Forgiveness is a Mandala

“Shh don’t cry,” Nani said as she wiped the tears away from my face. “Don’t get sad, if you go down that rabbit hole then you won’t stop crying.”

Kiara held on to her hand softly as she lay on the air mattress they had laid out in the middle of her empty living room. The effects of the psilocybin had already kicked in, and Kiara had moved on from laughing hysterically to feeling her heart open with love and forgiveness toward one of her dearest friends.

Nani had come to accompany her on this journey. She was probably the only friend Kiki would ever have trusted to do such a thing. They had never talked about it, but part of what made their bond so strong was the lack of judgement from each side. They were there for what the other needed, period.

This was the first time they had seen each other since confinement began. Touching another human being was a privilege, being close to one another, even the fact that we were alive while thousands perished every minute was enough to make the moment more transcending than it already was.

“I need to let it flow,” Kiki said as tears pooled in her eyes and fell like waterfalls down her cheeks. “I’ll be okay, trust me, I just need this to happen so I cry for all the times I’ve held it together before.”

They had made this a “self-care” day. Nani’s usual unruly curls were secured behind a hair cap where they were being deep conditioned by some expensive hair mask. Kiara was going on an inner journey to heal parts of her she had never dared to see. As she stared up at Nani’s covered head under the effects of the psychedelics, her friend seemed like a goddess taken straight out of a museum.

She was staring out at the forest that lay behind the porch window. Spring was in full bloom and the Cherry Blossoms adorned the empty streets. A year ago, there would have been people sunbathing on the sunny patches of the forrest. There would be dogs off-leash playing fetch. Girlfriends and co-workers would be meeting up for drinks. But Nani and Kiara wouldn’t be friends. They would still be mad at each other, they would be resentful, they would be distant. They would know of each other only through mutual friends, and even then, they’d wish each other well but wouldn’t want to hear it.

This year, with all it’s science-fiction bullshit had brought them together again. In January, they had seen each other at an event and without the need of lengthy apologies or soliloquies, they let the unspoken bond of sisterhood do its thing until the right words could come out.

“I’m glad you’re here,” Kiara said. “Thank you. Last year was hard.”

Surprised, yet gentle, Nani looked down, “I know, but we just weren’t the best thing for each other back then,” she said. “I was in a really dark place with no direction, and I couldn’t handle it.”

Tears began welling in her eyes as she caressed flyaway hairs from Kiara’s face.

“And in the time we were apart,” she gathered her words. “You grew. You prospered. Every time someone would come and tell me you had done this or that and you were insane, I’d always rest assured knowing deep down that you would be alright.”

Suddenly, as they mended the broken pieces of their friendship, a mandala began to emerge on the ceiling. While Nani spoke, Kiara saw how both of their energies weaved intricate patterns and shapes in soft blues, purples, and pinks.

“I know,” Kiara wept softly. “I know it seemed like it was easy, but it was really hard. I was so lonely. It was the hardest time of my life. I really missed you. I’m so glad you’re back.”

They embraced each other and the mandala wrapped their friendship with golden strokes, allowing forgiveness to carry them forward.

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