The backbreaking job of a planter depleted her frail frame.
The words floated from behind, “Mama, you must be weary to the bone.”
Awash in unshed tears, she turned, her voice choked, “Pablo!”
“Isn’t it a pleasant surprise? So many years, I’m finally back.”
She hugged, but with a shadow of doubt, surmised, “You seem different, my son.”
He roared with laughter, “When I left for work abroad, I was a young, lanky guy in my twenties and now a bearded muscular man in thirties.”
She prepared his favourite dishes. “M’boy, tajadas, empanadas, asados and bunuelos. You must’ve missed these overseas.”
“Oh, Mama! I’m salivating. My hunger pangs are kicking in for this feast. I remember how much you struggled to put food on the table, and now we’ve ample resources. Per your aspirations, I’m an established man, now.”
He gorged, his mother observed with a glint in her eyes.
“Yes, we had scanty means, but I was at peace. Together, we enjoyed the mundane routines of life. Is everything fine with you, my child? You seem different.” She contemplated.
Pablo propitiated, “Don’t ya worry, Mama. It was a long journey, but now on I’ll stay here permanently. You don’t have to work anymore. I’m capable enough to take care of my Mama.”
She poured the cocktails and elucidated her past. “The fetid stench filled our abode. He downed bottles a day and drowned in its glory. His newfound solace was my agony. The criminal was utterly demented in his deadly deeds.”
She looked at Pablo with piercing eyes, her stares never leaving his poker face. “His acquired name, ‘Exotic Peddler’, nested in my subconscious core. I was inured to his domestic violence, but not his knavery to his nation. He tried to propitiate me and pleaded for my forgiveness. My simple ask as a wife was to forego the heinous life. I made a choice far from him and his madding crime.”
Pablo marvelled at the genius of his mother’s broken heart but unflinching attitude. “Mama, you toiled, and we lived a simple life. We’re reaping the fruits of your hard labour.”
Her gaze seemed to prod at his memories.
“I kept whispering in your tiny ears, ‘Always be sincere’, and I envisioned my baby to grow up an honest man. Dear, you promised that one day you’ll make me proud of you. You seem different, now.”
“I’m tired. Let’s go to sleep.” Pablo wobbled. He needed one more drink to dispel his deep inner tremor.
“I tried hard to keep you away from the sinful activities of your dad, but you’re a replica of him and far from my imagination. His blood in your veins drew you to these pursuits. I’m aware you’re a fugitive in the foreign lands and have fled for safety. The umbilical cord was severed at your birth today; I disown you as my son. I’ll continue my life of penury, but no mercy on you. You’ve lied to your mother thrice.”
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