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40 days we have been apart and you are back – back to water dying of stagnancy, plants dying because they have not been watered, a dining table polka dotted for millimetres thick dust and a few mugs and plates that appear to be stationary since the beginning of time, water bottles you should not be drinking from, and a kitchen counter full of packaged food wrappers. You are back to a daughter who didn’t bother calling you before you took off even while knowing you fear flight, and to a husband who hasn’t kept his phone aside ever since you have arrived. My father and I have never stored water in pots, we have never tried to give life to green, we don’t eat on a dining table, we never drank from water bottles, we have always been fixing our own food, I don’t call anyone, and he has never been able to keep his phone off.

It is the way it has always been, the house just lacks parts of you in reminiscence that has a pungent stink, because dear Ma,

the three of us have never been family, and so we never learnt to make a home for anyone but our own selves.

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