Six years ago…
I’ve just woken up and am late for my college. Mom didn’t wake me up today. But I don’t yell because we’ll get into a fight and I don’t have time to prove that I am right. So I brush my teeth and come to the kitchen to make some tea for myself. I need tea, when the first sip of the steaming, hot tea touches your soul. . .
I take my cup and go to my room and take a quick shower and then drink my tea. I’m all ready and set to go, when I come out of my room and see that mom’s door is just closed yet. Is she still sleeping? Worse, is she sick? I’ve been so busy with myself since I got up, I didn’t even go to see her. I’m such a terrible daughter.
I open the door of her room when I hear hushed whispers from the balcony. I go near the balcony and I hear the words ‘I love you’ and it feels as though the joy in my life has just returned. I’m so overjoyed, I go with my mom for two minutes, just so see her, and she’s startled. She says she’d call later and hangs up. I look at her with a smile and ask her who she was talking to, and she says Sunita aunty and I’m confused.
“Why’d you say I love you to Sunita aunty?” I innocently ask, and that’s when it hitys me. My mother is having an affair. I go numb for a minute, mom says something but my mind doesn’t register it. I’ve just realized. I feel my head get heavier and I feel the blood circulating in my body. My mom and dad weren’t on the best of terms, but I’d made my peace with that, but this new information, what should I do with it? I feel like I’d explode, the temperature of my body rises and I silently say, “You weren’t talking to dad.”
“You’re having an affair. How could you? I know dad isn’t the best man in the world, but he doesn’t deserve this. Why, mom? Tell me.” I am crying as these words leave my mouth. You never think of your mother in this way, she’s the perfect lady for you. Your parents are the ideal couple for you, and that image just shatters off, leaving nothing but a void.
I don’t know for how long it’s been going on, if dad knew about it, if the reason why dad was the way he was because of this. “I’ve never been happy in my entire life. When I got married, I was very naïve and life catched pace up since then, I had you, I had Mish. But now, both of you are growing up, and that’s when I realized how lonely I was. I’ve never been hap[py with your Dad, Alisha. I’m happy with my life now. This man, he understands me. He talks to me and makes me feel loved. You tell me; don’t I deserve to be happy?”
What do you say when your mother asks for her happiness from you? You can’t say no, you can’t say yes. You’re stuck. I’m stuck. It feels like I’m going to throw up. “Does- does dad know?” I mumble, to which she moves her head from left to right three times, saying a no.
I’m stuck here, I have to lie to my dad for mom’s sake, when what mom’s been doing makes me purely nauseous. I know the man; I hadn’t expected this from him. Oh, forget him; I hadn’t expected this from my mother. I’m stuck and I can’t do anything.
Since then, mom and I weren’t on good terms ever. I got a job a few months later and moved out with Mish. I couldn’t leave her in the mess, alone. Dad had found out and our home was a battlefield. Mish couldn’t have stayed there. She’s mine, my headache, my responsibility, my little sister. With time, I told her, but I shouldn’t have. She hates my parents, I don’t exactly hate them, but I’m not on excellent terms either.
Sam presses my hand hard enough to let me know he’s there through everything, too hard because the ring he has given to me hurts my hand a little. I haven’t spoken to my mother in five years, now she calls me for my birthday. Amazing.
“I’ll pick up, Di. Don’t worry.” Mish initiates and I let her. I’d melt if I hear her voice again, and I can’t afford that. Sam hugs me and Misha goes to the balcony to talk, but doesn’t come out for solid five minutes, when I finally tell Sam that I have to get to Mish. He lets me, he’s very supportive and I love him. I go to the balcony and Mish and Jenny are already there. I love how Misha and Jenny are friends because of me.
“What’s up, guys?” I ask, and Misha says mom’s been crying for an hour and wants to see me, and puts the phone on loudspeaker. I hear her voice after ages, it almost soothes my ears, but she’s crying. I hang up the phone and tell Mish that we’re going to Mom’s place. I need to see her; it’s been too long I have been without a mother—without a family. I need to tell her I forgive her.
I take out my Activa and Mish sits behind me, and we start driving off. We are both crying. It’s late night, and the breezes have turned cold. We reach and intersection but the signals have gone off now, it’s just an orange light blinking I see from a distance so I speed up, and as I am about to get away, a truck hits us.
* * *
They say when you die, you have 7 minutes of brain activity left. Your entire life flashes in front of your eyes. My flash is almost over. I’m on the hospital bed, clenching the sheets with my hand. I didn’t reach my mother, I want to make things okay with her and dad. Sam, I didn’t tell him I love him for the last time and. . .
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