Love To Bits

posted in: Short Story - English | 0

I observed how the minute hand converged to that point with grace and the way the clock juddered in tune to the alarm. Smiling goofily, I looked at the paper-birds lying around me that kept me awake all night. I vividly remember those vibes that wrapped me with an enthusiasm I’d never felt before. Watching my birds flying in my little world, I drew my favorite pillow close to my mouth and chuckled.

Today was that day. 

I’d always imagined how it would be like to have parents. If they hadn’t left me on one of those footsteps of Mother Josephine’s convent, I would have been sleeping with them, burying my face in the warmth of my mother’s bosom.

Sewing the beads of ifs and buts, I had once asked Mother Josephine the reasons that took me into her shelter. With serene eyes, she recited a verse from the psalms that stretched the teeny weeny question mark in my head. Mother Josephine was the only person who was capable of consoling the deprived child inside me; her words were an epitome of hope even though I could comprehend half of it.

It was last week that Mother told us about Rahim uncle’s visit to our place and his interest to take away one among us to his home. Though I pretended less concerned, I was indeed over the moon because I knew whom he liked the most.

Rahim was a lovely person; his calm endearing smile was the one that colored my dreams often. I always loved the way he tossed me up high. I used to pucker my lips to hold back a squeal that would show up the gap made by two lost teeth. Whenever he came to visit our place he used to gift me a handful of freshly plucked mulberries from his orchard.

”For you, Sarah,“ he would whisper in my ears, smiling with a lip that drooped a bit on the left.

On such visits, he used to spend a lot of time with me, coloring my perfect-family picture that I sketched. I still remember those words which spilt out of his mouth while he colored the house roof brown.

“Someday I’ll take you to my home and never would I have to visit you here,“ he had said, flicking his eyes between the picture and me.

I saw the little girl smiling beamingly in that picture as much as I did. With a face blazing with excitement, I handed him another crayon pencil.

***

After the Morning Prayer, I, along with Mother Josephine and other kids moved to the common hall to have breakfast. I stole a look through all the windows on our way, to see if Rahim uncle had arrived but all I saw was a picker grinning at me, shaking a coconut near his ears and throwing it into a pile. I acted very much out of the ordinary in the command of anticipation, and when I caught sight of the envied looks on me, I knew that I wasn’t the only one to be aware of that. Little did they know that, deep within, I was tracking down a cozy nest of delight from the very thought of family, and was keenly expecting a divine closure.

“Sarah, why aren’t you eating?” Mother asked me, before the moment I realized that I was drawing patterns on the plate, dipping the piece of idli in sambar.

She walked off before I could think of any answer, and I saw her talking to someone standing at the doorway though I couldn’t see the person. I craned my neck to see the same, but it left me with no luck.

I was worried when I saw her moving the rosary beads with her thumb and forefinger in an unusual way and I recognized the person on the other side when she glanced at me, motioning with her hands to follow.

***

She made me sit on her lap while Rahim sat opposite to us. He was slouching down on the chair and tapping on the table with his fingers; I wondered why he was avoiding an eye contact. My eyes traced over the streaks of grey in his hair, the sheen of the sweat drops stuck onto his forehead and lumps moving like a wave on his throat; I prayed for somebody to break the ice.

“Rahim, my child, I want you to speak to me in the presence of Sarah,“ she said, holding me closer to her heaving chest. An unknown agony moved stealthily within me; I wanted to cry, my temples ached.

“Mother…I’m afraid that Sarah…Mother…Zee…Zeenath isn’t well,“ he said, gasping in between each word and leaving us puzzled.

I knew Zeenath as much as Rahim. Zeenath, his wife was suffering from an illness that was gorging upon her memory. Rahim used to say, how sometimes she behaved just like me.

“It was a miraculous change that had happened last week. She asked me about my job, she cooked for me…Moreover, she was happy when I told her about the adoption…,” his lips quivering as he spoke.

“Today, she asked me… who I was,” he said, puffing hard and burying his face in his palms.

My mind’s eyes closed at a snail’s pace, leaving traces of my imagination to moisten my cheeks. He rose from the folding chair and knelt before me, lingering his eyes on mine.

No sooner had he cuddled me tighter, than he ranted the words of remorse for sowing the seeds of hope. When he hugged me, I felt as if I was wrapped in a cloak weaved out of an eternal love of his fatherhood and as he mouthed to speak, I closed it with my palm; for I knew those words that were etched onto my heart.

‘Someday,’ I knew!

Name : Anakha B

Company : Qburst Technologies, Kochi

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