The Ginger Bread Man

My throat is achy and scratchy today; it feels like a bug has found a home inside my throat, squirming every few minutes and prompting me to clear my throat and my thoughts. After a 530 am call this morning, my eyes are groggy and my mouth is dry. I am craving a cup of coffee but there was not enough time to grab one in between the two trains.

The sunlight is streaming in from the wide windows of the train. The hazy, dusty, and yellow sunlight- the kind that makes you think of golden vacation days where the day is stretched out bright and shiny ahead of you. The tall skinny trees are lined up against the train tracks neatly in a row. My mouth is parched and I gently touch the tip of my lip with my moist tongue.

I left my daughter with my mother this morning. She was awake at 6 am, still half asleep, in her baby blue pajamas, and her little white jacket with leaves splashed all over them. When I put her on my mother’s lap, she made noises that sounded like a mouthful of scolding ‘how dare you let me go’, her eyes wide open and alert. She is going to be a bossy baby one day.

The story of the “ginger bread man” walked back into our lives this weekend. Decades ago, my mother bought the ginger bread man book for my sister while shopping for books for the school year. That year we got to buy one extra book each that was not part of our curriculum, a rate treat given how tight our finances were those days. My sister chose a large hard cover lime green version of the “Ginger Bread Man” and I chose “The sleeping beauty” a small dainty book clad in pink.

Years later, standing at the book store in college, contemplating a gift for a two year old, whom I was going to meet for the first time, I was reacquainted with the Ginger Bread man again. I quickly purchased the book, wrote a small note, and packed it for my trip to Washington DC. The year was 2003, and the little girl is now 16 years old and is getting ready to go to high school.

On Sunday, my daughter received a copy of the “The ginger bread man” – the same one that I had gifted to the little girl who is now in high school. Under my 2003 note, there is a fresh set of note that says “To Avni baby, I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did”- the dates are now 2016. My daughter swiped her tiny palms on the writing, and the black ink smudged across the page, as if on cue recognizing the importance of this moment, she was determined to leave her tiny marks on the page. Who knows where the book will go next.




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