Sunday, August 06, 2006

Rain and Loss

We woke up this morning to a thunderstorm. Back in Austin, we haven't had a good thunderstorm - or a bad one, for that matter - since spring, so this was Big News. My sister and BIL and their cutie cutie baby had slept outside on the deck. I brewed some coffee and went out to join them around 6:30, and Jesse soon followed. The lightening was huge and close, and the thunder truly rolled. Finally, the rain chased us indoors, to the well-air-conditioned beach house.
Just a little mise-en-scene for you.

Jesse is making my favorite breakfast today, and everyone but my children and my SIL are awake. We'll need to make a plan for a rainy day at the beach - which, with children, can't always be "lie around reading."

On the way down here, we passed a McDonalds that seemed familiar. As I looked at it, I realized that I'd stopped there in high school one time with my friend Bulu (her nickname) and her family. They are originally from Bengal, and are the reason for my love of all things Indian. They were pretty much my other family throughout high school, and I even rode to college that first time with them. For one summer, we were "roommates," which meant I said she was in the shower whenever her parents called, and then called her at her boyfriend's house to tell her to call them back. Oh, the shenanigans you could get into before Caller ID!

I loved going to Pujas with Bulu and her family, her younger sister and baby brother. T was much younger - I think he was 4 or so when Bulu and I met in 9th grade. Last year, we all came to Houston for Bulu's wedding to a really lovely man, and I was reunited with her family and the pre-wedding party and then the wedding itself.

I think of my memory as a kind of very small filing cabinet. I tend to toss out dated material pretty quickly, in order to make room for phone numbers, statements others have made which I might need to call up to prove a point later, and the provenance of each item of clothing my children own. So my childhood, high school, and college years are pretty vague to me.

Bulu's family, however, had created a kind of legend around me. The recounted events about which I had no recollection at all. One of these was the time I "saved" T., the baby brother, from the broken glass. I think he'd run right through a window in a rambunctious moment, and then stood wailing in the broken glass. We were all indoors, and therefore barefoot, and Bulu and her mom were paralyzed for a minute. As they tell it, I ran, bare feet and all, through the glass, picked him up, and carried him out. Not really that heroic, but it sure sounded epic as they retold it to countless friends and family last September.

T. was at the wedding, of course, a college student complete with girlfriend, a hotel room with bottles of champagne which he was quick to share with us, and a sweet and funny personality. He was so excited for his sister, and so beloved by his parents, his sisters, and everyone at the wedding.

If this sounds like a eulogy, it is. Soon after the wedding, Bulu called me to tell me he had been diagnosed with an intestinal cancer which afflicted young men in particular. A few days ago, she called again, to tell me that he'd lost his fight.

I'll look for that McDonalds on the way home tomorrow, and think again of the little boy with the dark hair and mischievous eyes.


Lisa said...

Oh, what a sad and beautiful story. I mean, you told it beautifully, and what a terrible loss for his family. I'm so glad you got to become re-acquainted with him at the wedding. Thanks for sharing this lovely remembrance.

julia said...

Oh, Sinda, that is so sad. And Lisa is right, you told the story beautifully.

Krispy said...

Sinda, I had no idea. I'm so sorry to hear it. And I echo the above comments - it was a very touching story you shared. I hope Bulu gets a chance to read it too when she can.