Monday, December 18, 2006

I See Kind People (Sometimes)

Big A and I part unhappily on Fifth Av. I stumble about uncaring in the rain, crying, completely lost. About fifteen minutes later, Big A calls, his voice so hoarse with sleeplessness that I’m already forgiving him. He tells me to stay right where I am, that he’ll pick me up, find me some lunch. His unexpected kindness makes me cry harder, but I’m tired and wait right where I happen to be--on the corner of South Seventh Av and Charles St.

The old Sardarji who runs an Indian bric-a-brac store called Khazana comes out to the big trash can with the remnants of his lunch. He sees me. I see him, and the sight of someone somewhat familiar shames me into surreptitiously drying my tears, and then in mutual homesickness, we talk about India.

Then he leaves, I’m crying again, and the Chinese masseuse who comes up out of the basement does a double take when she sees me and offers to give me a “Happy massage. For free--only take 15 minutes.” By “happy massage,” she means a massage will make me happy. And as she rubs on my shoulder muscles and inadvertently tickles me, I am. Briefly. Also, “happy massage” makes me want to giggle. The place is empty, but she still refuses payment, and I’m left wondering what makes people so kind?

Just that morning, the guy next to me on the train offered me his umbrella and encouraged me to take it with a “Go on, I have two more of these at home.” And I felt guilty because even Li’l A who to my knowledge has never gotten wet in the rain because I treat him as though he were really made of sugar (the rain-dissolvable kind) has more than two tiny-sized umbrellas of his own.

Then we’re sitting in the car (Big A and i, not me and the train guy) on the street corner, making… up (that’s not quite the right preposition, but it’ll do). Big A is charmed by these encounters--people are always so nice to you, he says.

Not always, I say.

And I look, pointedly, at him.



Anonymous said...

You are nicer when you are happy.

Ganesh said...

love the new bold colors!