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Pen Your Pride

Alex

It had been over two weeks since I’d seen Anjali.  I hadn’t seen her the first couple of days back from the holiday.  She was scheduled for library duty this morning and I was looking forward to seeing her.

I kept looking at my watch, it was 11:15am.  Library duty started at 11am; she was never late.

At 11:20, I heard Anjali, “I’m so sorry I’m late.  Do we have a lot of work today?”

I look over at her and it’s the first time I’ve seen her in Indian clothes; she’s wearing a beautiful navy blue salvar khameez.

“I’m so sorry, I didn’t have time to change, I had a puja at my parents home this morning and I didn’t have time to change before coming to school.”  She runs her hands down the front of her outfit slightly embarrassed. 

“You look nice in Indian clothes.  You should wear them more often,” I say hoping she won’t be embarrassed.

“Thanks,” she says with an odd look on her face, which I couldn’t decipher.

“Are we still on for lunch today?” I ask.

“I only have time for a cup of coffee.  I have to head back to my parents.”

“Coffee it is,” I say as we split off and divide up the books that need to be shelved.

An hour and half later we are waiting in line at our favorite coffee shop.

“How were your holidays?” I ask Anjali while we wait for our coffee.  I watch her smile, and she turns to me, “They were good.  How were yours?”

“They were good too,” I say, but don’t add how much I missed our coffee outings, library duty and the occasional long lunch.

“But, I’m glad school has started again,” I say.

“Me too.  There’s only so much family you can tolerate.  Plus, the routine is nice.  It’s predictable.  At least there’s some peace while the kids are in school.”

“Sounds like your vacation was really chaotic,” I observe.

“Two lattes for Alex,” the barista announces.

I walk over and grab them and we walk back towards our usual table.

“Holidays in our household are usually chaotic.  That’s just the norm,” Anjali responds but seems like she wants to share more but she doesn’t.  And I don’t push her.

“Listen, I’ve been meaning to ask you where do the kids take swim lessons.  I want to sign Jasper and Leah up but I was looking for something close to the school.”

“The kids take classes at a very small family run pool not far from the school.  It’s a bit old-school, but the teachers are magnificent.”

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