(From the desk of Kenny, about a week ago)
It has been just over four days since I left the homestead. The monster had gone off to her neighbourhood after-school class while I packed my bag. I did a whirlwind round of packing, went back into office to get an official letter, came back, changed, piled my feet into shoes, and we went off to pick her up and then to drop me at the airport. She gave me an extra hug and hung on to me when I got off and said goodbye. She was super sweaty from whatever it is they had played at the class (basketball perhaps, it is really never clear what exactly goes on there), and I was like ‘eww girl’
Pink striped tights (knee length) and a pink tee-shirt, she had chosen for herself that day.
Since that moment about a thousand things have happened. The interminable flight. The delayed arrival in Mumbai. The breezing through the duty free desperately, phone in my ear. The Air India uncles and aunties insisting that there was no gin on board (WTF?). Movies. Wake Up Sid, Ajab Prem Ki, even the really horrid De Dana Dan in which the highlight is a flood.
Gotta Have Bagels and Starbucks.
A sentimental shopping session at Barnes and Nobles, that fine bookstore. It was not as cool as I expected as I could not find the books the monster wanted. Anyway she is going to be happy with whatever I have gotten for her, and also the little brown tights with the pink flowers I stopped at Gap for, will also be a hit. Miss her #1.
NBA Basketball finals (actually not that bothered that the Lakers – whom I tradionally hate ; won over the Celtics – whom our entire gang traditionally thinks are god’s gift to basketballkind).
Berakka Pacchadi (YUMMMM). Breadsticks with Avakka.
The groomboy and I were supposed to go out for a pint around the corner. I know, how cool does that sound. This in Queens though. His buddies had other ideas and, as the middle-aged aunty types I got cut out of the Manhattan binge. Oh well. There is always tomorrow, I said.
The morrow brought work, laundry, a jet-lagged nap, the Berakka Pacchadi lunch, and BEGGING, literally, for some coffee. Groomboy seems to have quit coffee along with the puffstick. Me, I need my coffee like I need my ankle brace and toothpaste.
The flight to Kansas City was good and groomboy kept trying to wake me up and look at the storm clouds we were flying through. They were cool, I admit. I said, ‘Don’t know if monster realises that clouds have three-dimensional structure.’ ‘Dude, she is not a dummass like you, she does.’ Miss her #2.
Hey the family is all out at dinner, lets go around the corner and join them in a pint. I know, this was in Kansas city though. And the Italian place they were at brought me a local brewed wheat something. We did go to an Irish pub after but I was too tired by then.
Saturday brought a sunglass hunt for the husband. Unsuccessful, though the responses were encouraging. I noted a toystore nearby and told myself to resist the temptation. After all, we had discussed it and the monster had agreed with me that there was no point wasting time with toys and the like this time. Miss her # 3 though.
I went over the house later in the afternoon, despite the best attempts of a sleepy cab driver to put me on the wrong track, I dug deep and read the map and got there. The yellow house dudes! The house filled up soon enough and I found myself talking nineteen to a dozen with everyone, the Indians, the Irish, and American academics alike.
The little girl seemed real friendly, finally I caught up with her brother and her in the other living room. ‘Its my birthday tomorrow, sixth year’ she said, all cute and lispy and giggly when I said OompaLoompa. We had a wonderful conversation about Darth Vader and sharks, and how to train them (both) so that they don’t bite, and she gave me one of her elastic bracelet things (and a sweet). I don’t even want to think about how much I missed mine looking at this tiny little girl and saying ‘Do you like the girl that went Daddy I want a Pony Daddy I want a trained squirrel’
And of course you don’t insult the brew by serving it from bottles, and they did not, so I stuck to the local pale ale that was in the icebox. We can always go out for one later, I said.
With the wedding next day, and my feet literally tapping thinking of the jogging routes around the city, getting a cab back and getting a good night’s rest seemed logically the right thing to do, especially when one of the girls had already called one and the guy was there outside and all. I let my pint go again...
I heard the church bells going as I ran, literally drooling, to the park down the hill. Its a small synthetic track – just under a mile in length. But soft on the feet, and with music in the ear, and the weather all super nice (read, warm), and birds chirping, it was just fantastic. I sweated buckets though, and everyone thought I was crazy because hello, I had to go around many times to get to my running goal for the day. But what the heck.
I walked over to the local coffee place and realised it was Father’s day. Ugh. Now I miss all of them. Including my own father, ten years it might be, but still. He would have loved to hear of my adventures, and if life has been different, would surely have walked with me for a pint of the world’s best (don’t think he ever had a taste of it, all he managed was some fine vodka in the erstwhile USSR where he spent time for work back in the early 70’s, aside of course from whatever it was they used to drink in India back in those days). And yeah, my two homies, its nice that the father-daughter bonding is going well, and surely it cannot happen when I am around ‘cause I am so in your face around the house.. but.... Soldier on, Kenny, soldier on.
I did quick work on the eggs, the potatoes, and the coffee (keep it coming, please), while reading a running book for inspiration, and keeping my mind away from things and people I was missing, and also partly focussing on the fact that it was wedding day! Wedding Day!
Groomboy and I tried again later in the afternoon (actually I went over to see if he wanted help getting his hair done, as Bridegirl and her friends were doing that!!), but the local Irish pub was securely locked. Sunday afternoon, 1 pm, or thereabouts. So off to the pizza place for the local wheat again! (and some very nice pizza).
The wedding was just awesome. The ceremony very sweet, and dinner real nice. I was so very glad I came! I mean, I would have missed out big time if I had stayed back home and pretended as if I really wanted to come but could not for various practical reasons. Anyway, I don’t do practical very well. Sentimental, that I am good at. That and attending weddings. I am great at that! Everyone danced up a storm though but I tried very hard to do the usual, i.e., hide in the back. I spoke to everyone there, at least almost everyone, which is something I like to do (as opposed to dancing, which is something I like not to do!) It was all very poignant and I managed to not cry! Which sort of counts as the achievement of the year, I must say!
The whole plan of after-wedding drinks was ill-conceived to begin with, at least for me. I mean, when a guy says, ‘I am sort of the local party organiser person’ and it turns out that he is a twenty something kid who frequently pretends to forget your name, and routinely says inappropriate things to people around. I could not go through with the plan and just avoided the whole after-party and did the middle-aged and crashed till 9 am (when I rolled out of bed and went to the gym to watch Federer do the Federer on that guy).
As Sunday rolls into Monday and I sit here at the hotel and watch the comings and goings (mostly goings) of all the guests, it turns out that I am still chasing that elusive pint of stout! And I am counting on my fingers now and am resigned to the fact that I have to wait at least a week to see my little girl...