Her daughter touched the vaccination mark on her left arm, and said, “I don’t want my mark to grow this big.”
“It won’t,” she said and placed her chin lightly on her small shoulders as she sat in her lap, her hand around her. She looked at her arms and tried to remember the days when they were thin. The vaccination mark had been like a mosquito bite. Her gaze fell on her hands, the fingertips black with chopping ridge gourd for lunch. She needed a manicure. When was the last time she got one?
Her daughter shifted under the weight of her chin. She lifted her head and rested it against the headboard of the bed. Her daughter would fall asleep against her, she knew. She would then have to put her gently to bed, coo hushed sounds to her in case she stirred. Then she herself would lie sleepless, until the maid came at five. Afterwards she would get busy with dinner. Then he would come, they’d have dinner, father and daughter would watch T.V., daughter would be put to sleep and they would retire for the night. Things were alright, perfect, almost, she told herself.
Her daughter smiled in her sleep. She had his smile, but her face, her face of ten years ago. She had been so much prettier. Bright eyes, translucent skin and sonorous laughter. What happened in these ten years? The years played like a motion picture in her head, the days merging, months piling symmetrically on top of each other, standing witness to the fact of her life. She tried to think of five things that stood out, but could come up with three, including her daughter’s birth.
The watch on the bed side table read four-thirty. She turned away from her daughter, and tried to get some sleep.