“What about the bathroom?” I asked the broker. The paint on the wall was chipped; the bathtub was half-filled with water. “No need to worry,” he assured us. “They are still working on it. It will be complete by the first week of June.”
The work in the bathroom never got completed. The memory of my first year in New York is tainted by the perpetually half-clogged bathtub. Aliza and I had to plan our showers; one waited for almost an hour for the tub to drain completely after the other one had used it. We made numerous phone calls to the management of the building, took turns waiting for the plumber to show up.
Anyone who leaves one’s homeland owes some kind of return. This is what I believe. I believe that circular is natural and linear is artificial. A back and forth process leads to growth and adventure while a one-way mindset can be limiting.
I keep thinking of that moment in New York when I decided to return. It was late afternoon in March, dusk was approaching fast. After wrapping up the day’s work, I called my lawyer to inquire about my green card. I remember the brusque tone of her voice – Had I not read the emails she had sent- and her message, “Sorry.”
At that moment, I remember, for the first time, a flicker of courage, a small guiding voice inside me. I sat down after clicking the phone shut. And I remember deciding. That moment, that room, on that day, I remember deciding that it was time to return.
There’s routine, there’s regularity, then there’s reporting. I try to capture raw emotions before they mature and mutate. Certain dialogues demand urgent documentation. Sometimes, I pay more attention to these tasks than refining aspects of my craft.
A modest readership emerges. That is another reason why I write. Because I remember how growing up gay in Kathmandu felt like. When I was younger, there were no stories about Nepali men who liked men. And we know how stories can inform and teach, can show us the way.