If I close my eyes, I can go back in a heartbeat to the flower-patterned sofa in my grandmother’s living room, where I was curled up with my face pressed close to the slightly rough fabric. It was a Saturday morning, but not a typical one. I was 14 years old, deep in the throes of my first heartbreak, and I imagined that nobody in the world had ever felt the monumental pain I was feeling that day.

My boyfriend ā€” who was two whole years older than I was ā€“ had told me that he was going to high school, and I was now far too immature for his tastes. It was not only heartbreaking, but humiliating. I imagined I would never be able to love anyone again, and that life couldn’t possibly go on.

A gentle hand on my back roused me, and I turned around to look into my grandmother’s face. “Do you want vadai?” she asked.

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