Monday, July 13, 2020

Mom

“Mom!” I whisper softly.

“Mom…Mom. I am thirsty. Mom…wake up!” still whispering I nudge her gently.

Why isn’t she waking up? I am thirsty. I cannot reach the tap. I might drop the glass tumbler and break it. She is going to be mad if I call her any more. I have been calling her for a long time now. She must be tired. I should go back to sleep. Water can wait. I feel like crying, but that will only annoy her.

I can’t go back to sleep. I have sleeping for a really long time. I didn’t step out even once in the day. It’s dark and moist in my room and boring too. I missed mommy there, but the stars were keeping me company. It was so good just staring at them. Some of them even spoke to me. All was well until I got thirsty. So I had to step out.

“Mom …can I cuddle you and just sleep here?” I whisper near her ears.

She is in deep sleep. How can she listen? Silly me! Let me just lie down next to her. No cuddles. No touching. No annoying her like last night.

******

Last night 

I woke up in the middle of the night feeling thirsty. If only my bottle was not empty. I tiptoed across to mom’s room taking extra care not to bump myself into anything. I had opened the door slowly so it didn’t creak. Do not step on anything I had warned myself. Mom’s room is always messy. Stuff scattered all over the floor. She does not have the time or the energy to tidy up. I could help her if she asked me. But she never did. 

“Mom. I am thirsty. Please wake up mommy. I am scared to go to the kitchen” 

She had pushed my hand away. “Help yourself and go back to bed. Don’t disturb me.” 

“Mom..please…I am really thirsty. I didn’t eat any dinner. My tummy is rumbling. I can’t sleep. There is no water in my room and the kitchen tap is too high for me to reach.” I shouldn’t have cried, but I did. I should at least have closed my mouth with my hand, I forgot. Silly me!

She sat up on the bed facing me. I wanted to switch on the light and see her and kiss her and hug her tight. I don’t get to do that as often now as before. I thought she was just going to say sorry and fetch me some water. But then she came charging at me, pulled me by my unkempt hair, spanked me and then pushed me away. I fell on the floor, head on. My head hurt really badly. I screamed loud. 

I had seen Mom shout and scream in her room when she’s in pain. Yes that’s what she calls it PAIN. That’s what I felt.  

“Quiet! You bloody little monster”, she said and stuffed something in my mouth. It was dark and Mommy was not being nice at all. She kicked me on my back howling, “Why don’t you just go away? Your father left you with me and no money. What am I supposed to do? And what is this with you waking me up every other night? Water..thirsty.. water ..thirsty. I am sick of you and your thirst. I should quench it for once and all. Now get up and go back to your bed.”

I was only thirsty. I didn’t even touch any of her stuff. I know she doesn’t like it. Unlike the other time when I barged in while she was with people doing ‘important job’, this time she was alone. What was my fault? That I woke her up?

“Get up I said.” Her voice softened down. 

I couldn’t get up as much as I tried. I felt so tired. My hands and legs won’t move. The floor beneath me felt cold and wet. Her voice was fading away. 

She dragged me by my legs to the backyard, left me on the ground, went back in and made a call. “Hello…come by? Right now. It’s urgent.” She was talking to someone. Is it the doctor? Was my wound that bad? But it didn’t hurt anymore. It wasn’t that bad a fall after all. But it did make me so tired. A little later, she came back with someone else, may be the doctor. I was there on the ground in the backyard all by myself. But not scared anymore. They both began digging the soil. “How ? Daughter…” I heard or maybe I did not. It was all blurred.

And then she wrapped a blanket around to keep me warm. Carried me in her arms and put me down to sleep. I didn’t feel cold in there. It was soft and cosy. She put me to bed after a really long time. I was so happy. Good night mommy. 

Hush little baby, don’t say a word…Mommy’s gonna buy you a mocking bird. Mommy was even singing to me like old time. 

‘….So hush little baby, don’t you cry…Daddy loves you and so do I.’

Into a pit, devoid of thirst and hunger, she laid me down six-feet under.

******

Ever since mommy put me in my new room, things have changed for sure. I don’t like daylights any more. I come out when the stars twinkle and moon smiles at me. It’s as if they call me out to play in the backyard; for as long as they keep me company. I don’t feel hungry. I don’t have to pee or poop. But I don’t know why I still feel thirsty, at the middle of the night. And then, I can’t help but walk into her room. I try to wake her up as usual, but she never wakes up, so I just lie down besides her. 

