I am peeling potatoes by the sink, the window practically pointless because of how dark it is outside. The red peels fall in an intricate pattern, followed by the ends of the green beans and the orange carrot peels. I box up the cut vegetables and clear the sink. I look around the kitchen and realize I have time before dinner.
Laddu is sitting inside an Amazon box, one edge folded over like a desk. She holds a notepad and paper and is bent over writing. Ammu is kneeling by her, teaching her to count and to add. Pattu is by the blackboard, writing single digits to be added. I almost smile as I pass them but school my face into blankness. I am withholding TV and iPad time this evening as punishment for something I have already forgotten.
I think I should walk around the house, inch that step counter closer to the 10000 I strive to hit each day. Instead, I walk to the study like a homing pigeon in need of a safe space. Through the day, I look at my phone, willing it to ring. When it does it is the local optician office reminding me to pick up my new glasses.
I rarely hear from anyone but my Amma. I rarely call anyone but her. I resent this state of friendlessness I find myself in.
I cannot blame anyone. In my pursuit of a family, I had blinders on. I forged ahead with one thought in my head. Socializing felt frivolous. The bonds that tied me to people thinned, frayed and eventually gave out. I did not even notice.
Now when I sometimes lift my head above water, it seems like it is the endless sea in all directions with nary a human. I could try and mend fences. I could try tying frayed ends but a part of me knows that ship has sailed.
In my quest for real-life human connection, I feel unmoored, unable to figure out how to go about making friends. How does one make friends in their forties? Do you meet people in the aisles of the local grocery store as you search for snacks with no sugars or added flavors? Do you find them in the parking lot of the elementary school as you hurry in to drop things your children missed? Do they make things like dating apps for frazzled moms looking for connection?
The photos on my social media timeline tell a different story. I see people like me dressed to the nines, posing gorgeously. I see women like me making a weekend of it at New York City. I see posts about childhood friends reconnecting every few years. I feel envious. I also feel like perhaps I am not friend material.
I root around in my fridge for a box of Siggi yogurt and drown my sorrows in that and a chocolate chip cookie.