I am sending some emails when a new one downloads. Saathi the name reads and my face breaks into a smile. Reflexive, something I cannot control. The subject says, “Your PECO bill” and I almost laugh. In the ten days I have been away from home, I haven’t caught myself thinking about him or the children the way I expected to. I am not missing them viscerally. Pictures my Amma sends make me smile but there are no pangs there.
As the last thing I do each night, I write to Saathi. I write as if I would write a diary. I write about the insignificant things like how the shower is too small or how the girl next to me wouldn’t smile at me. I trade gossip. I tell him of the rowdy night two of my friends and I spent schooling another girl on love. I tell him I am happy. Just before I sign off I say I am thankful, that I love him.
The notes from him are full of happiness at my joy. I can tell he is happy that I am happy. He tells me how the children play well together. He tells me of how smoothly life runs even when I am not there. He glosses over the things that would have me throw my hand up in the air and go “really?” He insulates me from the mundane, from everything that would keep me from having a joyous time here at Yale.
Tomorrow we will be married seventeen years. I exhort Amma to made vadai for him. I want to orchestrate the day so it will mark what has truly been a momentous journey. I will be workshopping, listening to craft lectures, editing, revising and reading to an audience tomorrow. I will also find a way to sneak a little sweet something with my meal to mark the day.
In the run-up to tomorrow, I have been thinking about all that he means to me. These thoughts snake their way into my impromptu writing exercises. “He is a good man,” I tell my new friends when we talk of my family. They see his picture, his eyes that laugh childlike and go “you have a good man” and I nod. He is a good man.