“Again?” I searched his face for an answer. Found none.
Smashing the door, I picked our boy up in my arms and marched out of 5 years of childless and 3 years of loveless, withering marriage.
“Things change after a baby.” friends would tell me.
Instead, my “man” turned out to be a pig, jerking off with another woman. All this while.
“What the hell are you staring at?! Wouldn’t even let a woman cry in peace,” I yelled at the cab driver.
I looked at my son and wondered if he’d turn out the same way too. He was busy looking for something. As I looked away, he held his hand up, “Mama!” lending me his handkerchief.
“No, he can’t be like them,” I assured myself.
* * *
“Daddy, look at those bangles!” I screamed while gluing my nose onto the glass of a display window.
“You want them?” asked my father.
“Yes!” I replied, jubilant.
“You’re too young for these. But I promise I will give you these one day.”
“Pinky promise!” he smiled and we went home happily.
That was the day of my mom’s funeral. A 5-year-old doesn’t understand what death means.
* * *
“I got these for your new mom,” told my dad opening a velvety blue box of jewelry.
“These bangles are so pretty! Can I wrap them for her?” His gentle smile meant yes.
* * *
“Just look at how you’ve spilled all your brother’s milk. Careless girl!” and there was another slap which choked my remaining sobs. My dad watched, standing in the hallway. Just watched.
Later, this became a routine.
* * *
At 15, I eloped with my best friend and we got married soon after.
“All men are alike!” Regretting that unfortunate day, I shrugged as the cab reached the railway station.
* * *
My boy is 15 now. And I’m a failure being a mother. I thought, I would be better.
“Mom! There’s a package for you!”
“Coming!” I replied from the kitchen wondering who would send me a package.
“A letter from my step-mother? Wow!”
“Oh, he took so long to die!”
“How come she found me?”
Curious, I opened the box only to find old stuff covered with heaps of dust.
“A box of nothings….really?” Heartlessly, I rummaged.
I have been a bad father.
Couldn’t save you, couldn’t keep you.
But, I kept my promise.
Open your box of paints, my princess.
A box grumpily lied in a corner. I dusted it and as I opened the box, tears twinkled out of my eyes.
“All this while…all these years…these bangles, these hoops of love have been here…and I kept only hatred in my heart?”