Circa – Devi S. Laskar
YOU LIVE IN YOUR STAR-SPANGLED DESIRES LIKE A DREAM. You want to wear blue jeans the color of the moonlit sky at midnight. To pirouette in red suede shoes, warm in a white sweater you once saw on a mannequin at the expensive mall, your wavy hair out of its fish-scale braids, down past your waist again, kept in place by a silver-tinted barrette the shape of a butterfly. You want to appear to be a quintessential American girl. Just like Katrina, the only freshman voted on the homecoming court two years ago—except with a perfect, sun-kissed complexion. In your daydream, your parents’ refrain is never “No, Heera. No!” when you ask for a high school yearbook or a transistor radio. In your dream, you and your parents do not shout at each other over whether the printed batik salwar kameez the colors of parrot feathers is suitable school attire. You do not fling across the room the handmade leather sandals that are better matched for the arid climate of Kolkata, not high school in the verdant suburbs of Raleigh, galleries of pine trees at every turn. In the dream, you wear mascara, talk for hours on a telephone in your room to your best friend Marie, and kiss Marie’s older brother Marco on Saturday nights when he picks you up for a date in his father’s vintage Chevy. In the dream, you are American: not Heera Sanyal with a multitude of prefixes and hyphens and expectations in the shape and weight of a shifting subcontinent thousands of miles away.