An Excerpt from Licking Flames

Photo by Diana Kirk


Do people really make money from their Etsy shops? Or is it a hobby like knitting they’ve turned into a job description?

“Oh, I can’t work at the auction, I’ve got my Etsy shop to take care of.”

Like really, do Etsy shops make go-to-Europe money? I’d like to go to Paris this summer with my husband. I want to walk at midnight, make out near a fountain, and have sex in an alley somewhere, dark from foggy streetlights.

“Ryder, remember, we only go up the stairs and down the slide,” says Laurie, using her rules on MY son.

I stop daydreaming of raunchy sex in Paris and sit up, take notice. Do my bit to show I’m paying attention. I care. Up the ladder, now down the slide. Right, this is what the good Mamas do. I watch my son as he looks over at our clutch, not really hearing all of Laurie’s words. I shake my head, subtly, but enough for him. He knows now, today, this moment, there are rules. He’s learning socialization. I’m learning socialization. We’re learning to conform.

But I kinda wanna yell that I don’t want to make sandwiches that need wrappers. I don’t like sandwiches. I like Indian food with a cold Pepsi. Chicken tikka with a side of pakoras. Like I used to eat on the sides of the dirt roads in Bengal and Rajasthan, on a motorcycle, before the mindless days in this park with tofu pâté and homemade sandwich wrappers.

Is there a Mama in India right now, sitting in a park with chapatis and dhal listening to chatter about homemade pesto? Is she staring up at a jacaranda tree now, wondering if it’s native to the Himalayan Basin region?

Does she wonder if this is it? If she’s made the wrong choice, signed up for the wrong club? Is she looking for me in amongst all those yellow saris? Because I’d like to find her one day. Maybe we’ll laugh together when we feed our kids idlis with peanut butter and jelly while they run up the slides and down the ladder.


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