Massi and I sit silently in the back of the car. I watch Delhi disappearing before my eyes. Every slow mile we trek in gridlock rush hour traffic is a reminder that I am hours, minutes, seconds away from departure. As the dark of night sets in, the concrete girders seem so stark, the lights from cars seem so bright, too bright.
We drive along and I imagine that Dad is coming from the opposite direction. I wonder if he is having similar thoughts. Probably not. This was once his home, so I am sure he looks at Delhi like I do Minnesota. A place from where he came, that seems to change more and more each time he sees it, but is no longer home.
The driver eases the car next to the curb, he unloads my bags from the trunk and sets them on a trolley. Massi and I get out and the agony of good-bye begins. The weak smile. Wet eyes. A dull ache in my heart. “Don’t forget to complain to the airline about your stolen items,” Massi reminds. I flash a half-smile, “Don’t worry. I won’t.” Not only I am strong-willed, but I am extremely desi when it comes to my money, I am relentless in getting it back.
I hug her and reluctantly draw away. “Okay, mera bacha, all the best, have a safe flight. Lots of love,” Massi says. I don’t know how she maintains stoicism. Despite growing up Indian and Minnesotan, two populations of stoics, I have not mastered emotional control and cannot stop the good bye tears from welling up in my eyes. “Love you Massi.” I don’t have to say “thank you” for all she has done for me. She knows and says, “Love you,too."
When there is nothing left to say, and no more hugs to give, I grab the trolley filled with my luggage and leave her side. I refuse to think about all the things I want to say. Life has routinely taught me that nothing is certain in life, but I cannot think that this may be the last time we meet.