The Girl Not From Here

7 Sep

Swanley station.

1 degree celcius, 1 a.m., and a solitary woman awaiting her cab.

Eynsford, she said, sliding in the back, grateful for the warmth and the driver’s turban.

You’re brave, he said, for a girl not from here to be out alone this late.

I’ve been alone to many places, she explained, and silently counted the destinations where she was the girl-not-from-here. Days in the city of her childhood when she was the outsider. Times in her home when she did not  belong. Months in arms she felt like a stranger. The everywhere girl, the nowhere girl. Only mirrors knew her and let her be. A rebel against conformists, non-believer to the benders, among them, but not of them.

Movement helped, she sleepily mused. If you didn’t stay long enough, they couldn’t expect you to fit in. And so the girl not from here took cabs. And trains and planes and boarding passes, stepping off belief into affirmation, through revolving doors, up metal-railinged stairs.

“Be safe,” he smiled, engine purring at her door. And a pang helped her realize that kindness from strangers is easier than the wall of contorted faces people are sometimes forced to call home.

19 Responses to “The Girl Not From Here”

  1. M... September 8, 2011 at 12:03 am #

    Oh! how lovely!
    I always have this conflict, do I want to be the girl from here or not. Every few years, the struggle resurfaces

  2. sukanyabora September 8, 2011 at 6:18 am #

    just lovely OJ…many of us will identify with the girl not from here.

  3. Roxana September 8, 2011 at 9:20 am #

    OJ, I love taking back lines from passages/ texts I read, that spoke to me. With what you write, I almost always end up taking back the entire post! You are a gifted writer – I hope you write a book someday. I will be the south Indian girl at the book launch, in the front row, minding my ‘hech’ s 🙂

  4. girlfriend-in--manhattan September 8, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

    i loved that- so beautiful, so true… back in your continent-talk soon? xoxox

  5. Banno September 8, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

    This was beautiful.

  6. Orange Jammies September 8, 2011 at 9:32 pm #

    M…: You, missy, need to come back. At least visit.

    sukanya: I’m glad! For some reason, I didn’t think many would.

    Roxana: You guys are too kind. I think I’ve asked you this elsewhere, but I’m asking again: just in case you happen to be Anglo Indian (and I’m only going by your name, I could be totally off), would you be willing to answer a few questions for me?

    girlfriend: You live here too! 😆 It’s not just my continent. Weekend catch-up?

    Banno: Thanks, Banno!

  7. Roxana September 8, 2011 at 11:31 pm #

    I am Tamil Christian, OJ, which is where I get the name from. Do I still qualify?

  8. dipali September 9, 2011 at 12:47 am #

    Wow and WOW.
    Most articulate, I know!

  9. DegeSMS September 10, 2011 at 2:02 am #

    it is very lovely post.

  10. Orange Jammies September 10, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

    Roxana: Not for what I’m interested in knowing. 😦

    dipali: Sentiment over articulation, I say.

    DegeSMS: Thanks!

  11. DewdropDream September 12, 2011 at 2:53 am #

    So very touching 🙂

  12. Orange Jammies September 14, 2011 at 9:26 pm #

    Dewdrop Dream: How have you been? 🙂

  13. rajni September 16, 2011 at 9:14 am #

    Like it!

  14. Anjali September 18, 2011 at 9:45 pm #

    “The everywhere girl, the nowhere girl”

    Awesome. How do you hit the nail every time??

    I am commenting after a long time, OJ. Had to comment today, because this post is me.

    And huge congratulations! I am so glad that the Boy and you are married now.

    Much warmth,

  15. CrazyDiamond September 20, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    hello. I’m back. It’s all so different in the OJ world (than when I’d last pit-stopped).
    that’s all

  16. Orange Jammies September 20, 2011 at 7:21 pm #

    rajni: Thanks, R!

    Anjali: Hey, thanks. 🙂 You’re my third-most frequent commenter, according to blog stats, don’t let that slide!

    CrazyDiamond: Is it really? 🙂 I have the same name, I’m still hanging out with the same chappie, working in the same field, writing exactly what I like, when I like… Glad to have you back. And you know what they say about the more things change.

  17. Mom Gone Mad September 28, 2011 at 5:03 am #

    *sigh* Writing my mind. As always.Lovely, OJ.

  18. Orange Jammies September 28, 2011 at 11:26 pm #

    Mom Gone Mad: Thanks, hon. I love seeing you write your mind better. Just saying. 🙂

  19. Aunty G. October 20, 2011 at 3:27 am #

    This girl swirled
    Around the world
    Wherever she went
    People’s lips she bent
    And hearts she happily birled!

Here's a bar of chocolate. Now talk to me. :)

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