It’s our ritual, ours. Bickering over her music, we sit in her bed, eating small oranges from a plate black with salt. Lazy words leave our tired mouths. Her hand sweeps hair from increasing worries. Even as her bones grow fragile she is the rain that braids my windowpane on a bored Sunday. I would bury a body for this woman.
It’s our ritual, ours. I sniffle in her lap: my unfinished book, or the ice cream I shouldn’t have had. Knowing laughter stretches our faces. “Don’t worry,” she says, “Don’t worry, sweet sweet baby, you’re going places.” When I dislodge her phone from her grip and take the glasses off her face she mumbles angrily, but knows it’s me. When she sleeps, her dreams talk— she frowns under the cloth mask that covers her eyes. I lie in the same bed listening to the storm.
It’s our ritual. She holds a jewel to her pierced lobe and says, ‘This looks better on me.’ I hug her from behind. I let her raid my box of things. Things distract us from the thunder. She wipes my cheeks with her warm hands.
It’s our ritual. Ours.
Brinda Gulati has an MA in Writing from the University of Warwick, and enjoys knitting as much as she does a tall glass of iced coffee. You can follow her virtual life on Instagram – @brindagulati, or share her anxieties of living in a COVID world on Twitter – @theonlybrinda.