He smiled with a calm demeanor. When I looked at Sandeep, I saw that he was at peace with his thoughts. Here’s a man satisfied at making decisions with his heart. The sun was setting at the horizon, and his soft features were bathed in the twilight. I envied Sandeep.
Most of them were women. Sometimes a man would join them, if he had known the deceased. This was always exciting; most of the women were widows. Mary’s husband was the latest to go, last July sixth. His name had been Carl, and his funeral was a good one.
The next morning, I found Zakaria and, by the afternoon, Nasima was in my flat swabbing the floors in a green sari. She was dark and thin with high cheekbones and deep-set eyes that sparked. She told me she was twenty-five, a year my senior. She had three children and a husband who peddled a cycle rickshaw.
In my room, the shadows were lifting with the promise of a brand-new day. My head pounded. The rest of the dreadful things that I could have said to my mother was stuck in my chest with no release or room. I spoke this way to no one else. I took a deep breath.
Before her unexpected death, one for the books, really, my mother aimed for fancy. She smelled like musky southern roses. She exuded beauty, with her violet eyes — Elizabeth Taylor eyes — and skin soft as peaches. And yet, all the while, something unkind coursed through her, and I could not tell you why. Was it the town?