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Safiya made a fruit salad as a peace offering and rang Paloma’s doorbell. Paloma opened the door immediately and welcomed Safiya in.
“Thank you so much for this,” said Paloma taking the bowl of salad from Safiya’s hands. It seemed even the neighbor was longing for a truce.
They chatted for an hour and gossiped about the rest of the world. Safiya raised her feet on the couch, like she used to in earlier times, and Paloma served the salad in two smaller bowls.
“I am so bored nowadays. I just don’t know how to pass time,” said Paloma. “It’s so boring to watch TV. The sitcoms are so terrible.”
“I don’t have the time for TV,” replied Safiya eating some of her salad. “I go to meditation in the evening so that takes most of the time.”
“Oh yeah I’ve seen you go,” said Paloma.
Safiya’s eyebrows went high as she realized her neighbor spied on others. “Why don’t you come along?” she asked. “It’s very good for the mind.”
Paloma nodded. “I’ve been thinking about it.” She looked at the window, her index finger and thumb pressing her chin. “I think I will come. I really would like to come.”
“That’s great. See you tomorrow, then.”
“Sure.” Paloma walked Safiya to the door. “Do ring my bell before you go there. We’ll go together. We’ll be meditation friends from now on,” she laughed.
It is so easy to make peace, thought Safiya that night. She browsed through the quotes she had read earlier. Life was indeed too short to indulge in petty fights.
With a gentle smile Safiya rang Paloma’s doorbell next day. Paloma was ready, wearing a golden necklace and triangular earrings that reached practically to her elbow.
“Let’s go,” said Paloma.
“Aren’t you a bit over-dressed?” asked Safiya.
“Oh no, I’m fine,” said Paloma. She swung her purse over her shoulder. “Let’s go, neighbor.”
Paloma caught stares in the meditation class. She snorted while breathing and suggested replacing the piano music with a party song.
“We don’t allow that,” said the meditation teacher.
“But you should try it,” replied Paloma and played a song in her mobile. “We should have a party where we could bring snacks and just have a blast.”
The teacher told Paloma to leave the class immediately. Safiya rubbed her eyes to avoid looking at Paloma till the latter left the room.
After that Safiya apologized to the teacher. “It won’t be repeated.”
“Thank you. Let’s not waste more time. Let's start our meditation.”
Safiya’s breathing was quicker than on other days. She pressed her palms to her knees to keep her rage grounded. It didn’t work. She was exploding with embarrassment. After the session she hurriedly got up to leave but the teacher asked her to stay back.
“I’m sorry,” said Safiya. “I didn’t know she’d create such a scene.”
“It’s okay,” replied the teacher. “But I see anger within you. It really is okay. She didn’t kill anyone or cause any permanent damage. Let it go.”
Safiya put her hands on her hips. “I’m just so embarrassed.”
“Let it go. Don’t let the negative thoughts linger on. You didn’t know this would happen. Don’t let anger spoil the rest of your days.”
Safiya sighed. “Thanks. See you tomorrow.”
“Sleep well,” said the teacher.
Safiya took slow steps to home as she emptied irritation from her mind. When she reached near her house, loud music flooded her ears. It was coming from Paloma’s house. The door was open.
“Hey Safiya,” said Paloma. “Come in. We’re having a party.”