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Srishti-2021   >>  Short Story - English   >>  WE

FINCY MOHAMED YOUSUFF

EQUIPO HEALTH

WE

CHAPTER 1: IT’S JUST US

“Are you mad at me”?

“No, why should I?”

“Ok, But I know you are sad, do you want to talk about it”?

“I’m sad…sometimes I do feel like crying. But I know you’ll be sad if I am sad. One of us needs to stay strong na”.

Kripa couldn’t have been prouder of Sidhu. She didn’t know whether she should be happy about what a gentleman this little guy is growing out to be or sad that he’s having to be too mature too early on in life.

Anand was not just someone who gave Kripa a second chance in reliving a life she never got from her torturous marriage. He was the only one she felt Sidhu accepted and started mimicking since he was 6.  

When she walked out of a brutal abusive marriage, more than anything it was a gush of relief that she felt. After a 2-year long divorce battle, she smiled when she walked out of the court. She told herself – at last! It’s all over! She had never felt more assured in life. She had at that point decided that it would just be Sidhu and her for the rest of their life.

So, when Anand walked in and brought so much happiness along with him, Kripa and Sidhu felt more secure than they ever felt over the past 6 years. To see Sidhu love Anand more than his biological father assured Kripa that she had made the right decision to give life a second chance. They were the idle family that everyone enjoyed being around.

That’s why when Anand suddenly decided to call it off after 5 long beautiful years together, Kripa was broken beyond repair.

“Ma, stop the car at the next petrol bunk please. All the juices that I drank are ready to come out now.” and he giggled.

Chapter 2: “THAT’S HIM: Her support system”

When she parked the car and Sidhu walked out, she watched him. This tiny 11year old! Her best friend! Her support system.

Their life together came before her eyes. She remembers the doctor telling her that the baby can hear the mom. She remembers reading books to her tummy under some strange feeling that he is listening. All the hardships they faced together. All the slaps, the choking, physical and mental torture, verbal abuse and the tiny 3-year-old crying to his dad to stop hurting her. She remembered how she wouldn’t have been alive if it weren’t for him. She would have been quietly living there, but the mother in her woke up when the pain started being inflicted on her tiny baby now. She remembers walking out holding him. They started living from then onwards - rented homes, expenses, journeys, scary stormy thundery nights, fevers, fractures, birthdays, day care… but amidst all that the one feeling they enjoyed the most was that they felt FREE! Free enough to laugh and run and play and breath without the fear of being tortured.

Even when society questioned her, her only consolation was the smile on Sidhu’s face which she saw after walking out of her past, out of his clutches. No one understood the pain they faced together. As judgemental as her relatives were, Sidhu was twice as understanding. So, keeping him happy was her only oath when she stood strong against all odds.

Falling in love was not in her plan. Never had she thought that she would find love in someone who could accept Sidhu as his own. Love came knocking at her door and made her feel special again. Anand made it very easy for Kripa and Sidhu to accept him as their own. They let him into their inner circle which just had them.

Then why did he leave without even a word after having spent 5 years knowing what he meant in their life? How could he do this to this lovely child who loved him more than he loved anyone else. She knew Sidhu was sad but just wasn’t expressing it for her sake. She felt guilty for bringing him into Sidhu’s life. Grief just suddenly filled her and she was beginning to have another panic attack. She pulled her seat back and removed her seatbelt.

CHAPTER THREE: “THAT’S HER: His Guardian Angel”

As he walked back towards their most favorite place – their tiny car, he watched her face turning slightly red and she pulled her seat back. He knew she was having another panic attack. It had started becoming frequent since Anucha, as he called Anand - went away from their life.

Looking at her weak body, he remembered how much she had to suffer. How many times she fell asleep crying from all the pain that his dad inflicted on her. For him walking out from his dad was not something he understood but the freedom that came after that was something he remembered.

He remembers how difficult it was for him to open up and speak at class. He remembers how shy and scared he always was. She filled life into him and always held his hand. She used to encourage him to participate in everything at school and watch him on stage. Even when parents weren’t allowed, she always found a way to sneak into the auditorium and clap as soon as he was done even if he knew he didn’t do well. She kissed him a thousand times a day. He watched how hard she worked every single day. She was the most jovial person he had ever met. She was one reason her friends were jealous of him. To being shy and scared at one point to being a proficiency award winner at school, he knew it was because of the courage Ma gave him.

So, when Anucha came into their lives, he accepted him just seeing the happiness on her face while he was around. He precisely knew what the difference was when his father was around and when Anucha was. He loved their small family. It’s all that he ever loved since he turned 6. He knows he loved Anucha a lot and he loved him back. But why he would walk out of their lives he couldn’t understand. Maybe it was a big thing. No matter what the reason was for him to walk out, he still loved Anucha for how he made both of them feel around him. If going away from them made Anucha happy, he was ok to accept that. He’ll never hate him. But he’ll always be angry at him for making Ma go through what she is going through now. So, he knew that he would have to stay strong for Ma to help her out just like she did when he needed her. He knew that her life dangled on his hands.

CHAPTER 4: OUR LONG JOURNEY FORWARD

He got into the car and hugged her. “Breathe ma, breathe, breathe. It’s ok, it’s ok. I’m here. You are fine. Breathe”. She started breathing heavily and slowly her heartbeats started slowing down. That’s all the treatment she needed. His tiny arms around her. They hugged each other for a while.

“Ma, we decided to take this drive so that you get over what happened. You need to feel confident again. I know most of the things we are doing now, including this long drive, are new to you. But we will do it together like how you used to stand in the audience when I go for music contests at school. When we go back, we’ll both have forgotten that he left and just remember him for all the loving memories he gave us. OK? Now get up dude, drive! We have 250 more kilometers to travel before we stop for the day today and it's already 3.30”

She got up, wiped her tears and looked at her greatest blessing from God. You just need one person, just one person to believe in you for you to move forward in life. He was her greatest strength and her largest weakness. When you find a friend in your  son, it’s an adventure every day. She smiled and started the car.

He opened another packet of chips and started munching thinking about the greatest blessing he had – his mom. If he ever gets another life, he silently prayed that he be born to her. His best friend and his partner in crime. He looked forward to the long road in front of them exactly like the wonderful life he knew was ahead of them. A beautiful life together.

P.S. : This snippet is inspired from a true story between a mother and her best friend - her son who went for their first ever long drive from Trivandrum to Pune and back to Trivandrum which was his idea to help her get over the grief she was facing when someone special walked out of her life. The names in the story have been changed to guard their identity.

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