My brother and his family arrive late on Thursday.
As we ready the following morning I wonder how full families of six and eight lived in these teeny tiny apartments back in the day. Cut to today, and you will find three adults and a baby tripping all over one another with the one shower, one bedroom and a small badly designed kitchen.
We leave the apartment and Desi Niece sees another child with a balloon and she becomes OBSESSED with getting one for herself. “Ball-loon, ball-loon, ball-loon,” she repeats like a baby mantra. How can you not love an 11-month old with a feisty, larger than life personality? We somehow manage to get her on the train sans the balloon. Luckily she finds the train fascinating and stares out the window at nothing since we’re below ground.
The train stops at Times Square and we get off. In the subway station she sees a balloon stand and now pitches a screaming fit and of course, since I am weak and the Auntie who spoils, I buy one for her. I am displeased when she lets go of it on 42nd Street just east of 8th Avenue, and $4 soars into the sky. She cries, and I scold, “Desi Niece, Bhua could have bought a coffee with that money you just let go of. NO more balloon.” Maybe I would be a good parent after all.
I made the mistake earlier that morning of mentioning a Baby Gap in Times Square and that is where we go and buy some new threads for Desi Niece. Since she is small, so are her clothes, and we actually buy a lot for $130.00. And since we’re Indian, we buy her things that are one size too big so she can wear them for more than five minutes. For the record, I would rather poke my eye out than WILLING go into Times Square, so clearly I love these people to venture into Tourist Land with them.
From there we mosey along to American Girl Store. Since Desi Niece is wearing a red, white and blue dress and looks like a moving American Flag, EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE in the store ooos and aahhs over her. We actually prop her up next to some dolls and take pictures of her. No joke, she could be mistaken for a oy.
“Let’s go to the Top of the Rock,” my bother suggests. “Great! I have never been,” I reply. “You live here and you have never been?” my brother questions. “When you live here Rock Center and Times Square are not places where natives go,” I explain. He rolls his eyes and says, “Well look at you Miss Fancy living in Blah, Blah Land.” We laugh at how snotty the comment sounded. “Can we get coffee at Starbucks first?” I ask. They are quite agreeable and my brother goes to get the drinks for us while my sister-in-law goes to bathroom with Desi Niece.
As I am sitting there my phone pings and I flip open the text messages. I don’t even BELIEVE this. It’s a note from Town and Country saying, “Hi. How are you? Do you want to get together?” How does he seem to know when I am finally over him? He made plans with me two months ago and then blew me off. It took him three weeks to say he was sorry and then six weeks elapsed, during which time I finally thought he was out of my system. And what does “do you want to get together mean?” Sex? Because I don’t think so. He ignores me and then thinks I can be bought for dinner? I read and re-read the text and begin to shake a little.
My brother returns with the drinks and looks at me sideways. “What’s wrong?” he asks and stares at the phone. I snap it shut, thankful to have family and love in town. “Nothing. Nothing is wrong. I’m fine,” I reply. Famous last words, since I have never been fine with it comes to Town and Country.