or, a loop with a twist, with no orientation
This is a collaborative piece
Text: Sahana Srinivasan
Illustration: Javed Imthiaz
In Lazio, outside of Rome,
the air hummed in the afternoon heat,
sunbeams slowly made their way across the tiled floor,
and a beautiful woman with too much makeup tried to sell us a vegetable slicer on Italian TV.
Sated with pasta and dizzy from the sun,
you curled up like two cats in front of a television and drifted to sleep.
Meanwhile, I leafed through a very detailed itinerary I made earlier in the year,
tallied our total spending,
confirmed our flights for the next destination,
made sure the hotel knew when we would be arriving,
looked up some vegetarian restaurants,
refreshed my email,
(and sneaked a quick glass of wine).
In the evening, you declare - perhaps, we will go to Pisa, on our own - and I feel at once a rush of intense pride, dampened ever so slightly by trepidation.
Do I look up train timings for you? Can I make you sandwiches? Do you want to take my phone?
Two weeks ago, I lost you in Paris. We took a break on the Champs Elysees, I turned for a minute and you were nowhere to be found. I had bloodinmyears/irononmytongue/fireinmythroat then I saw, serene in the fading light, you staring at a macaron I insisted you try, and I stared back,
My two babies aged 49 and 55.
When you grow up an only child, the line between parent and child blurs often.
Our hierarchy, its dynamic, it flows - now, placid like the Amstel, gentle through our little canals of inside jokes, all our jagged edges eroded to melty silt over time, but before, it was more a rocky torrent like the Teesta, where you taught me how to skip rocks and scared away the monsters under my guest house bed.
You told me so many times that when I would have a child, I would know.
And now I do.
Sahana Srinivasan grew up in Calcutta and now lives in Belgium. She goes to a lot of places and is determined to show all of them to her parents too.
Javed Imthiaz is a creative director in branding and advertising. He sometimes lectures in comics, communication and sociology.