It feels like nine but it’s just past five. Winter is here, I felt it in the sharp tingling on my skin as I walked from the Metro station to my house, a thousand and five pins of ice smattering across my face. The windows are foggy and the heat is humming constantly, trying to churn up some life in the house. It seems empty, we need rugs and couches.
Ah, couches. I spent the most indulgent weekend and the couch at my brother’s was just amazing. I mean, I’ve always defended our free-Walmart futon but it is definitely not one of those castles of comfort in which you can sink and just remain static for hours – even though my roommate would beg to differ.
Goodbyes can be like thorns, stuck under your nails, constantly painful or like small holes within your chest, as if something is missing and the feeling of something amiss sits on your brow, balancing itself on your eyelashes, you feel it every time you blink, you’re not sure what it is, it’s like something dancing at the edge of your vision. You might look up and see it’s not there but as soon as you try and finish an assignment, it’s there again.
There’s a vague feeling of pain in my heart – I miss my mom, the baby, comfort of home, of being with people who make breakfast for you, pay for your faux leather boots, drive you where you want to go, wake you up for Fajr, cuddle and kiss, are tied to you with years, blood, DNA.
I guess I’ll get into the routine soon enough and I guess I should focus on the fact that I had an amazing weekend, interspersed with food, family, baby and lots of TV.
I mean, seriously, what can beat lying on a large, soft beige couch with a blanket over my knees and a cup of tea on a table within reach? I’ll tell you: lying on a large, soft beige couch with a blanket over my knees and a cup of tea on a table and a baby with blue eyes and soft cheeks lying on my chest, with his heart against mine.
Potato casserole, pumpkin pie, biryani, chicken roast, chai, rusk, and an endless litany of delicious food; baby Ryan’s cooing, obsession with fans, his tiny little hands and nose and blue eyes that stared at you and then back at his friend the ceiling fan, the noises he would make when gulping his bottle of milk, the furrowed brows of a tiny grump in a Thanksgiving outfit. Sigh. Not having to use my wallet the entire weekend, being fed and the one game of scrabble I won! Spending the evenings on the sofa, warm and cozy, marathons of F.R.I.E.N.D.S., Big Bang Theory, and other comforting, funny sitcoms.
Hartsville is a tiny town where everybody knows everybody else – except for their neighbor Dan, who moved from New York City to live in a three-bedroom house with a shed in the backyard. He walks around in a bathrobe, smoking a cigarette, watching the tendrils of smoke glow blue in the sunlight and his heart is lost. He carried the pieces of his broken heart in his chest for months but the shards kept cutting into his flesh and so he decided to just get rid of them. Now he listens to Avril Lavigne all day and works night shifts as a janitor in a hospital in the small town of Hartsville. He listens to music, smokes cigarettes and walks around in his bathrobe, rustling dead leaves under his feet, feeling the weight of the gun in his right hand.