On one such night, when I walked in, saw her lights were on and doors shut close. I tried peeping in through the keyhole. She was sitting with her head between her knees and sobbing. Why you crying mommy. I wanted to open the door and get in and hug her. She was talking to herself. I could not make a word out of it. Lot of it were bad words. She pulled her hair and beat herself up. She looked so sick. 

Then she wiped hear tears away and picked up a packet from the drawer, one of those brown packets that her friend gets. I had never seen what was in it. She took a small bag out from it which had something inside that looked like shiny blue crystals. I loved blue. These blue crystals were so shiny. Precious stones? Or may be just craft sequins. Was she going do a bracelet out of it or a card that said ‘I love you and sorry’? She had been mean to me lately. Or maybe just a pretty little dress for my doll? I kept thinking and smiling..but then she started crushing it.

“Mom. Stop…No…”, I opened the door and went running to her. 

She turned around to look at the door and kept on crushing the crystals. 

“Mom …aren’t you making a gift out of that for me?”  

She should have shouted and asked me to leave right away. I was not supposed to enter her room when lights were on, without permission. But she was totally ignored me. Was I not a nuisance anymore? 

I stood there watching her, as she kept on crushing, the crystals turning into powder which she neatly laid out on top of her nightstand. Next she took a piece of paper, rolled it neatly, pointed it at the powder on the table and sniffed it. Then she hung her head back, relaxed as if all her worry and pain have drained out. 

Ah a medicine! To make her better and less tired? So she could be my old mom, who loved me, played with me, fed me and put me to bed. The mom, before she made that weird friend who brought in these packets every now and then. But after all the weird friends were her doctors.  

“This is heaven….where are you my little munchkin..come give mommy a hug”, She said.

I was s o excited. Mommy was getting better, she was calling me. Mom I am right here. I ran and hugged her. But ..

*******

Now I know what could make mommy better. I wait for the sun to set down, to step out of my dark room. The house is quiet. She is sleeping. I go and kiss her. My kiss doesn’t wake her up anymore. Neither does my hug. My presence does not bother her. I run to her bed stand, get the packet from the drawer .The label read ‘C10H15N9’. Yes a medicine for all of mommy’s pain and tiredness. I start crushing it, just the way she did it. Crush…crush…crush..it’s so much fun. I crush all of it .She needs all of it. Yes! There’s a small bottle of her favourite drink on the bed stand. I pour all of the powder; made with so much hard work into the bottle, put the lid back on and wait. I look out through the window and spot a star twinkling in the sky, my play date.

Twinkle Twinkle little star…. 

From six-feet under, you not so far

Up above the world so high

Come glide with me in dark night sky

 

Later that night 

“Mom!” I whisper softly.

“Mom…Mom. How are you? You know I am not thirsty anymore.” Still whispering I nudge her gently.

She is resting. I pick up the bottle that had her medicine, it’s empty. Good girl, she had all her medicine. Next time she wakes up, she will be my old mommy again. She won’t lock herself in her room all the time like she does now. We would talk of old times, of Daddy and fairy tales. 

I can’t go back to sleep. May be I will just sleep besides her and watch her rest in peace.

“Mom …can I cuddle you and just sleep here?”   

“Yes baby. Sure you can.” She turned around to face me. Her beautiful radiant face shining even in darkness, skin crystal clear, red patch marks gone. She looks pretty and healthy as before. Her voice soft as music, her touch soothing as feather. She extends her arms out and I fill them in.

“Mommy, I am so happy you got better. Can you please sing me to sleep?”

 Hush little baby …don’t say a word…Mommy’s gonna buy you a mocking bird…

…So hush little baby….don’t you cry …Daddy loves you and so do I…

***

Photo By: Caleb Woods

***

This is an entry from team Heads & Tales of ArttrA-3 – A Game of  Writers, co-sponsored by Diners Club International.

Check out the event guidelines here: https://writers.artoonsinn.com/arttra-3-guide-artoonsinn/

Follow Room8 for more updates of the event: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WritersAndReadersRoom/ 

Itali Madhusmita
Itali Madhusmita
Itali Madhusmita is a software professional based out of Toronto . A mother to two young kids, she tries to squeeze in time to express herself, mostly in form of short poems . She is trying to experiment with the prose/short story format. Fail she might , but try she must .
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