The wind has dropped. On Ruchira's window sill the shadows lie stunned, as though they've been shot. She wonders if Biren and Arlene did drugs together. It wouldn't have been a needle, he was too fastidious for that. Maybe pills. Ecstasy? Dexedrine? It annoys her suddenly that she doesn't know enough about these things. Clothes: master bedroom. Medicines: bathroom cabinet. Paints: studio. Because Biren wants her to have a studio in their new condo, on the airy top floor with its view of Coit Tower, next to the balcony where they're planning to sit in the evenings and drink jasmine tea and talk. (But what will they talk about?) Until one day in February the wind will be like cherry blosssoms, and she'll take down the painting she hung in the foyer and go into the studio and add in a bird with a boy-face and spiky gold hair, with Biren's square chin and an unsuspected dimple. And if Biren asks about him ? This is what Ruchira wants from the kalpa taru: that when Biren asks, she'll know how to ask him back.
Copyright 2001 by Chitra Banjeree Divakaruni. This section first appeared in the publication Prairie Schooner in Spring 2001.
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