Tuesday, February 13
She squinted in the sudden, dazzling sunshine. She had forgotten how bright her country was, how every sense seemed to go into overdrive as soon as she crossed the border. Recognition and then, an irrepressible smile. She stepped into the familiar embrace, the inimitable fragrance she had grown up with, a combination of something floral, sandalwood and talcum, enveloped her. She was welcome. For an instant she stayed in the circle of reassurance, felt all her hard won independence and strength seeping out of her. The one place she didn't feel like she had to communicate, that she had to work to be understood and to understand, that she was in a parallel universe, on one bank of a raging river shouting over the wind to the other side, trying to be heard. She sighed, her second skin shed. She belonged. Her mother stepped back from the embrace. "You have become a skeleton, papa. Skin and bones! At least I can fatten you up now that you're back". She laced her arm through her mother's as they started walking towards the car, "Amma, what are you saying? I'm fattttt!!!!!!!!" she exclaimed, thinking, for an instant, of all those mornings in the gym and all the calorie-watching that never seemed to be enough. She looked at her dangerously thin daughter. Sometimes she didn't even know who this human being was; where had the child who couldn't get enough of her cooking gone. She felt like she had to communicate, that she had to work to be understood and to understand, that she was in a parallel universe, on one bank of a raging river shouting over the wind to the other side, trying to be heard. She sighed. Her daughter had grown up. She'd have to learn to adjust, to accept her changes.