After a long day marked by bouts of work, agonizing over my paper due for class and walking around the local Walmart I was on the couch listlessly browsing pretty late in the evening when the phone rang. Noticing the India number my heart skipped a beat. It was K.
Calling him back at the number he called from, I just got back to my couch grinning and cheeks flushed. Amma feeling dopey from her allergy medication was too sleepy to notice how chirpy I sounded. All it took was one phone call to make my day. When K began “Happy Valentine’s Day..” I was smiling at how far he has come. As we exchanged notes about the past three days, I realized our conversation was very practical and filled with details. The unspoken pauses and the lingering silences before we hung the phone up spoke a lot more than the actual words. I imagined him hunched in bed with his dad’s cellphone glued to the ear whispering so as not to wake the people around him. I sat hugging my knees on the living room couch shrouded in darkness, the warmth of his voice keeping me company.
This one month has surprised me in more ways than one. There is no intense feeling of separation. No special I-miss-you moments. Nothing different in the way my routine was other than the putting out the trash or going to the bank chores. Perhaps having my mom around made it easier to handle.
The moments that caught me were the intangibles. The sunrise casting an orange hue over the horizon. The flock of birds coming to nest on an empty tree. The consistency of sambar. The folding of the grocery bags. The pile of mail waiting to be sorted. The leaner pile of laundry. The absence of TV. The silence before I fall asleep. The auto pilot mode I am on. The occasional look at the calendar to see how many days till you are back. Realizing with a catch two Sundays from now you will be home.
Like a collection of favorite pictures, these moments arrange and rearrange themselves in my mind to form a beautiful collage. One I want to share with you. Moments like these make me realize how much I look forward to growing old with you.
I love you K. Happy Valentine’s Day!