MommySpeak Short story Thought and Reason

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.

Humour Incidents

The brave little helper

Once upon a time, there was a kind woman who had two children. She had a gentle face, but a face that was scarred by warts. The only way to remove them was a surgical process. She was very nervous, but her older, more responsible child talked her into getting it done.

When they reached the hospital, the child squeezed her hand and said ‘Don’t worry Mamma, you will be fine!’. The woman felt choked with emotion. Once inside the operation theatre, the good Doctor re-assured them that there was no reason to worry. The woman lay back on the cold, cushioned, couch. The girl stood by her, smiling and stroking her hair.

The Doctor readied a long shiny tube-like instrument and connected it to the power socket. When she turned it on, the tip glowed red, like the eye of a monster. It made a dull, whizzing sound. The brave little helper watched the Doctor with bated breath.

With one short and swift stroke, the Doctor brought the tube-like instrument close to the woman’s face, and roughly nudged the biggest wart. The woman shuddered involuntarily, not in pain, but in momentary shock. A few seconds later, the wart fell off. The spot now looked pink, and blood began to ooze out.

The Doctor said, ‘Give me that roll of cotton-wool’. No reply.

‘Quick, please!’ No reply again.

The good Doctor turned around. Only to receive the fainting not-so-little girl, who was falling slowly and steadily into her arms!

The Doctor revived the child by splashing cold water on her face. And then scoffed at her for having been so very ‘brave’!

The kind woman refused to remove any more warts and took her daughter home immediately. And lived happily ever after.


(That brave little helper was, if you haven’t guessed yet, Mi Mi Mi!

And I wrote this (and tormented you), because today, I passed by the clinic where we had been to that eventful day, many years ago!)