Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Returning "home" to nobody

For the past two weeks I can't remember a single breakfast, lunch, dinner or even a cup of tea when I didn't have company. Always an aunt or a grandma, a couple of cousins or an uncle around. And always, but always, D. Always conversation, always a joke.

I have never seen a whirlwind, but I think it looks like the past couple of weeks. I don't even know what we did. The whole memory is a mess of color and conversation, laughter - and yes, a couple of tears and raised voices too. A bright warm shot of espresso in the middle of a cold, grey winter.

Late nights, early mornings. Spicy food and ginger tea. Hugs from a great-uncle, my grandma drawing her fingers through my hair as I rest my head on her lap. Adjusting my sari, holding my hands out for hours on end waiting for the henna to dry. Frantically looking for a blowdryer because you can't be in pictures looking like that! Curling up in a warm bed, tucking my toes under D's knees. Watching my mom run around like a hare. Sitting with my dad waiting for everyone to get ready. Greeting great-aunts I haven't seen in years. Admiring my little niece's hairpins and my nephew's shoes. Pulling a cousin close for a photo despite her efforts to get away. Holding back tears as I imagine my grandfather in the photograph. Clutching my baby nephew awkwardly as he wonders whether to scare me off with a wail or reward me with a dimpled smile. Trying to keep my eyes open for just one more minute. Living it, living it all.

Crouching awkwardly in my seat, trying to get comfortable. Filing a lost baggage claim. Pausing for a moment before I open the door. Entering. Nothing.

I couldn't bring myself to eat dinner last night. Isn't it scary how quickly you get used to not being alone and lonely? And worse...coming back to nobody.

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