I open the fridge to put the box of mint chutney back and see the array of containers with rasam, vatral kuzhambu and kootu in front of me. I feel a pang. I clear up and start the dishwasher and laddu raises her hand to be lifted. A shooting pain in my wrist reminds me of how little I carried her when you were around. I pick up the playing cards, one on each stair leading upstairs and smile indulgently remembering Ammu and Pattu and their silly games. It also reminds me of how exasperated you would have been. The soft squishy blocks lay scattered on the floor in the living room. I put them away and look around. The house feels desolate.
I call an early night and settle in bed with a book. The clock shows 11:15 PM as I turn the lights out. I lie in the darkness, sleep a breath away and realize missing you is loving you Amma.
Morning dawns and I am up before the alarm rings. I have lunches packed, breakfast served and the kids on the bus with barely a protest. I cannot believe my good fortune. I grin to myself remembering it is only a couple of days before Saathi will be back. Laddu and I enjoy our tradition of breakfast at the island. I eat and feed her alternatively. We rise sated and move to the rocking recliner. The music is on low and happiness pervades the air. It does till the phone rings again bearing disappointment and worry.
I feel my spirits plummet. What’s another few days? I convince myself. You will be back before I know it. I open the pantry and your lunch bag reminds me all over again of all that I miss. I put Laddu down for her nap and sneak a shower before she wakes. As I walk out, your towel reminds me afresh of the void that is looming large.
All through the day, objects, memories, anecdotes and thoughts assail me. I realize to miss you is to love you.