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“Happy mother’s day dad”
“Anant, mother’s day is for mothers and I am you father.” He tickled his son playfully.
“For me you are both my mom and my dad. So happy mother’s day.” He said seriously.
His eyes filled with tears, he was touched. He took the handmade card and bouquet of flowers.
At night Anant slide in beside him. He kept his work aside and hugged his son.
“Dad will you tell me that story again?” He said with a sheepish grin.
“Again?” He feigned annoyance.
“Yes dad, again.” They both laughed.
“Ok. Your mom and I were in college together but in different classes. We never met each other. One day in the market, I was walking on the road and a scooty stopped right in between my legs. The lady’s face was covered with the hanky. Only her eyes were visible. Her big beautiful eyes.”
“That was mom, right?”
“Right. She said sorry and I was so lost in her eyes that I didn’t even move for what seemed like eternity. I didn't even realize she was gone until few minutes later. I kept thinking about her. I had no idea about who she was or where she lived. So, in hope of meeting her again I kept roaming around in the same market day after day but never got to see her again. It was our college fest when I saw her again. I recognized her from her eyes. I could never forget those expressive eyes. I never let her go then. I collected all my strength and complimented her on her performance and hence began our friendship. I knew I was love in with her, I knew she liked me but wasn’t sure if she loved me. But still I decided to propose her before it was too late. I asked her out for dinner. I bought flowers and a ring. I went down on my knees, told her I have always loved her and asked her if she would mind being my wife.”
“And what did she say?”
“She said forever my love, forever.”
“And you got married.” He clapped.
“Yes, and now it’s time for you to sleep.”
“Ok dadda, good night.”
“Goodnight son.” He kissed on his forehead, turned off the light and walked out of the room closing the doors behind.
He made himself some coffee and sat on the chair. A hand touched him on shoulders.
“Same story again brother?”
He nodded his head.
“Why do you keep doing this to yourself? You know it’s not true.”
“I know but I can’t tell him the truth. This makes him happy and for a time being me too. After all these years of telling the same story, it has started sounding true to my own ears. False may be, but this story gives me hope and happiness.”
“As you think apt brother. I am just worried to see you like this. I am going to sleep. You don’t stay up too late.”
He nodded and bid her goodnight.
He took the picture of his wife and him that was sitting on the table. He lovingly moved fingers on her face. Then kept it back, took his coffee and went to terrace. He sat under the sky thinking of the first time he had met her.
He was in the entirely new city, looking for a job. He had rent a room to stay. His neighborhood was full of kids of all ages. He loved spending time with them in the evening, playing cricket and football with them. There was this one girl who sat quietly on the swing in her verandah and never said anything. She would only watch whatever was going on around her. Once while playing a kid kicked the football near her swing and stopped right under her feet. He went to pick the ball. She pulled up her feet to her chest and buried her face in between her knees scared. He was amused. He waited for a moment. She put her head up just enough to look at him. The way she looked at him, the look in her eyes got him spellbound. She looked at him like she was looking right into his soul. For the first time he felt his heart beating loud. It gave him flutters in his stomach. Never in his life had he felt so alive like he did now. He wanted to stay. He wanted to talk. But the calls from his kid friends made him leave reluctantly.
Later after asking about her he found out that though she was grown up physically, she was still a child mentally. Everyone kept teasing her always; some would even tease her physically. So she always stayed at home, alone. His heart went out to her. He would deliberately throw balls near her just to look in to her big beautiful eyes. Something in the way she looked at him always pulled him to her. He had often felt the smiles in her eyes when he was around. He just couldn’t resist those soft relaxed look. Just her presence made his evenings livelier. He would go through the day dreaming of her eyes.
His job included travelling, sometimes days sometimes months. He often tried to resist his tours but this time he had to take a tour of a month and half. When he returned he didn’t see her for three days. He began getting restless. He tried to ask casually to the kids. They nonchalantly told him that one day she went somewhere and came back with bruises and her clothes torn. They haven’t seen her since. From his landlady’s gossip he came to know that she went off wandering a day after he went on tour. It is being said that she was raped yet no one knew who did, nobody saw anything. Chances are she might even be pregnant. He even heard that her mental condition wasn’t good. They keep her locked and are planning to move away.
Something inside him broke. He felt restless and desperate. He knew what he wanted to do. He loved her and it’s about time he should make her his. It wasn’t an easy task. His parents were adamantly against it and rightly so. Her parents were skeptical but agreed. He knew his parents would never give in but he was never surer about anything in life than marrying this girl. And that he did. He took care of her like a child until Anant was born. Her condition started to worsen. She would jump even at the slightest of sound and would calm only in his arms. It started getting bad to worse. She, now, is in hospital where doctors are hopeless about her. He could never get himself to tell this to his son. The story he keeps telling him not only keeps his son happy but also helps him escape the reality even if for a while. He knows his forever is coming to an end sooner than he want it to. Forevers are never really for-ever.