From your little 10-year old

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Dear Ma,
Today is the seventh mother’s day that I’m spending without you. I still remember the last mother’s day we spent together. I was ten back then and I woke up really early at five am because I wanted to cook breakfast for you. I do not remember how I managed to wake up so early, all by myself when even countless pesters by you generally deemed to be redundant at waking me up even at ten.

I still remember dragging myself to the kitchen and looking for bread. What sort of a ten year old doesn’t know where bread is kept? And how I hopelessly gave up on my useless search and thought of baking a cake instead. But what sort of a ten year old knows how to bake a cake, all by herself? I remember looking for trays in the cabinet, breaking two of them and then finally settling for a steel plate instead. I remember picking up the shattered glass because I didn’t want to hurt you and in the process, cutting my left hand fingers. There was little blood, Ma and lots of pain but I remembered you telling me that we’re in control of our own pain and we decide how much it hurts. I remember ignoring that cut and putting the stove on. Oh, how I tried boiling water and ended up burning my right hand. 
Ma, you taught me well, because even after all this, I didn’t give in. I made you some tea, didn’t I? Although I’m still pathetically sorry for the way it tasted, I still feel proud of myself.

I remember putting the cup of tea on that stainless steel plate, adding a couple of biscuits, cream ones to be specific, and clumsily taking that little breakfast towards your room.

Ma, what sort of a daughter wakes her mother up at five thirty on a Sunday morning just to serve her ‘perfectly’ cooked tea and biscuits?
Well, I did.

I remember you getting angry first, because well, you’ve always loved your beauty sleep, haven’t you? But then I also remember the priceless smile on your face when you realized my efforts and the worry in your eyes once you looked at my hands.

I remember how we went and sat in the balcony and gazed at the gorgeous sunrise while you tended to my wounds and ‘painfully’ sipped tea from the cup.

I will always remember that morning as the most beautiful one in my life. And, yeah, also as the morning that entirely bruised my hands. I’m still proud of those bruises though. They remind me of how brave I was and how brave I have to be.

Sometimes, I wish I was still that brave because I don’t feel brave, Ma. I don’t feel brave at all. 

That beautiful sunrise changed my entire life, you know? It’s the reason I still wake up every day, trying to find reason and hope. It’s the only reason I have, Ma, my only hope.

It’s been six years, eleven months and four days since you left, Ma and every single day has broken me.

When I was seven and Nani left us, I remember how much pain you were in. I remember your tears, Ma and I remember my confusion. I didn’t know what death was back then. I didn’t know who the stars were. I didn’t know misery, as I do now.

I remember you explaining death to me and you telling me that even though she’s not here anymore, she’ll always be with us, as a part of us.

Ma, you never taught me how to believe in those delusions, though, the ones my friends obsessed over. You never made me believe in Santa Claus or The Tooth Fairy. They were always alien concepts to me and I could never understand the belief my friends had in their existence.

But, being the curious kid I was, I did try believing in them, you know? I did try putting my broken teeth under my pillow, hoping to see a penny there instead the next day. I did try putting my sock near the window and decorating the Christmas tree with fairy lights, wishing to be showered with gifts the next morning.

But you never did let me harbour those delusions, Ma. You always taught me to accept the truth, at its face value. So much so that I started believing that the rainbow was a myth as well and I remember my surprise on witnessing its very existence.



Maybe that was for the best, Ma. I never suffered through the heartbreak my friends did when they did not receive a letter from Hogwarts on their eleventh birthday or when they realized that the Santa at the Christmas Party was just a fat old man, donning a fake beard and being paid to pose with children.

Ma, you never made me believe in Prince Charmings or Knights in Shining Armour either. You told me Batman was never real and you taught me to be my own hero unlike my friend who painted his entire room in the colours of Superman.

I never had to suffer heartbreaks when everyone found out Rapunzel and Cinderella weren’t real either or when the truth about the illusion of fairies and unicorns came out. I already knew.

Like I knew death.
Like I knew loss.

Ma, I remember going for summer camp when I was nine and coming back with all sorts of stories of how my best friend’s grandfather was a star and how he was always watching over her, guiding her, taking care of her.

And I remember asking you if Nani was now a star too and you laughing while shaking your head at this peculiar piece of information and taking me out for stargazing, teaching me how to spot constellations instead.

I’m rather very good at them now, you know? Constellations have now become my escape. They’re my reality, they’re me.  

And Ma, even though, you always taught me otherwise, I’m convinced that if I’m able to spot all eighty eight constellations some day, then maybe I can find my way to you.

Maybe, someday, these constellations can lead me to you.
Ma, maybe, one day, I can find you again.

Till then, I will continue writing letters to the Moon, requesting him to help me spot all those constellations and asking him to take care of you, although I know you’re perfectly capable of doing that on your own.

But I’m not.

I miss you, Ma! After all, I’m still just a little kid, aren’t I?

I’m still the ten year old you said, “See you in the evening” to, before leaving for work, the ten year old who waited, and waited, and waited for her mother to come home, for her to come back, the ten year old who prayed to the Moon, wishing for the evening that her mother had promised her.

I’m still the ten year old who fought with the Security Guard at the Hospital because he wouldn’t let her in to see her mother,

I’m still the ten year old who lost her own life when she saw her mother’s lifeless face, who had to be dragged out of the hospital, screaming and weeping, just because she didn’t want to leave her mother’s side.

I’m still the ten year old who cried for days and days because nights without her mother scared her, who refused to fall asleep because she was scared of her nightmares, who refused to eat anything for days because her mother wasn’t there.  

I’m still the ten year old who didn’t leave her house for days, because she knew her mother would come back, who ran to her mother’s room, every single morning, hoping she’d be there, wishing it was all just a bad dream and who broke all the vases in her house, just because she wanted her mother to come back and scold her, one last time.

I’m still the ten year old who couldn’t breathe properly, just because she didn’t want to, who lost herself when her mother left her, the ten year old who knew death, up and close like a best friend and who knew loss, like no one else.

Ma, I wish you’d come back, but I also know you won’t. I wish I could leave and meet you soon, but I also know I won’t.

I’m not leaving just as yet. I still have a lot to do. I want you to be proud of me, Ma and one day, I promise you will be!

As much as I miss you, I promise I will never give up! And you know how seriously I take my promises. 

Ma, you taught me well!
Happy Mother’s Day! 

Love,
You little ten year old,
Emm.