We had our theories about what happens after we take the final dirt nap, but we would come to the same conclusion.
We don’t know.
The one thing she had, that I didn’t at the time, is hope.
Hope that there is something after, and perhaps the kindred spirits that we meet in this lifetime we’ll meet again. She wanted to be with her parents.
I can picture her as a little girl, walking through an open green field with hillsides sprawling with wildflowers in every direction. My grandparents are both holding each of her hands. They walk in the direction of a beautiful sunset to some uncharted path.
Before leaving, I told her again to park away from the front of the school.
“Mom, please park away. I don’t want people to see it again,” I said with stern sincerity.
With a smile, “Okay, Beta (term of endearment in Hindi), don’t worry, I’ll remember.”
We had an old beat-up Nissan Sentra that my parents had purchased before I was born. The four-banger, manual transmission, was pushing a buck fifty and wouldn’t relent. From the outside, the car looked like it had its days numbered, but the Japanese are known for building bulletproof engines, and this one was no exception.
It had stains galore, ripped seats, and a smell of Nescafé and burnt toast that seeped its way into every fiber of the cloth upholstery. What was once a radiant red car, now had an off-color pinkish burgundy hue.