For the very first time

The Father

It was a cold December morning as we walked to the hospital . I was shaken to my core at what she had done , swallowing a bottle of sleeping pills and washing it down with insecticide . I am a good husband, a good father and yet she was willing to abandon me , my children …. her children, our children . Did she not realize what that would do to these young kids ? With morose thoughts, I walked taking my young son along to see his mother . We stopped by a bookstore , my son is a bookworm , takes after his mother . I bought him his favorite comics . Something to keep his mind occupied . I wondered what was going through that tiny mind , did he realize what his mother had done ? I wondered if I would have to deal with some long term damage to that tiny mind . I cannot imagine abandoning him and depriving him of my love and security and yet that is what she had done . Some boys gravitate towards their father, some towards their mother . I had gravitated towards my father but my son gravitated towards her . I imagine that is so because he is very similar to her ; overly sensitive , extremely imaginative and very emotional . He actually walked out of the house when he was barely six because he got mad at me for chiding him . His mother had to run after him and beg him to come back . I was stunned at the ego and pride that he displayed and have tried to be more sensitive to his needs but it has been a challenge for me. Looking back at my childhood, I don’t think I would have dared to walk out on my father. I don’t resent that he has gravitated towards her and I do realize that he would be far more devastated losing her than losing me so that leaves me pensive. We entered the hospital , nurses in white uniforms walking around with pads and trays made the place look alive and helped alleviate the sepulchral feeling.

Thankfully we had pumped her stomach and managed to save her but I wonder if he realizes that she was willing to abandon him, the apple of her eye. He is only seven but he is a very precocious seven . At the age of three , he could repeat things that teenagers would have struggled with. He also has a memory like a clap trap, one of the few things that he seems to have inherited from me so I wonder if this  will come back to haunt and torture him,my mind was in a jumble as I opened the door to her room. I watched them , mother and son , so alike ; along with my daughter , they are the most important people in my life but at that minute , I might as well have not existed . But she ignored him after the initial look and asked me some mundane questions about groceries . I realized she was making small talk so that she would not have meet his eyes . I answered her questions and  eventually she ran out of steam and turned to look at our son. His face broke into a grateful smile at her acknowledgement.My heart broke when I saw his smile of relief. How could anybody imagine abandoning this child ? I sank into the couch with the newspaper but I was watching both of them. He was saying something to hear that I could not hear and I saw her eyes tear up and she motioned for the glass of water that he helped to her lips . I could not hold my tears back any longer , I had to leave . I got up and asked her if she wanted tea , she mutely shook her head and I started to leave when she suggested that I take him along . I shook my head and ran outside so neither of them would have to see my tears .

The Son
I had some books to keep me busy in case things took too long at the hospital . My neighbours told me that my mother had swallowed some pills and insecticide . I was curious if she knew that she drank insecticide . I decided to smell it yesterday and almost gagged . It is a foul and disgusting smell . No wonder she was sick , I would be sick too ?
My thoughts abruptly came to an end when I came to the hospital , supposedly the place of my rebirth . I had been given up for dead and I was resurrected here . Perhaps some memory of that remains in my unconscious and I had developed a natural distaste for the place , more so than any other hospital that I have visited . Couple of years ago, my dad had taken me along to visit another hospital to see my new born baby sister , somehow that did not leave an unpleasant memory .  , I would have been happy to skip the whole thing but I wanted to see her . I quietly accompanied my father through the long  corridors lined with white doors . My father opened the door and went in and I followed him quietly . She was lying on the bed , looking pale . She seemed to ignore me and focused on talking to my dad. I stared at her closely. She had a gown on , not the nightgown that I was used to seeing her in but a white hospital gown . She had no jewellery on , not even her ear rings or bangles . As I looked at her hands , I could not help but notice the needles pocking into the back of her right hand and another on her arm . The lines from those needles went up to several different bags filled with liquids . The bags were  hanging from a metal pole with hooks that seemed specially designed for this purpose and these bags . The liquids looked colorless . I looked at the shiny steel and saw the reflection of the bags and looking closer at the reflection  , I caught her looking at me . I turned to her and smiled . At this point my father had sat down on the couch and started reading a newspaper that he had purchased from the bookstore . She asked me what I was holding in my hand , I handed her my comics. She took it from me with the left hand that was not riddled with needles and seemed to wince at the effort . I asked her if she was in pain , she looked at me and swallowed and averted her gaze from me again . She seemed to like the comic , she started turning the pages . She never reads these comics and she would always tell me that I should be reading books not comics. She has always been a fast reader , much faster than me . I was mildly jealous of that and had always tried to catch with her but miserably failing but at this instant I knew her well enough to know that she was not reading. Her mind was far away, racing towards some unknown destination . I wanted to ask her if she knew that she was drinking insecticide when she was drinking it , but my sensibilities would not permit me . She was silent for a long period and then she turned to me , her eyes glistened and she motioned for a glass of water which I handed to her but realizing that she probably could not reach, I held the glass to her mouth . She sipped the water gratefully and murmured thanks . My dad got up abruptly and brusquely asked my mother if she wanted tea, she shook her dad and he said he will be back. She murmured and asked him to take me along, he merely shook his head and walked out. I told her that my sister was silly , she was so attached to our neighbour’s cat that she did not want to come with us to visit mom. My mother simply smiled and I was suddenly relieved and happy.

