The rain had stopped and Sakhi Waghmare was kneeling in the kitchen garden with her mother picking doodhi while Elsa, their ten-year-old German Shepherd mix, romped around on her three legs. In four days, Ashraf Khan would be taking Elsa with him to Pune where it was safe.
We hauled the half-burnt mattress out of my mom’s torched apartment and onto Houston Street, into the aftermath of the worst snowstorm Washington County had seen in twelve years. It hit all of Pennsylvania and stretched into New York, making the long bus ride from the city even more miserable and the usually short trip from Pittsburgh to Washington last well over an hour. Even the viewing—in which my mother’s twice-baked ashes were displayed in a glossy burgundy urn beside a picture I hated, a picture of her too thin—dragged on and on because the heater in the little Baptist church broke halfway through the service.