The Tibetan woman that lives downstairs is gorgeous. She’s one of those women that you don’t really notice at first, and then one day, you do. She is older than me, I think, somewhere around the age of thirty five. She wears printed skirts, and a woolen hoodie with long sleeves that hang down over her hands. She goes barefoot or wears thongs, and her springy black hair is usually tied back in a loose knot. Even under her modest clothing, you can see that she has a beautiful figure, not too plump, not too thin. She is rounded in all the right places.
I watch her knitting on the front steps, or laughing in the kitchen as the cooks make tea, soups, and salads. She seems very happy. It pleases me to imagine that she and the owner of the guesthouse, a wonderful man named Joy, are in love. I don’t know if they are- I have no idea. But they would be a perfect, heavenly couple.
Last night, as I walked down the stairs, she looked at me kindly and asked if I was feeling alright. I told her I’d had a fever, but was beginning to recover. She gestured for me to sit down beside her, so I did. In the next few minutes, we chatted a bit and got to know each other. Her English isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough to hold a conversation as long as there are plenty of hand gestures thrown in. She told me that though she is Tibetan, she has lived in India all her life. Her mother and her sister are here, too, but her father and brother remained in Tibet.
“I don’t see them for many, many years,” she said. She continued to emanate peace and happiness as she looked off in the distance. “No message has come in a long time. Maybe I never see them again.” She said this all quite simply, and then looked into my eyes. She seemed to be looking deep within me to see if I understood, but at the same time, her eyes were far away. I could see that her mind was in the hills of Tibet, searching for her father and brother. Then she smiled a soft smile, and cautioned me against drinking the milk. “It stay in hot sun sometimes for many hours and make tourist sick,” she said. I nodded, grateful for the advice, and though I didn’t say anything else, I was amazed at how graciously she accepted the loss of her father and brother. It was clear that she took it as part of life. When my friend came to meet me for lunch, and I began gathering my things, she looked up from her knitting and smiled again, that perfect, glowing smile that speaks of a peace deep within.