Deranged misgivings of the past…
Sitting at my desk, I try hard to make sense of the incoherence in my notes. I am a columnist, not a novelist. One of these days, I need to get rid of this writer’s block and dive back into the hurricane (as my many supportive friends have named my profession.)Still sore from all the thinking, I stretch my imagination some more .I remember pining for recognition and accolades of the highest order. Maybe, a Pulitzer would suffice. I chuckle at my own over ambitious thoughts and look out the window to catch a glimpse of the the hustle and bustle in the streets. Everyone in this town means business, chasing their dreams no matter, how far-fetched they are. But mine is simple… has always been the same…. for years…
I want to go back home.
The silence is broken by Beethoven’s masterpiece ( it is my phone ringing, always bore a flair for the extraordinarily overdramatic). The caller ID showed that it is none other than my mother. I pick it up, half hoping that mom doesn’t know about the writer’s block because she has always been an overtly instinctive woman who picks up on my desperation from the way I sigh or the innuendos that I sneak into the conversation. It is always difficult to hide my true feelings from her but I try and try hoping to get better at it.As usual she is her happy self and excitedly asks me about my plans for this weekend. I pretend to check my calendar and nonchalantly tell “nothing”. There…I did it again, I gave her food for thought. I bang my head and patiently wait for what is to come. She bellows at me about going into my shell and how toxic it is to keep things to myself. In a matter of seconds, she has planned a cozy picnic in her countryside home with the talent of the domestic goddess that she is. I have learned over the years, to listen and agree because she always has the last word and always leaves me impressed in the end. I contemplate a good old pep talk so, I say yes though if anyone would have asked me what I really wanted…I would have replied in a heartbeat – to run away…to escape into the unknown, to somewhere I belong…
Anyways, that would be in another time and day.
The weekend came faster than I had imagined and I found myself parking in her driveway. Something churned inside me as I saw her walking, no let me correct myself, running towards me with a welcoming glance and a graceful bounce in every step. She was by far, the most optimistic and caring person I could come across in this lifetime and I adore her for that.
She helps me out and takes me into her arms ( the only person who I actually give the opportunity to shower affection.) I return the favour with a slightly awkward and complacent tap on her shoulder which gets her laughing her head off. She has always marveled at my lack of empathy and human emotion and seriously doubted whether I would ever just take a break from my stone cold robotic self and be human. I looked at her blankly and decided to break in the conversation with a honest question, “Why do you always drag me to your place to laugh in my face..why torture your only daughter with such kindness..why …oh why …are you so nice to me? You know how much I abhor affection.” With her giggle unaffected by my rush of negativity she takes me to her backyard and helps me in a comfortable spot.
She looks at me intently and shoots the question: “How are you really doing?” I reply immediately with the wave of my hand- “Me… fit as a fiddle, Boom boom pow”…and snicker at the end. She holds my hand with a knowing glance. I always knew that my sarcasm and dark humor could shield me from the world but not from this woman, she knew me like the back of her hand and took pride in it. I let my guard down and frankly accept that “it has been hard”. My self-righteousness gets the better of me and I pull away reminding her that she can’t do anything about it.
She pulls closer and barely whispers in my ears “I will always have your back, and you can be high and mighty about it or hide away all the truth behind those eyes but I will always catch your fears and cast them way, you may not ask for my help and pretend to have no problems but I will always stand by you.”
Overwhelmed with emotion I silently nod my head and look down with misty eyes. She quickly pushes a plate of freshly baked cookies right under my nose and gets me smiling in an instant. Losing my grip, I rest my head on her steady shoulders and speak up about the undercurrent struggles. The upheaval of emotions has me tossing and turning in the the dead of the night with elusive glances at the sheets.I talk about how my hands helplessly search for a reason and in overbearing moments, clenched into a fist, punch the air in vain. She looks at the darkness that has engulfed me and wishes she had never asked.
I am pushed back to the fateful night when…. everything had fallen apart like a house of cards. It was raining cats and dogs and I badly needed to get home. My heels were killing me and I ran towards the empty taxi like a woman on a mission and managed to catch it before the stranger who tried to match my stride. That’s when it all fell apart and I heard gunshots in the store by the corner.I spotted the girl huddled in the corner and I couldn’t look away. I couldn’t be a prude and decided to be a hero, it was a robbery in progress. All I cared about was that child’s safety and I gregariously climbed out of the taxi ignoring the driver’s pleas to stay put. How could he be so heartless and leave the child fending for herself, the good Samaritan in me couldn’t. I stealthily entered the store from the back entrance and reached her safe spot, wishing that she wouldn’t scream at the sight of me.She looked at me , begging me silently to help her and I nodded in understanding. Through gestures I told her to move slowly towards me. She agreed and shuffled her feet, I urged her on. The sharpshooter in that moment came running back to us and noticed me with outstretched hands. His face contorted and he advanced forward, grabbing the child, planted a kiss on her forehead and said : ” Baby , I got you candy, let’s go home”
Those were the last words I heard before the shot was fired. I was rendered into a limp form and later after waking up in the hospital, the doctor informed me about the heavy blood loss and how my leg had got infected so it had to be amputated. I shrieked and cried for a long time. Mom had ominously stayed on and never uttered a word about the loss but spoke about how she was glad I was alive. I stopped feeling, I never let the pain and resentment out because I knew, it would never stop. I turned into a numb and detached version of myself. The doctor spoke about speedy recovery with prosthetics and physiotherapy sessions at home. Never wanting to return to the place that harbored remnants of my vivacious past, I relocated and didn’t look back.
My mother plays with a stray strand of my hair, waking me up from my regret over the nightmarish memory of the incident and helps me back into my wheelchair- the perpetual handicap of my existence. She senses my vulnerability and tells me- “One day… You will walk again, make patterns with your footprints and stand tall…perfect with all your imperfections”
For now, let’s get you safe and sound…
I rub my eyes and mark the page of the bestseller- ONE DAY , for reading later.I look at the clock on the wall and shockingly discover that I am late for a meeting with my mother. Oh boy, this is going to tick her off…I wish I had lightning speed and slam the door as I run out of my home in a nervous frenzy, happy enough that I have both of my legs that will take me to her….FAST enough!!!!