Girlfriends

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There is frenzied knocking on my bathroom door followed by incoherent yelling. I turn the shower off and manage to catch part of it.

“Can Ammu and I go to our friend L and J’s home? Please? Pretty please?”

I am impressed by the depth of feelings that pours out of Pattu’s voice.

“No! You have to eat lunch and then you may go.” I declare decisively and follow it up with a long explanation. I open the door to find no one outside. I sigh, take my time to dry my hair and get dressed.

I step outside the home to see two pairs of twins on their bikes all splotchy and red from being under the sun. It is noon.

A couple of hours later, I lie in bed trying to nap. Instead, I am fiddling with my phone, texting, setting alarms and being hyper-aware that my children are their rare play dates orchestrated by themselves.

Over the years, I have noticed my children run toward groups and over the course of time self-select themselves out for various reasons. I have watched with envy and in awe as my niece surrounds herself with a group of girls who have now grown up together. They roam the streets in front of their home in summer, play in the patch of grass in front and spend giggly hours talking about whatever ten-year-olds talk about.

I try to imagine what the twins are up to, I wonder if they feel at home, I wonder if they remembered to ask where the bathroom is. My mind goes over a million things until I hear the garage door opening. I slide off the bed and take to literally running down. I hear happy noises, impatient knocking and open the door to hair askew, flushed faces and happiness that I could touch.

Ammu runs to the fridge, grabs a tub of yogurt and dives right in. Pattu follows suit. I open my mouth to ask them to wash their hands, clean up but shut it and watch instead. They devour the yogurt and slow down enough to answer my questions.

“Can we watch TV?” Pattu pleads. I give in and retire to the kitchen making tea for Amma and I. The grated ginger swirls in the boiling water. It is like looking at a storm raging inside me. A happy storm of emotions and an almost wish that this will last. That my children will grow up with girls in our neighborhood. They will one day sit in our basement working on projects or watching TV, their hair in casual updos, their hands on friends shoulders and the camaraderie that comes from sharing history lasting them through the turbulent years of young adulthood.

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