I put on my blue fuzzy bathrobe as the LED lights on the electric clock read 5:30 a.m. East Coast time. My body thinks it’s back in California; subtract three hours and my cerebral cortex says it’s the middle of the night. I can’t sleep.
My mother is awake, preparing for the day. I stumble into the brightly lit kitchen, blinking. The dog is here. He’s a blonde Labrador retriever named T.J. His full name is Tigger Junior, if you want to be formal about it. He’s a fat-ass dog, about twenty pounds overweight. His vast dog posterior blubbers wobbily from side to side if you gently push it with your tube-sock foot, and he will loll up at you, drooling, sainting you within his canine religion.
Mom is making four sandwiches, two cheese, two turkey. “H’maam,” I say, blinking. My head is spinning.
Mom says, “Good morning, you didn’t have to get up.”
“What are you making all those sandwiches for?”
“Well, two are for me, and two are for the dog.”
“Which two are for the dog?”
“The cheese sandwiches.”
Om mane padme om, om mane padme om. I cannot comprehend, for I am washed in waves of jet lag. A bastion has been crossed, a river divided: my mother now makes sandwiches for the dog. Shantih shantih shantih.