The world is swathed in dirty white. Smoky season. We pray for wind, or even better, rain. My eyes sting, and not only because of smoke. I miss seeing the world, seeing color, seeing the blue of the sky.
It will come back. I remind myself.
I remind myself that I longed to be in a place for all of its seasons, back when I was only in Goa for six months in each year, moving from place to place.
Beauty is a kind of food to me, and not just conventional beauty. Rusty tin siding in many colors is just as edible. But without being able to see, I am at a loss.
So I listen. The birds are active, first thing in the morning. I have always loved that about this house. The forest flies to us, despite the buildings all around. This morning I hear a koel, magpie robins, bulbuls, a crow (which is rare, maybe it is a mynah masquerading as a crow), spotted doves, mynahs, and the nearby roosters.
There were lumps on a pan in the oven, a couple of weeks back. I took note, wondered at them, left them. Sometimes I think about this lack of control over my kitchen and wonder if it is odd. Someone is always making something, and it could be food, or it could be an experiment.
“It’s fun for the kids but it must be difficult for you,” a friend remarked the other day, when she found the pulp from the oranges Isaac had been juicing.
No, actually. I like it. It is interesting. Curious. And then they make delicious things for me to eat. They have to clean up after themselves… though they sometimes forget, and then I have to call for them and make them do it.
Maybe it helps that the kitchen is outdoors, already sort of half play place.
It definitely helps that I have help from a cleaning lady.
Anyway, there were lumps in the oven, slowly cooking, over days.
“What are these?” Kenya asked me.
“I have no idea,” I said. “Some kind of Leafy thing I guess.”
She laughed. “Did I tell you what he was doing the other day? I came in and he was scraping and boiling mango skins. I asked what he was making, and he said, ‘I’m trying to find an alternative to paper. I figure we can save a lot of money if we use mango skins.’”
“Did it work?” I asked.
“No, it just smudged when he tried to write on them.”
Just then, Leafy came into the kitchen.
“Did you see my bioplastic?” he asked, pointing at the lumps in the oven. “I’m making it from milk protein. But I accidentally mixed up fahrenheit and celcius, so they got a bit too brown.”
Chinua is still away in India. We are more than ready for him to come back. This kind of longing feels good in a way, though. Pieces that will be put right when they come back together.
I hope the wind comes, and drives off all the smoke. I hope the sky comes through again. I hope the rain comes and waters the earth. I hope I can truly see and feel the belovedness of myself and every person I meet.
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