Sparkling clean water splashed into the tub. The tub’s bright yellow color reflected various hues in its shimmering liquid. Trisha with her little chubby fingers placed the irregular pebbles, on top of each other.
The arrangement dived into the water, sprinkling drops on Trisha’s crestfallen face.
“Mamma,” she wailed in exasperation. I rushed to her rescue and we finally structured an erect,decent cairn in the water. Gleefully, Trisha clapped.She was yet to experience the penultimate joy. As she waited with baited breath, I gently let the creature crawl from my open palms into the water.
“Whoa… mamma, it’s swimming!” Trisha’s brown eyes sparkled with delight. The turtle was a gift on her fifth birthday. It was the third addition to a menagerie, comprising of a parrot, mongrel puppy and now a turtle. Very lovingly, she named it Ruby.
So every day, Ruby and Trisha played hide-and-seek from behind the cairn. The reptile took great pleasure in hibernating several times in a day behind the cairn. As a mother, I took greater pleasures in the antics of my child.
Slowly, Ruby grew heavier and her activity slowed down, which sent my hyperactive child into a frenzy. For Trisha, Ruby’s games behind the cairn were in the past. Yet, somehow the reptile had taught her patience. She waited for it to appear and then, again disappear.
Thinking it needed a larger space to maneuver, I sat Trisha down one day and explained that we needed to send it to an aquarium. Initially, she was reluctant but after a few violent tantrums she half-heartedly agreed;on the condition that every weekend I would take her to visit her mate.
Back home, a teary-eyed Trisha sulked in a corner. She refused to eat a morsel of food. The parrot and the pup couldn’t persuade her, either. With the allure of an aquarium visit, I fed my distraught child.
With a heavy heart, I progressed to cleaning Ruby’s abode. The yellow reflection brought no cheerfulness to my glum day. The cairn haunted me, reminding me how my daughter had learned balancing, much ahead of her developmental milestone. I wish I could just freeze those moments. Alas! They had slipped away like the slippery pebbles I was picking up.
No, the pebble in my hand felt more like a SHELL!
Viola! It took me a second to realize that Ruby had laid eggs in the cairn. She had left a bigger gift for her friend than I could’ve ever imagined. Hurriedly, like an overjoyed rabbit, I pranced to raise my shattered daughter’s spirits.
With what she saw, Trisha melted like wax in my arms. We would celebrate this momentous news soon. But before that, we had to re-built the cairn; this time, being extra cautious of the eggs.
“Time is what she needs.” The pediatrician had comforted the special-needs child’s mother.
Yes, time is what they, too, need, I thought; before they can sprint out from behind the cairn.
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