The first time he had opened his eyes, Meera had fallen in love. In coming years, the connection was bonded with enough glue that she was sure nothing could separate her from him. Emotionally, at least.
She thought that her son would always look at her like she was his hero. She wasn’t a hero, though. Too common to ever become one. But the look in his eyes was always of worship. Of adoration, when he was younger and she believed they would always be the same.
Close and together, even though he was a million miles apart. She trusted that her son would always keep her close to his heart and remember her.
Time laughed at her abject desires. Petty woman, mothers! Time had called her with a sneer. And Time was right.
Vijay had neglected his mother for years. With a wife, life had become too busy to talk or meet his mother. In the continuous stream of life, he followed a path, different from his mother’s.
He had shortened the weekend calls to occasional. Sometimes he wondered whether his mother was crying on the other end when they talked. But he was a coward to ask her; to console.
When his baby girl was born, he was happy beyond belief. Once he looked into the eyes of her, he had fallen in love, just like how his mother had fallen for him. She had said so a thousand times, ‘The first time I saw your eyes, I know I will always love you.’ So simple, her words were, yet so profound.
The itch to meet his mother, to see her eyes, it had started to grow with each passing day. But with a child, life became too busy and he was still planning on a vacation to meet her.
Time had laughed at his misplaced trust. Humans! All too wrapped up in themselves to see that I wait for none. Time had laughed without mirth.
When he walked along her death procession, there were only tears. Tears of remembrance. Of the woman who had given everything for him. Her meals, her desires and her dreams. She had molded herself for him and he had taken it all and more. Never giving back anything. She hadn’t asked.
When he buried her deep in the Earth, he knew there was no absolution for him. It hurt him to know that he had thrown away the best thing in his life, because he knew she would be there. Even after his desertion.
Later that evening, when he was ready to go with his life, guilt still wrapped around like a cover over his heart, a woman next door came and gave him a paper.
‘I loved you the first time I saw you and I never stopped loving. And don’t you cry, I was happy before death came for me.’
She had given him a way out of guilt. Even before he had asked.