As I sat at her feet, I laid my head in her lap and closed my eyes. I would’ve sat on the chair but the last time I tried to lean my head on her shoulder she bowled over like a pin.
She gently stroked my hair while we listened to the drone of the television.
“Don’t you have anyone?” she asked me.
The concern in her voice made me smile. I knew it was coming. As it does every time I visit.
“Why? Do I look unhappy? You do know money can buy happiness now.”
She burst out laughing.
I raised my head and looked at her face.
Maybe I should just humour her.
“Well, what kind of man would you like for me?”
She paused, thinking.
In my head, I could guess her answer. Indian.
“Should he be tall and handsome too?” I asked wryly, fighting the urge to roll my eyes at her.
“Not too tall”, she said thoughtfully. “Tall enough. Not 6 feet because that’s too tall for you. Maybe 5’9″ or 5’10” is nice.”
She continued on and I zoned out.
I reached out to play with the skin sagging from her arms. Her body showed signs of aging but her heart did not. Her eyes still sparkled with zest while describing the perfect man for me.
I found myself envying her. How can you look so beautiful at 86? How can you be so lively after 13 child births, a blind husband and the Japanese occupation?
“Doctor, lawyer, engineer, accountant, businessman…” She went on.
I noticed her perfect man was a man who could provide financially for me. I found myself judging her generation. Is money all they care about? Money and status.
Then it dawned on me. She’d been through 13 childbirths, a blind husband and the Japanese occupation. Financial provision was a priority for a reason. I’m living in a different time. At a different place. With no financial needs unmet.
“Pati, which would you rather have, a rich man or a man who loves you?”
Without missing a heartbeat she answered, “A man who loves you.”
I didn’t hear what the rest of my perfect husband was like, but I knew enough. That it was true.
Even a woman who had been through poverty and physical lack will tell you, money isn’t what makes it work.
On a related note: I wonder what my grandmother would think if she knew the kinda man I like.
On a side note: I found the cutest letter
Thinking of: Ah! Yeah! Fear and Ram Goat, Brooke Davis, laser tag, Javier Colon feat. Natasha Bedingfield’s As Long As We Got Love, Christina Perri’s Distance and updating my iPhone on my own and to heck with the game scores.