When my brother comes into work I listen to him boot up his computer, shed his parka, go downstairs, stow his lunch in the fridge, and crack open a soda. He walks over to my desk, stops and says, “What’s up?” “I declined Dr. Froggy on the desi matrimonial site,” I reply. "Whne?" he asks and sips his drink. I glance at the clock, "About an hour ago." He’s quiet for a minute then says, “Good.”
We got through our day preparing a presentation for Gary our client. We are one of three firms short-listed, which is very good. But we’re a little worried. We run the risk of not getting this job because Gary doesn't think Desi Brother and I can handle contractors.
Around 5 pm I leave work, pick-up Mom, and drive to the hospital. I debate telling her that I am more likely to move to the foothills of the Himalayas than marry Dr. Froggy. But she’s like any mom, desi or otherwise, who wants her daughter to get married and settle down. I don’t think Mom is worried about me, I think she knows and believes that I can take care of myself. I think she wants me to have someone to rely on, a companion. And she has enough stress dealing with Dad that I think my husband-free existence can wait another day or two.
I park the car in the hospital parking ramp. Mom and I walk quietly and I don’t know how she does this, day in, day out. We’re all emotionally depleted. But every morning around 6.00 am I pick Mom up, take her home, she showers, does her housework, takes a nap, makes Dad’s dinner, goes the hospital, heats it up in the microwave, sits with him, sleeps on a cot, and gets up to it all over again. I understand that she loves him, we all do, but I am worried about the toll Dad’s health is taking on her health.
I spend some time with Dad, he looks good, considering. I never know if he will be cranky or not (understandably – he does not have enough strength in his arms to open a soda can), but today his mood is pretty even. He asks about Gary’s project and I tell him everything is good and we’ve got it under control. He has enough to deal with; he doesn’t need to worry about the office.
I get back into the car and don’t feel like being alone. So I dial Bangalore Cousin. She picks up immediately. “How is Uncle?” she asks. “He’s good,” I reply. “How is Auntie?” “Holding up,” I reply. “How are you?” she asks. “Fine. I declined contact with Dr. Froggy,” I share and continue, “to the day, Dad has been in the hospital for three weeks, and he has YET to call me. He sends a text here and there – but this has me wondering if he would care about his children? Would he care if I was sick? And I don’t know – I just cannot comprehend why it is so hard to call someone? This is not how I would behave if the situation was reversed.” “That’s because you have compassion. If this is how behaves now? Just imagine after imagine. He’s a jerk, good riddance," she says.