The mother

I woke up on a cold December morning in a strange hospital bed . Somebody had undressed me and put on this flimsy hospital gown that made me feel overly self conscious. But it was not modesty that was not on my mind right now , I had vague memories of yesterday . I had started fainting yesterday morning and my husband had caught me before I hit the floor . My last memory was that of my young son looking at me as his father caught me , his look of concern and fright had etched itself in my mind . So what happened ? I had washed down about 15  sleeping pills with an industrial strength pesticide .  I wanted to be absolutely certain that I was going to go through with it . However the sleeping pills never seemed to kick in and I could not sleep a wink and next morning , I was groggy but awake . But my husband sensed something was wrong so he promptly sent word to his work that he would not be coming in . I sometimes wonder if I don’t do him justice  , the man can be thick but he has an intuitive understanding that can be quite alarming and at times flattering .  He helped get our son ready for school but before the kid ever set foot outside the door , I passed out as I mentioned earlier and he had caught me . He had got a cab and got me admitted to this hospital . This hospital brings back memories for me  , 7 years ago they had bought my infant son back from the dead , seems strange that this hospital has saved lives in my family twice and while I could not have been more delighted about saving my son’s life , this time around whilst saving me,  I am not so certain . I am more than a little embarrassed . There will be streams of people pouring in with wishes and I don’t really wish to indulge them and stoke their need for gossip and make myself an object of mockery . The anger inside me wells up and turns everything inside me putrid. It was a welcome relief to see my son this morning , his large brown eyes writ with concern . There was no judgement ,no expectations just pure unadulterated love , untainted by society and its traditions of poison and expectations. He is still innocent , unwary , trusts me completely , his world seems to revolve around me and his father . I do have a daughter as well but she is very young , just turned 2 a fortnight ago and while I do love her , she is too young to know . But it was too hard to keep looking into those brown eyes so I turned to his father and I asked him about the groceries and the laundry, anything to avoid looking into those large brown eyes on that tiny face but my heart was not in groceries . I had to look at him , I saw him looking at my saline bags and I wondered if he understood. The thought of him judging me was too terrifying to contemplate. He felt my gaze and turned around and grinned at me. The same grin , utterly devoid of any machinations , any motives just pure adulation. I asked him about his books and he handed me his comics and I turned the pages listlessly , all the while feeling his eyes on me. He asked me if the needles hurt and I choked but I did not want him to see so I motioned for the glass of water which he held out to be me but realizing that I could not reach with all my tubes, he held it to my lips which I sipped gratefully . My husband got up abruptly and asked if I wanted tea, he loves tea , strong and syrupy . I murmured no and he said he would be back soon . I asked him to take our boy along but he said he would be back in a flash and turned away and left the room but not before I caught the break in his voice and the tears in his eyes. This has been hard on him , it is a wonder he does not have a nervous breakdown but I know he is resilient.   I imagine that if I had succeeded ,my husband will probably marry again . My daughter is young enough that she will bond with her step mother easily. My son on the other hand,  I wonder if he would accept any other woman in my stead . But I have faith in him . He will get by fine without me ,  he is a strong boy , he is sensitive and emotional like me but he also has his father’s resilience and strength . My sense of grief is too overwhelming for me . I have suffered too much loss for one lifetime , the world is just ugly shades of grey and I don’t feel wanted or needed nor can I trust anybody.  I just want it to end , once and for all . They have managed to save me this time but I am persistent, I will succeed…

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