He was sitting on the edge of the wooden slats that framed the doorway of the living room in my uncle’s house. I just happened to walk past. I did not go there with any particular purpose. As I mentioned, I just happened to walk past. This was an acquaintance, a distant family member that I fawned over, simply because it was easier to do so, than define any kind of relationship with this person.

He looked tired, like he had just woken up from his sleep.

“Arre Addu, where are you?” he said.  An all too common complaint when it comes to me.

“Pushpa told me that she has been calling you all weekend and that you are just not available.”

“Who?” I asked.

“Pushpa, Pushpa,” he replied.

My uncle muttered reproachfully “Tony, don’t say that to her”

Like he had not heard at all, he continued “She’s not pretty any more. Her nose, it does not have any lines. Just a blob on her face.”

I started to cry, and my nose filled with chlorine, like I had just got out a swimming pool.

He hugged me and he cried too. Both of us, orphaned.

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