Anjali’s POV

I woke up a couple of hours later groggy from all of the alcohol and I started feeling sorry for myself.  I missed all of my friends on the East Coast.  If I had been back home I would have called one of my friends and gone to their place instead of checking into a hotel by myself.  I didn’t have anyone here that I was close enough to that I could pour my heart out to.  The closest people in my life here were my in-laws and for this situation that didn’t seem appropriate. 

I missed my friends.  My close group of friends in NY had been in my life since my twenties.  Katherine had been my friend since Junior High.  When you’ve had friends for so long it’s so easy to be with them – they know everything about you the good and the bad.  You don’t have to explain why you feel a certain way, your quirks, your prejudices, etc. because they already know them.  They know your perspective and they don’t judge you.  You don’t have to be politically correct and you can say whatever you want and use whatever curse words fit your mood.  Even though I’ve met so many nice people in CA, they don’t know me and my history.  It’s hard to develop deep friendships in a short amount of time. 

I really missed my best friend Katherine.  We’d known each other since Junior High School and we’d even gone to the same college and moved to NYC after college.   Katherine and I grew up in New Jersey and we had been sharing our secrets to each other for years; all of our insecurities, our pranks, breaking the rules together.  Katherine is from a Catholic Italian family which is so similar to my Hindu Indian family.  She completely understood the concept of family – the positive and negative parts of it.  In both cultures family is a huge part of who you are – big family get togethers, nosy aunts and uncles who love to interfere, overprotective parents who can be so very conservative.  There were so many times that we covered for each other so that we could explore beyond the boundaries that we were given.  The biggest difference in our families was the food and that I went to temple and she went to church.   Katherine was the person I shared most of my first experiences with – my first crush, the first time I got drunk, the first time I had sex, the first time I fell in love.  I needed her now more than ever.

When I was in New York, every Sunday I would get together with my friends for brunch – Katherine, Ali, Tina, and Charlie.  It was always the five of us and whenever we were dating someone seriously they would join our brunch.  Sometimes other friends would join us every now and then, but we were the core 5 that went to brunch together for over 10 years.  We all had busy lives and crazy schedules but Sunday brunch was when we cleared our schedules and got together to catch up.  Brunch was a time to relax, sit back and shoot the shit with each other. 

Ali was like a brother to me.  We met my sophomore year in college and he was a freshman.  We were on the same floor in the dorms.  Ali had come to school from Pakistan and it was his first time in the U.S.  He was homesick and he missed his family a lot the first year.  We would swap Bollywood music and go dancing together and complain about the bland dorm food.  After his first year at school I invited him to my house for Raksha Bandhan a Hindu holiday for brothers and sisters.  Sisters tie a threadlike bracelet on their brothers’ wrist and feed them a sweet and wish them well and pray for their well-being and protection.  The brother in turn asks for her blessings and then gives her a gift.  Even though Ali was Muslim every year he would come to my parents’ home for Raksha Bandhan.  I have a younger brother Rakesh, but Ali also became a brother to me.  He’s always treated me like a sister and looked out for me.  Even though he’s not my biological brother, we’ve always had the bond that siblings have.  I was wondering if I should call Ali, but he has always been over protective of me and he might be so upset over the situation that he wouldn’t be much help. 

I could call Tina or Charlie to help me laugh – they were always good for making light of the situation.  Tina is the complete opposite of me – she’s always ready for good time.  Maybe that’s why we’re such good friends.  But, right now I needed to figure out what do I want and what should I do next.  This wasn’t just about me anymore, I have two children who I love very much and any decision I make will have huge consequences for them.  My son, Samir is so sensitive to my feelings it scares me.  I often think I’m good at masking my feelings, but he senses my sadness even when I’m laughing on the outside.  When he was younger he would come up to me and ask me are you happy mommy.  I had to be strong before I faced my children otherwise they would pick up on my emotions.

With no answers I decided to finish off the bottle of Chardonnay.  I might as well as numb myself a little longer since no clear path was emerging in my mind.  After finishing the wine, I just went back to bed and drifted away again.

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