Sunday, May 19, 2013
She looked like a sun dried tomato. Her puckered skin, dry and rough, made me wonder what I had seen in her twenty years ago, I must have been really silly. She came towards me licking her parched lips, pushing them out and pulling them in. Her hair was wispy, underneath it her scalp shone in the mid-day heat. The Kerala sun was far from merciful, and I was thankful for my Adidas cap.
“Here,” she said, “I saved these for you.” She opened her light brown palms, etched with lines. There were some dried herbs in her small hands. Her hands were green-veined and brown from working the fields. That’s what she did now. I noticed her bent back.
I grabbed the dried leaves and brought them to my nose, and smelt once again the chicken coconut curry. I rubbed the leaves against my mouth and nose as if willing the aroma to remain on my skin forever.
In a frenzy, I grabbed her hands and put them against my face.
The leaves were dried and crushed with time and fell like green ash. Her hands against my face were hard, unable to shape themselves against my skin. She pulled them back, embarrassed. At one time, she had cupped my face in her hands every day before sending me off to school.
Hair of black water running down skin of moonlight, eyes that lit up the nights when she sang me to sleep. Smell of chicken curry spiced with herbs from her body as her small hands stroked my hair, damp with sweat. She took care of me while father taught what being a Christian meant to the people here, hoping to change them and mother wrote from England, hoping I was being well looked after.
© ABHA IYENGAR, 19th May 2013 http://flashmob2013.wordpress.com/