Summer Postcards

He has eyes that are the color of the Valley’s lake in late October when the mud raised by the monsoon has not yet had time to settle. He has eyes that are like melted chocolate swirling in a cream colored pan on an old four-burner kitchen stove. He has eyes which change color in the light like the leaves blowing around outside my window on a bright cold day in a New England fall.

The tips of his fingers smell like his mother’s homemade deep-fried mathris and achaar. The shallows of his palms smell of the sweaty steering wheel of his car from his long drive across the city to come collect me. His fingernails are fan-shaped, chewed down, and well thought through. His t-shirt smells of Ariel from his mother’s washing machine, and of the blue Bangalore sun.

The soles of his feet feel like sand on the beach at his college where he’s playing football as I write. His hair is tousled like clean laundry blown awry from the clothesline on a Sunday afternoon. His voice is distinctive, cutting through the clatter of the traffic, of the radio, of the rain, of the space between us, across the pillow on my black floor, across the years from fourteen to twenty-one, across Asia and Europe both.

Each blink changes the color of his t-shirt (although it always smells the same crisp clean smell). It’s yellow now, with a black stripe across the center of his chest, and he’s just fourteen. It’s white now, soft beneath my fifteen-year-old finger tips, as he poses for a photograph in Munnar. It’s moss green now, and we’re seventeen. It’s red, with a doorknob sign saying “already disturbed,” 21.

Summer postcards. Like raspberry and vanilla, stick ice cream on a hot January night, cool and welcome. Like the Bangalore monsoon, flooding the amphitheatre at the Valley, as the buses begin to make their way home. Like a glass of water at a crowded dance party, two white lilies wrapped in newspaper, and the feeling of being favored in a game of cards and spoons.

“Summer Postcards” appeared in the Spring 2009 issue of Labrys: Art & Literature and was read as part of the Green Street Café Poetry Series on April 9, 2009.

Indus Chadha believes we cannot exist or be understood without stories and spends much of her time reading, writing or listening to her five-year-old daughter, Amara, tell them. She earned a BA from Smith College with a major in the Study of Women and Gender and a minor in English Language and Literature and an MFA in Creative Writing from the School of the Arts at Columbia University.

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