Remembering Mother

“Mommeee…! Boo-hoo-hoo…!” 

Lucy came hurtling down the lane, sobbing uncontrollably. I had been sitting, reading, in the porch by the light of the sun. It was perfect weather to read, I had told myself, when her cries reached my ears. I looked up to see my girl as she ran on her chubby little legs towards me. She cried afresh as her eyes met mine. One look at her and I knew, something had gone terribly wrong at play. She was normally such a gentle child. 

She dissolved in my arms and I had her sit upon my lap, whilst soothing her with mellow words of endearment.

“They did it again, Mommy! They called me, ‘Fatso!’ Even when I was being all friendly and nice, just like you had told me to…” More howls through spluttered speech followed.

Children can be such cruel things. I only knew this too well; I had learned it the hard way. 

“Shhh, Shhh… It’s going to be alright, baby. Let me tell you a story,” I comforted her.

Then I told her something that I hadn’t told a soul until then. 

****

20  Years Ago

We were a group of six children that day. Laughing, dancing away in the light of the falling dusk. Someone decided that we should play ‘Hide And Seek‘, much to everyone’s delight. 

We scampered off in every direction. I found a little nook that seemed to have been waiting just for me to crawl into. I clambered my way onto the low ground underneath the hedge and waited. And waited. 

The waiting took on an unforeseen turn as the silence of the surroundings penetrated my being. Panic seized me, as I scrambled out of my hiding, calling out for my friends. Nobody answered. They seemed to have vanished into thin air! I raced towards the country dirt-road at the end of which, lay our suburban neighbourhood. 

That’s when I saw them. My allies ambling along, as the sun set in a furious red under the horizon. I couldn’t believe it: They had conveniently forgotten me. I was, just as well, hidden from view for them. Tears rolled down my cheeks. 

“It can’t be excused, it simply can’t!” My mother kept repeating, more to herself than to me. I sat meekly before her. 

At length, she stood up and taking me by the hand, went to the duck-pond at the back of our house.

A wild hunt followed, at the end of which, I stood wide-eyed as she counted them. “…Four and Five. Perfect!” 

The next day at school, right in the middle of recess, a shriek echoed down the halls. Followed by more unrelented cries. 

Ribbit… Ribbit! – Went the mirthful frogs, jumping off their bags onto their terror-stricken bodies. 

The watching children roared with laughter. I watched with a sense of accomplishment. 

My mother was such a peculiar woman! 

“You can well learn the lessons in forgiveness, dear. But remember: We first learn to stand up for ourselves.”

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