My husband has decided to be obsessed with Indian food these days so chicken tikka masala simmers on my stove while I dream of spiced winds, tearing off pieces of naan and dipping it to sneak a taste. Every time we are at the grocery store, the beautiful Indo-Canadian ladies in their bright saris gently laugh at my Joe when he tells them with stars in his eyes that they are “so pwetty” and at Anne who breathlessly asks if they are princesses.
Joe is playing trucks at my feet, roaring contentedly. The sun is setting outside and our big living room window is wide open. Anne is perched on the window bench, staring out.
I make a move to close the curtains in the dim and Anne pipes up, “Don’t close them, Mum. Look at the sunset.”
It’s our rainy, cloudy season and we’re unused to seeing the sun. That very morning, when the sunlight streamed in the windows, my poor little BC boy jumped up and ran over to the patch of sun to exclaim “Mumma! Look! Flashlights! Flashlights!” January and February are clearly long, dreary months when the little laddie can’t recognise sunlight anymore.
I look out the window and the sky is ablaze. The clouds are reflecting the colours of the saris – turquoise, magenta, blood orange trimmed with gold. The sun is setting behind the pines and skeletal trees that stand around our little neighbourhood, far above the roof lines.
When we first moved home and I saw the sun set behind the pine trees, etching them like black lace relief against the northern sky, I cried for being home at last, for how my soul needed that very beauty.
“God made that,” she whispers.
“Yes, He did,” I say.
“So, Mum, you can’t close the blinds. When someone makes something for you, the right thing to do is to look at it. You can’t just act like you didn’t get the gift. Otherwise, they don’t know that you see it. You say thanks but you also need to look at it. And God made it for us so we need to look at it and see it.”
Small girl, thank you for giving me the eyes to see the gifts.
I sink down into the glider rocking chair, just behind her and say nothing. Joe comes over to sit in my lap and we all stare out the window, looking just above the dark bones of the trees at the sun setting, gliding silent in the now-dark room that smells like spices.
It feels like a sudden lavish gift, poured out like expensive perfume on my soul, like water on parched earth. They are quiet and I am quiet and then it is gone, leaving only an indigo glow.