The reticent (flash fiction)


Reticent. That is what best describes me. Probably. My mum would have found the right word. Had she been around. Infact, had she not left, I would probably not be – reticent.

Picasso's 'Mother and Child' (Image courtesy: Google images)

She was wonderful – my mother. I don’t remember her being pretty. Nor attractive. But when she came to collect me from school, my friends would spot her bulky frame, run towards her to greet her. They would tell her about what they did in the classroom that day. She would be all smiles. Crows-feet around her eyes. Yes, that’s what I remember most about her. When she smiled, her eyes would sparkle. And crows-feet would form around the corners. She would laugh heartily at what Gabbi or Maya said. Or at Ben screaming like a Dinosaur! If Sophia hung onto the fence, crying for her Mommy, my mum would promptly tell her ‘Don’t worry darling, I saw your Mommy on the way, she is going to be here very soon!’

And all the time, I would watch – hiding behind a play tent –her eyes would be looking for me. Searching… searching…And when they found me – they would light up, like she had witnessed fireworks in the sky!!

Anyway. The days we spent at the hospital. She would lie limp on the bed. I would chatter. Incessantly. She would smile. Mostly! Sometimes, she would simply ask me to ‘shush‘. I couldn’t. Well, that’s me. Excited, animated, energetic. I think – well, I know – that that spirit is what she loved most about me.

That last day, I went to wake her up. And when she did, I ..I .. cannot explain. Pale, ashen face. Hollow eyes. Dry, cracked lips. Almost, an ugly ghost in the place of my beautiful mother.

I shrank. Go Away!!’ I screamed. I ran out of that room, screaming ‘Just go away!!’. That was the last I saw of her. They didn’t allow me at her funeral. They thought I was too young.

How do I remember – you might ask. You see, some things – events, faces – just get etched – deep, deep down – somewhere.. somewhere beyond even Memory! Just like a photograph. Flash, click. The moment captured – for eternity.

Sometimes, I wake up, looking for her. Wake up right in the middle of a dream – Of me waiting behind my school fence. Hiding behind a play-tent. My eyes, searching. Searching…

Sometimes, I pretend to go back to sleep and continue the dream – and try to imagine that I’ve found her.

Her face is beautiful again. I cannot bring myself to see her ‘other’ face. Even in a pretend dream – it is too difficult.

I simply stand and stare. She waits, with a smile that lights up her face.

And I? I have so much – just so much – to say to her. I have to tell her that Maya hurted my feelings. That Ben invited me to his birthday party. That.. that..I’m so clever that I know all about the continents.

But not a word comes up to my lips. My dry, cracked lips. And suddenly, my mind goes blank. There is only one thing that I want to say. Only one.

But my throat hurts so bad, that I’m unable to bring myself to say it … ‘Mummy, I’m sorry I got afraid’.

You see, I am reticent. I really am. Because none of it matters any more.

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72 thoughts on “The reticent (flash fiction)

  1. Awww..thats just so beautiful, Pals!! Heartwrenching!! Sometimes, yes, some things just stay with you.

    Very well written as always 🙂

    Thank you, so much, Deeps.

  2. Heart breaking, so beautifully written, Pals. Love the way you write.

    Thank you, dear Smitha! What would I do without friends like you!!! I can’t wait to meet you, btw.

  3. Simply beautiful Pal, absolutely so! Loved the style in which you have presented it.
    May I make a suggestion?? the story is so full of feelings and is a really touching one. You don’t need the different colored fonts, it takes away from the story. Of course its my personal opinion 🙂
    Keep writing!

    Shail, thank you so much. Suggestion implemented too 🙂 thanks shail!!

  4. simply superb..very well written..I didn’t feel even for a second that I was reading a fiction. it’s executed so damn brilliantly.. is it by any chance a true story? story of someone you know or something? maybe a bit twisted? just wondering!

    1. Thank you sooo much. It is fiction, Neha, but a few bits and pieces are from real life… and its been playing on my mind for a long time, so it felt good to put it into words and get it off my chest. Mind.. chest??? I’m going bonkers now…

  5. Oh, it’s beautiful! fiction that borderlines on reality. You must publish some day.

    I think in the last 3 months I’ve missed a lot here. Will come back to read all.

    1. BTW adding you….realised I havent done so till now 🙂 High time I did!

      Thank you, Ashwathy… thanks so much 🙂 If it were not for encouragement from friends in Blogworld, this blog would have shut down long long ago!!!

  6. wowww.. beautifully written.. oK, its almost time for a book.. atleast you should start to brainstorm along those lines and collect thoughts, pen down rough draft.. i can be your agent.. 😉
    Yippee, now I have an agent, and a good one at that. So the only thing left is the book!! LOL!!

  7. For the times that the courage we lack
    and for all the guilt we put on the rack
    how we wish that we have the knack
    to put the hands of the clock back.

    Pallu beautifully written!

    Thank you so much, PRG. Where have you been? You keep doing the disappearing act!!

  8. Beautiful Pals, simply beautiful.

    I remember when my mom got chicken pox, she covered her face with a towel whenever I entered the room. I was little, studying in 3rd grade, and she kept telling me that if I see her face, I might scream and might not go back to her. and I remember crying every time she said that ! 🙂

  9. Fiction draws inspiration from life. But for a mention in the title, I wouldn’t have known it was fiction! The pain… I felt it could have been me writing this!

  10. Pal,

    Touching ! Writing it out will sure help you to get it out of your system and confront the reality . And at the same time it will not take away the love as we all fear .

    I can relate to you .

  11. A very beautiful story very nicely expressed !!
    I realised only at the end (from tags) that it was a fiction and not a true story.
    I could relate to it both as a mother and as a daughter.

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