There is finality, absolutism in the word that cannot be denied.
A child leaving the nest leaves a mother bereft. The feeling of nothingness that lingers is hard to overcome, isn’t it? It shadows you.
What is left in the wake of the departure is a lifetime of togetherness to be packed and stowed away. But, how does one do that? Tangibles can be packed but what of the intangible memories? How does one pack and confine those to a trunk?
The strange thing about a memory is that the more you try to forget it; more is the impunity with which it surfaces. That’s what I felt as swamped with warm remembrances, I nestled the last, neatly-folded item of clothing into the trunk.
The beloved article had served our family well. It had kept safe my mother’s dowry, my trousseau and my daughter’s belongings in hostel. More than of items, it was a repertoire of memories. My daughter understood that. But now that she had flown the coop, it was finally time for me pack away her belongings…yes, in the same trunk. Associations of the heart do dictate actions, don’t they?
So many clothes this girl has…had!
Girls are so flighty nowadays, aren’t they? What is fashionable today is a fashion faux pas tomorrow.
‘Yikes! I wouldn’t be caught dead in it.’
‘Jeez! That’s so out of style. I’ll look like a granny wearing that. No, I don’t want it!’
‘Donate it, Mummy. Give it to the maid or something…’
Donate! Perfectly good, new clothing! In our time such a thing was unheard of. A child would be spanked for voicing such blasphemy. But, children nowadays…
God, the fights that we had had at such outrageous suggestions!
Oh, how I miss our verbal jousts. How I miss those days…
I chuckled at the memory, my heart constricting with a pang of fierce longing. How come time flew when I was raising you but after you flew away, time has stood still for me?
I smiled and simultaneously blinked away the moisture that always bullied its way into my eyes with thoughts of her. Understandable, no… I’m a single mother with no one but her? My heart still yearns for the old days of togetherness. But, life has an onward flow.
I hope she is happy. God, watch over her…
She won’t need these in her new home, I thought and cast one last look around me. Had I missed something? No, I had packed it all. With finality, I closed the lid of the trunk and ran my fingers over its surface, marked less by usage and more by age.
You’ll keep it all safe, won’t you? You won’t forget. You won’t let me forget, will you?
I looked up at the wall in front of me. Was it the imagination of a foolish, sad mother or was my daughter’s photo smiling down at me, strung as it was with a sandalwood garland, her favourite fragrance.
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