She floats down, a vision in orange gauze. I should feel adoration or even pride but all I feel are frissons of irritation. Her sisters bound down behind her, pride at having dressed their little sister in a dress.
They are all seated at the kitchen island. I flip crisp dosas at the stove with an ease that comes from years of practice. Each child devours the food in front of them and rushes to give me a hug before they rush into the rain. The puddle in our driveway reflects their form only marred by big droplets that splash and splatter everywhere.
The house is quieter. Saathi has picked up his lunch bag and left in the midst of the chaos. I close open chutney containers, pick crumbs off the island and the ground below. I set still sizzling pans on the counter and find a quiet spot to eat my breakfast in.
Laddu is now done sobbing. She is watching the TV as I head upstairs to find school-appropriate wear. I decide on a chambray top and leggings. The room is littered with dresses and clothes that I once left neatly folded. I swear under my breath and put things back.
I feel a weariness settle on me, its weight familiar. I drive Laddu to school, chat with her teacher and come back home. I skip my regular walk and opt to clear up instead. I feel the resentment that has been building in me seethe and soar. I let out a loud string of curses and shove the naked dolls, an undone string of beads, random stuff into bins and place them in a corner.
A few days ago, I went to walk in the rain. It started as a fine spray. The kind you experience in the vicinity of a waterfall. The feeling of moisture without feeling anything fall on you. As I walked, it grew to a steady trickle. For years, I have thought about the phrase “dance in the rain” with the kind of curiosity one might have toward adventurous sports. Instead of turning around and heading home, I pressed on. I walked aware of the water forming rivulets on my scalp and disappearing into my hair. I walked as water dripped into the crevice between my watch and wrist. I walked as my clothes plastered themselves to my body and my glasses fogged up.
The garage was a welcome relief from the rain. I slipped my sneakers off, mimicked what a dog would do when waterlogged and went straight for the shower. As the warm water cascaded down, I realized what a stupid thing the dance-in-the-rain philosophy is. As is live-in-the-moment, wear your best clothes or use your best china.
In principle, I agree with most of it but what gets me is these things are not for everyone. I like to wear my best clothes on occasion. I love my comfy PJs all day long. I hate the rain and feeling cold water trickling down. I love to get out my best china when we have friends over. On regular days, I am perfectly happy with my lightweight Corelle. As much as living in the moment is touted, I love my to-do lists and planning and thinking about the future.
As for gauzy, poufy orange dresses that make my daughters look like a dream, they have been stowed away to be pulled out on occasion.