The Littlest Of All

The Littlest Of All

6 mins
238


The aurora air shuddered the open glass window as it entered the hall with a swish. I was crouched on the couch clutching the family photo to my chest, tears streaming down my face. I looked down at the photo with mom, dad, Priyani, and me and there in dad’s hands was Arohi, swaddled in a soft velvet blanket. Priyani’s tear-stained face was visible from under the pillow and mom was washing dishes in the kitchen faucet.


“ Girls, let’s not just sit there”, mom came towards us. “ Let’s walk out of the house. I am sure that will make you feel fresh”, mom asked. I looked up from the photo towards mom. Her eyes were misty, her nose was red and a wide smile spread across her face but her lower lip was trembling. I knew mom was crying since last fifteen minutes. I knew mom was sad and I knew she cannot hide her sadness.


 “ I am not in the mood to roam outside or elsewhere”, I said. I tried to hold them back but they slipped out of my eyes and flowed down wetting my cheeks. Mom sat down beside me and tried to draw me towards her but I was too wound up for a hug but I still let her hug me. It always comforts me to hug her. She kissed me on my cheek, took the photo out of my hand and we both sat there looking at it. Whenever I looked at that it always reminds me of that day and her. 

 

I recalled the memory of that very bright, sultry day and the warm breeze of the summer when I was in 4th standard. That day felt very special. Mom came from the hospital. It was nearly dawn. I was watching the television on my favourite chair. Mom called my dad and my sister, Priya to join us in the living room. She switched off the telly. She must have seen my expressions at that moment because she immediately said, "It is important, dear. " Dad and Priyani came downstairs and I made myself comfortable on my chair because I knew we were all going to get a lecture but it wasn't a lecture. 


 "I am pregnant!",she jumped up. Dad too jumped up and hugged my mom and I was a bit confused but then I understood. I was going to get a new baby sister or brother, but I will prefer a sister because then I will be Cinderella and the other two will be my cruel sisters but in my case, they will be my blood sisters and not my stepsisters. And I am saying this because Priyani troubles me a lot and I am sure the baby sister will also be troublesome because sisters are always troublesome. After that day I felt very excited and waited for the baby but she was never born. Everyday I woke up and went to my mom and Dad's room but there was no baby. As the days passed mom became fatter and fatter and she had a huge lump on her stomach which grew bigger and bigger.


One day suddenly mom started having pain in her lump and she was taken to the hospital. The next morning dad drove us to the hospital and then only I first saw her. She was born with the chirping of the birds and the rising sun, plump and red as a tomato. My gaze was locked onto her beautiful face. The brown, shining eyes of her looked straight into my black ones. We both giggled. she didn’t have any teeth and so from then on, I decided to call her Notooth. Her shining, blond and curly hair, although very small was making her look even cuter. I was longing to hug her. I felt happy. I had a baby sister after Priyani called Notooth. The littlest of all.


Next morning mom along with Notooth, got discharged and came home. The holidays passed like a gust of spring air with Notooth making the house messy. Mom always seemed happy but somewhere I saw a hint of fakeness in her smiles. Dad was always busy and I never left the couch and the television. Priyani was never seen in the house. She was always playing outside with her friends.


The other morning Aunt Mia and Uncle Rao came to our home and juice was served to them. I sipped my juice, sitting in between mom and Aunt Mia.


“Dear, do you know what adoption means?”, mom took me into her lap and broke the silence.

 I remembered how Ms Hema in my school told the story of her adoption by her parents to us and she also explained what it meant. 

“ Of course, I know what adoption means, Ms Hema told us that she was adopted by her parents,'' I said, “ but mama why are you asking it now?" Mom wrapped her arms around my stomach even more tightly. She opened her mouth but words didn't come out. I felt scared and curious to know. I knew mom was sad and I knew something was wrong. I tried to get down from my mother's lap and then the wrap around my stomach loosened. I looked at my mother, her eyes were filled with tears. "What", I asked. 

" Dear, we are adopting Arohi ", Aunt Mia answered.

" We, who are 'we'? ", I asked. 

"I and your Uncle Rao", she answered. I swallowed the words. Felt like anger rising behind my eyes and it escaped in the form of tears. I knew what it meant. I was never ever going to see Arohi. Never ever. I felt cold. 


Next morning there was no one in the kitchen. Mom and dad had gone out to drop Aunt Mia, Uncle Rao and Arohi to their home. I ate my breakfast. 

 

My senses came to the present. The photo mom and I were holding were now blurred in front of my eyes. I don't know if the tears were of sadness or happiness because I felt both. Happy that Aunt Mia was now happy because she has a child, Arohi. Sad that Arohi was not with us. Every year aunt, uncle and Arohi came to our home on Arohi's birthday. 


I always wonder whether she will ever know that Arohi is my real sister, that my parents are her parents and that she has two loving families. Though I miss her I also feel happy for her and now she has grown teeth and if I ever call her notooth, she will cry like anything and also I didn't get to become Cinderella after all but then now I also don't believe in fairy tales. I really miss and love Arohi. 


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