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Pen Your Pride

June - Anjali

Karan was six months old and I was finally feeling like I could at least go out for a couple of hours.  The babysitter came over and I needed to go out and see people so I called Raj.

“Hi, sweetheart, how are you?” Raj asked.

“Actually, I’m good.  I was wondering if you’re free to meet up for lunch.  I can be there in a half hour,” I asked excitedly.

“Anjali, I’ve got a meeting today that I just can’t change.  Why don’t you get a mani and pedi instead? You deserve some pampering. We’ll do lunch another day.”

“I wish you could change your meeting, I miss you.”

“I miss you too.  Honey, I have to run, I’ll see you when I get home this evening.”

“Sure, bye.”

I push back the tears.  I’m still hormonal and everything sets me off these days.  I walk out of my building and towards my nail salon to at least get out and see other adults and in the process be pampered a bit.

Luckily it’s the middle of a Tuesday afternoon so the salon is somewhat empty.  Tran, the woman who normally takes care of me, seats me in the big oversized chair and pulls out a tub of warm soapy water for me to soak my feet in.

I pull up my pants and dip my feet in and lay my head back on the comfortable chair.  Once my feet get adjusted to the warm water, I open my eyes, hoping Tran wants to chat.  If I don’t speak to another adult soon I’m going to go stir crazy.

I look over to my side and a woman in her early sixties is sitting in the chair next to me.

“Hello,” I smile.

“Hello dear.  How are you?”

“I’m good.  Do you come here regularly?”

“I love this place.  I’m here every other Tuesday at the same time,” she smiles at she looks at Tran.  “I’ve been a regular customer for over four years now.   What about you?”

“I come here too, but I don’t have a set schedule.  I squeeze it in whenever I can,” I reply.

“She just had a baby.  Doesn’t she look great?” Tran says to the lady sitting next to me.

“Congratulations.  What did you have a son or a daughter?” she asks.

“I had a son.  He’s six months old,” I say proudly.

“So wonderful you are able to break away and pamper yourself.  A woman needs to take care of herself and make sure she looks after herself.”

“Well, my original plan was to have lunch with my husband, but when I called him he said he had a meeting he couldn’t avoid.  I was really hoping to spend the afternoon with him,” I confessed to this complete stranger.

“Well you need to watch your husband carefully.  Men use work to cover up a lot of stuff.  Make sure when you see him tonight you schedule a lunch and get on his calendar.  After you have a baby, many men feel left out.  Make sure you pay enough attention to him,” the old lady advices.

Now in addition to feeling lonely and depressed, I’m worried that my husband could possibly be having an affair.

The old lady continues, “I hope you don’t mind me giving you advice.  I’m on my third husband so I have a little experience in this area.  My first marriage ended because my husband was cheating on me with his secretary after we had our child.  He broke my heart.  I’m not sure I really ever got over him.  It’s probably why I rushed into my second marriage.  Oh well, you live and learn.”

I did my best to smile at the old lady.  At least Raj’s secretary was about the age of the woman sitting next to me.  I doubt he was cheating on me with his secretary.  But maybe someone else. 

“As soon as I’m done I’m going to call his secretary and schedule a lunch,” I say partially to the woman sitting next to me and partially to myself.

Alex

I had just dropped off Tarun cha cha and Poonam cha chi at the airport after their visit with us.  They were now heading to California to visit with my parents.  Since I had quit my job and was consulting from home I had a more flexible schedule.

Tarun cha cha had wanted to call a taxi but I insisted on taking him to the airport.  I didn’t see them often enough and I wanted every moment with them.

When I arrived home, Christina walked in at the same time.  “What are you doing home so early?” I asked surprised since her hours were even longer now that she’d been promoted.

“I wanted to see you.  I missed you.”

“Oh.” I said a little miffed.  That the entire week that Tarun cha cha and Poonam cha chi had been here she hadn’t come home once early and the first day they’re gone she’s home early.

The nanny had taken Jasper out for a stroll so we were home alone.

“Should I cook dinner?” I offered.

“If you want.  Or we can go out to eat.” She responded.

I pulled out dishes and veggies from the fridge.  I wanted to eat at home.

“Did your aunt and uncle make it to the airport safely?” Chris asked.

“Yes, everything went smoothly and on time.”

“It’s nice to have our home back again.”

“I like having family visit.  It makes the house feel alive.  We don’t see family enough.  Why don’t we ask your aunt and uncle to come visit?”

“I’m not that close to them,” Chris states as she’s flipping through the mail.

“Well, we haven’t seen your parents in a while.  We should have them come visit?”

“We just got rid of our guests and now you’re already trying to plan another round of guests.”

“Jasper needs to meet and get to know his family.  It’s good to keep close ties with your family.”

“Not everyone wants to be close to their family.  My aunt was nuts growing up.”

“But, sometimes family is the difference between keeping it together and losing it.  You know Poonam cha chi couldn’t have children and it made her depressed.  She felt she was letting cha cha down by not being able to have children.  But the relationship between my mom and her really saved her.  My mom always let her know that Arjun and I were like her own sons.  We spent a lot of time at their home when we went to India.  She’s always been like a second mom to me.”

“Why are you always so optimistic?  You don’t know that if my mother had reached out to her sister that would have helped my aunt.”

“You’re right, we don’t know if I’m right, but you also don’t know that I’m wrong.  We need family.  It’s our job to keep relationships with them.”

“Or maybe good fences make good neighbors.”

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I absolutley love this poem by Robert Frost - it's one of my favorites.  I'm really going to try hard and get to the year when Alex and Anjali meet.   So the chapters will be somewhat short.  I'm posting two this evening!! I hope you enjoy them.

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