her around.

It is a long walk, the distance between me and where I meet myself in a whole, where we get things done, experience life, talk to people, return calls, it is a long walk, the distance between where we are and where we should be. And when I return, I have no recollection of where I have been, what I have done, like I have been everywhere, and nowhere in particular, and I say “here is coffee, you seem tired.”

4 Responses

  1. “It blends the past, the present, and the future, and nothing is anywhere in time, even the memory of my presence in my life has no concept of time.” – This part here reminds me of a passage (on time) in Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Witch of Portobello.’

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