Unconditional Love

Latha Prakash posted under Flash Fiction QuinTale-49 on 2023-02-14

The breeze carried with it an aroma of lilies and orchids. The room was decorated with coloured lights and festoons. Ritu stood in a corner where not a streak of light fell on her. Myra sat comfortably on the chair Ritu had painstakingly decorated for her. Her husband was observing her admiringly from behind the lens. Myra smiled and Ritu wondered if it was her baby sister's smile or the lights that brightened the room. "Marigolds give mundane vibes. Let's go for orchids," Myra's ebullient voice echoed in Ritu's ears. A faint smile flashed on her lips. Myra was different from her. Their thoughts and choices were poles apart. Yet they were peas in a pod. Myra caressed her baby bump gently as she posed for the photographs. Ritu felt the emotions she wrestled with resurface. The women in the hall approached Myra and slid bangles onto her hands. Ritu quelled the desire to hug her sister. She eagerly waited for this moment and earnestly prayed for it. And, when the moment came, she was coerced to maintain a safe distance. "Stay away from Myra during the ceremony. You are childless. I don't want you to jinx the baby," Myra's mother-in-law had mentioned in no uncertain terms. A raw and deep pain strangled Ritu. Her heart throbbed as she remembered Myra's tender hands clasp her index finger. A spring of tears welled in her eyes. Her womb wasn't Myra's haven. Unlike a female kangaroo that carried the joey in her pouch for around eighteen months, Ritu has been carrying Myra in her heart for over two decades. But her love was questioned. Ritu couldn't bear a child. But she was a mother at heart. A mother who loved Myra unconditionally. She had spent sleepless night trying to fend for her. Those countless sacrifices made, abundance of time spent worrying about her and a myriad memories. Yet she was blamed and judged. The tiny beads unfettered themselves and trickled freely. Through her clouded eyes, Ritu noticed Myra amble towards her. She held her hands and walked to the centre of the hall. Holding the plate decked with bangles, she said, "Our parents drifted to an eternal sleep years back. You have been both my mother and father since then. You wiped my tears and made me smile. You held my hands when I stumbled and encouraged me to cross every obstacle. If someone wishes the best for me, it's you," an air of emotion choked Myra. Words failed Ritu. She cupped Myra's face and kissed her on the cheeks. "She is a bad omen," Myra's mother-in-law intervened. "A mother is a blessing. She can never be a bad omen," said Myra and handed Ritu the bangles. Ritu slid the bangles onto Myra's hands. They hugged. That hug alleviated the flames that scorched Ritu's soul. And, she finally felt at peace with herself.   Penmancy gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!