When an estrangement in a family finally comes to an end, I’ve found the reunion takes place in stages. First, there’s that rush of intense feeling that floods your soul but must be kept tamped down, for fear of scaring off the very one you are so excited to see. Then, over time, you are able to share meaningful conversations, comparing notes on what went wrong and who said what and aren’t you glad it’s all over now? This is followed by a strange period of awkwardness. Suddenly it becomes gallingly apparent that your lives have not stopped since you last were in contact. Each person has grown, changed, developed into a different version of the one you once knew. There’s an acknowledgement that relationships will have to be rebuilt and mended over time, not instantly repaired no matter how much love is in the equation. But finally, at long last, there comes a time when you know the reunion is complete – when you’re sharing a simple moment of no consequence, your hands immersed in a sink full of soapy dishwater, your sister standing at your side with a tea towel ready to dry, sharing a task you’ve shared hundreds of times before, and the years roll back as if there never was a gap of 17years between this sink load of dishes and the last.
Painting by Iranian artist Iman Maleki.