Memories Of A Mother
Memories Of A Mother9 mins 254 9 mins 254
She became a mother at 23. She was 23 when she held those little fingers of his and kissed them, tears of joy drowning her eyes, rolling down her cheeks and falling on her baby. She remembered feeling happy, scared, confused and proud, but above all, happy. She remembered her husband smiling, the happiest she had seen him till then; the love of her life whom she married around a year ago, with whom she had run away to make those dreams they dreamt a reality. She had to do a lot of things she felt sorry about, hurt a lot of people close to her, sever the bonds of blood and vanish from their lives. She too felt the happiest that day since the start of her new life. They hugged, not knowing what the future held for them, knowing they would be together no matter what, with their bundle of joy in between, her fingers intertwined with her new love.
He didn't cry on his first day at school. Not even the next day, or the next or ever. He seemed perfectly fine to spend a few hours away from home in a new place, to her surprise. Her mornings were spent getting him ready for school, though he wasn't a fussy child at all. She would wake him up, with him rising only after the third time, take him to the bathroom and put his little brush in his mouth and tell him to quicken up, then go and make breakfast and get his clothes ready, all the while with him dwindling with his toothbrush and squirting water all over. He never completed his breakfast nor his glass of milk much to her annoyance. There would always be something left over. Dressing him up was the biggest challenge of them all as he never stood still making her do the buttons wrong and having to do them all over again. He would run all over the house with her behind, shouting, both enjoying this morning exercise. He knew that his mother wasn't mad at him and was simply pretending to be, and she adored running after him with his tie and shoes. When he was finally ready, the bus driver would already be honking for the fifth time and they would rush out with his bag on her shoulders. When he was finally in, he would wave goodbye and that would make her day. She loved this morning routine, it kept her glowing till she would see him again in the evening. With every year that passed by, her mornings would get less hectic as he would grow up right in front of her eyes. As he would float farther and farther away from her.
He was quite good at school, his grades were great and he had a lot of friends. She worried like every other mother when he was young, whether he would do well in studies, will he make friends, will he be the bullied kid in school and whether he would grow up to be a normal kid. Those worries no longer bothered her. She remembered that day when he came home quite late when he went somewhere after tuitions and didn't turn up for a long time. He had them all worried, and she burst on him once he came home, and he reacted too and soon it became a huge quarrel. She cried that day, she was deeply hurt by the incident. She thought maybe she was a bit hard on him, after all, he wasn't her little child anymore, he was a 16-year-old teenager who was relishing his newfound freedom. The signs were there for some time now, the outbursts, the sudden loss of temper, the rebellious nature. Adolescence was kicking in and she knew there would be many more episodes of such juvenescent outbursts. Yet, she was hurt by the change she saw in her boy, the dreamy-eyed baby who used to once stare at her with all the innocence in the world. He was sad too, that day. He did come and apologize later much to her relief but understood that she would never have that child back whom she knew so well. The dreamy-eyed baby was lost forever.
They rarely saw each other. They did talk occasionally over the phone. His college was quite far from home. Far enough for him to come back home when there were extended holidays. They were farther away than ever. She knew it would've been something like this when he decided on a college, there was an urge to voice her discontent which she suppressed as it would've only made him gate her more. Whenever he was home, he was lost in his own world and didn't speak much to anyone. They no longer even had those conversations they used to when he was in school, where he would go on about all the weird things his classmates did and the funny stuff his teachers said during class with her listening like a curious five-year-old. They would never talk like that again, an inquisitive child blabbering to his mother who listened to everything. It's not like they never talked anymore, they did, as they should, but tainted and strained, just like their relationship.
He has a job now. It was farther than his college. He shared a room near his office with colleagues. He came homeless, mostly only for festivals and other functions he couldn't avoid. He made money, enough to take care of his needs, not as much as to send a considerable amount home. She was happy for him despite everything. He was all grown up now, ready to stand on his own legs, ready to conquer the world. It was a proud moment for her to see her son all grown up and independent. She felt old, maybe more in her mind than her body, even as white strands stood visible among her thick black hair. Her husband needed to dye every three months to camaflouge the years he had lived, loved and survived. They both still worked, not because they didn't have enough but to feel a little less alone, to have someone other than themselves to talk to. Life was normal, it flowed like a calm river; no swirling, no gushing, a steady current taking them along its path.
She had a splitting headache that day. She felt weak, weaker than ever. It had been like that for the last couple of weeks, ever since her husband left her, left her to become a star in the sky, forever. Cardiac Arrest. He should've survived it, but he didn't. His quietus came unexpected and it hit her hard, harder than what she could take. The river became rough all of a sudden. The current felt too strong, too much to swim against which culminated in a waterfall. Had she come to terms with the loss of her beloved? She didn't know. Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe she never will. Her grand-daughter was running around the house since morning looking for her doll. She was a beautiful girl. It reminded her of him when he was young. Innocent. Charming. He has settled abroad. He had a family now. He had come to the funeral. Was he over the loss? Could he? She didn't know. She knew he would go back soon, to his home, to his World. This place was just a place of the past for him. He asked her to come along with them, abroad, to their world. He feared for her, she knew. He loved her, she knew. He also had others to love, she knew. She told him she needed time. Yet, she realized no matter how much time drifted, she couldn't arrive at a decision wholeheartedly.
It's been almost two months now. She knew her way around the house. She was alone there in the mornings, once both of them left for work dropping their daughter off at school. She was in first grade, her granddaughter. The mornings were spent getting her ready for school, feeding her, dressing her up and grooming her. It was in a way, a time of reminiscence for her as it took her back to the days when her son was this age when she was a mother who had a child to look after. Days when life had more meaning to be lived, people to be loved and be loved. Those memories are what ushered her along, gave a women of her age to want to see another dawn.
She would wait for her grand-daughter to come back at noon and spend the rest of the day with her. They played, talked, sang, read, watched TV and exchanged each other's worlds. She learned to love again and be loved again. She became a mother again.
She lay there motionless in her bed, with only her heart beating and her eyes nictitating. Her insides ached and the less she moved, the less pain she experienced. Her health had been deteriorating ever since she came back home. She couldn't remember the countless times her son asked her to return. She couldn't. She wouldn't. She missed home, she longed to remain in the house where she had lived the majority of her life. There was a sea of emotions that attached her to that place. She wanted to live there of whatever left she had of her life.
There were a lot of people around her. People she knew, people she couldn't recognize. A few were talking loudly, few muttering, few whispering, she couldn't make out what any of them said. She couldn't concentrate on anything, she felt her mind floating around. The aching seemed to ease or maybe she couldn't feel it anymore. She felt her energy oozing out, like life being sucked out of her. Someone came near her and bent to speak, "Don't worry. Your son is on his way. He'll be here soon." The person went on to say some more things but she lost it. Well, her son was coming. It's been a while since she had seen his face. She hoped her grand-daughter was coming too, she couldn't wait to see how big she had become. She tried to picture her beautiful face. Her eyes felt heavy and she found it difficult to keep them open. She felt her body dissolving into the atmosphere. The pain was no longer there. She felt at ease. Was she dying? Is this it? She could no longer feel herself, the numbness had engulfed her. She was nothing more than a soul filled with memories now, and she drowned in one of them; when she became a mother. When she held her son in her arms for the first time and looked at those eyes of his, she knew he loved her. She knew she would love him more than anything she ever did. She felt alive. She was born again.