I sit with my back to the slender pedestal fan savoring the brief respite from the heat and stickiness. My eyes are on the ground, my thoughts far away. I feel a tiny hand caress my head and tiny lips plant a kiss on my forehead followed by “Are you OK amma?”.
I stand by the kitchen island lost in the digital alleyways of my new iPad when giggles interrupt my seclusion. Lifting my head, I see Cee sitting on the floor cross-legged, Kay on her lap. Cee’s arms encircle her sister and hold a book. Her voice modulates up and down like I do when I read a book to her. I stand still capturing the moment with my eyes.
I hold a box of raisins in my hand feeding Kay one raisin at a time. The box is empty and I hold it out to her thinking she will play with it. I watch her take it from me and walk purposefully towards the kitchen. Curious, I follow her. She opens the trash can peers thoughtfully for a few seconds and drops the box in the container farther away. The one meant for recycle trash. I stand stunned.
The garage creaks open, I look expectantly towards the closed door leading to the basement. Before I can pick myself up and walk down, I see a blur pass me by. Kay is by the door standing on her toes trying to open the door. She repeats her sisters name over and over again. I open the door and watch her carefully climb down the stairs eyes searching for Cee. Cee on her way up repeats Kay’s name over and over. I fully expect a true filmy reunion between sisters separated for a good 8 hours while one was at school and the other recovering from a viral fever. They pass, barely acknowledging each other leaving me disappointed.
I sit by the bay window, phone glued to my ears chatting away with my mom. My eyes dart every now and then searching for Cee and making sure she is not up to anything dangerous. She saunters by me and looks askance at the phone. I subject my mom to the daily charade of asking my daughters to say hello and basically repeat whatever I ask them to say. On an impulse, I ask Cee to sing a song. Without batting an eyelid, she launches into a made up song “Appa ingae vaa vaa… Aasai muttham tha tha…”
I walk back from my meeting and by force of habit check my phone for messages that never come. I notice a red 2 by the phone icon. Wondering who called, I touch the voicemail tab and smile when I see K’s name. Listening to the voicemail I break out into a large grin. I hear Kay’s voice ring out clearly with whispers from K prompting her on what to say. Back at my desk, I glance at the picture on my screen and feel a sense of peace and gratitude that seems all encompassing.