Thursday, May 3, 2012

The mother

One dark, windy afternoon when she walked silently by the river, barefooted and alone, letting the breeze play little games with her hair, her eyes fell on a procession of ants. Listlessly she began following them and at length found them busily hovering around what looked like a red blob, she bent over to take a closer look. It was strawberry jam. Eatables from her house would be gone mysteriously. Especially the jam. Who kept taking the jam out? It was baffling!

She hated therapy. They kept telling her there was no one behind her but she couldn't stop looking over her shoulders every two minutes. She swore she saw shadows flitting past from the corners of her eyes, there were shadows trying to get out of her sight all the time. One day when she was alone at home she had suddenly felt a slight tug at her dress. Tiny goosebumps broke out all over her skin and she felt feverish. She broke down into hysterical sobs, crying like a child she collapsed onto the ground and pushed herself against the cabinets clutching the meat knife to her heart. It was the third time this week. Hours later she went to his room, to check.

She did not like silence or silent places. She was afraid she would hear something.

He was naughty, always hiding behind the grey, thick curtains.

She hated doors left ajar. Those dark, empty gaps were always full of possibilities, possibilities she wasn't sure she wanted to look at. She had near screamed at Vikki that afternoon when she had come all the way from Denver to see her at the clinic and had left the door slightly open while leaving for the canteen to fetch coffee and bagels.

She watched the doors at her house through the corners of her eyes. She sometimes strained her ears against the piercing silence for sounds, any sound, of creaking doors, turning doorknobs, scraping on the walls, breathing. A part of her almost wished she heard him.

Why, just the other night she woke up thinking someone had opened the main door downstairs. With a twisted, musical creak the door opened and then shut again with a thud. And then, the sound of footsteps. Little feet, non-rythmic, but assertive, flip-flopped on the wooden stairs that lead up to her bedroom and then stopped right outside her room.
He was always with her, he would never harm her or anything but he would never leave her either. He would keep her expecting, expecting him to show up, irrespective of where she was or what she was doing. And somewhere in her heart she wanted her little boy to come back to her.

When they fished him out of the river ten years back, she had cried. She wouldn’t let them take him away. She wanted them to take a bottle of his favourite strawberry jam with them when they were taking him away, all bundled up and tied to a stretcher. They didn’t and she was angry with them for it.

She never failed to leave a bottle of jam on the dining table downstairs before turning in every night.