Days passed slowly. Summers and springs came and went. Winters creeped and crawled, making life boring indoors. Yet, the warmth of the people who love you can make the hardest and unpleasant times pass off! But what when the earth has shaken and destroyed the very soul?
Sam and Ewan were in their last year of school. Ewan couldn’t think of studying full time in a college. He had to take up the little confectionary/bakery his parents had started in the village.
After his father’s death, three years ago, his mother had taken up the responsibility and didn’t let Ewan do much, except help her in the festive seasons. But now he had to take it up.
Rhea was twelve years old and she usually kept unwell due to her asthma. Ewan knew he would have to become a man. The bread winner for the home. And he knew with mom and Sam with him, he’d do it.
When he discussed with Sam, she was fine with his taking up the responsibility of the bakery but she suggested that he could go for some distance or online learning programmes.
So, your brain does come in use sometimes! he had said on hearing it, while they sat on the porch steps of his house. It was a beautiful spring evening. With cool breeze trying to soothen their bubbling spirits.
Yeah! When yours isn’t working, I need to keep it in spare. I don’t waste its energy like you do. she had said with a smirk.
Mine is always working! He replied uncaring.
Yeah! Overworked so doesn’t work when needed.
No one can argue with you Sam! You’re unbeatable! He remarked.
People should accept advice not argue at every thing. She said and pushed him hard. He fell down the step and landed on the ground. Elbow scraped and mud sticking to the arm.
Sammmmm!! He screamed and sat upright.
But she was off in a jiffy. She got up, collected the overflowing cloth of her purple skirt and rushed inside to mom. Now she was in a safe zone. Nothing could touch her there. Mom was a fortress around her and Rhea. And they adored her for all the love she showered on them.
Mom was fumbling with the forks and spoons as she laid them down for dinner. Sam signalled Ewan to make him realize that some thing was bothering his mother. He slowly held her hand as she laid the plates for her children and Sam.
Mom! What happened? Ewan asked softly.
Nothing Ewan. Nothing at all. Call the girls for dinner please. She answered controlling her emotions.
Ewan pulled her slowly towards the chair and made her sit. He bent down before her, sitting with his folded legs on the floor. He saw Sam slowly creep away towards the kitchen. She would keep Rhea busy while he spoke to his mother. She knew something wasn’t right. And she needed no word to tell her what to do next. He smiled within himself. Oh how lucky he was to have Samantha in his life!
Sam and Rhea are in the kitchen. Rhea wanted to make some dessert, and Sam will be helping her. Tell me mom, what’s wrong? He questioned her again, in a comforting tone.
He knew times when he had to remain the child and when to become the man of the house. Now, his mother needed a man to help her and console her. To help her face the situation whatever she was in.
Oh Ewan! How proud I am of you! I don’t know what I would have done in your absence. I am so glad to have a son like you. She spoke with moistened eyes. Little did she know that he had learnt some of it from her and some from Sam.
Mom! Cmon now! Tell me! He cajoled her further.
She smiled and spoke in a soft manner.
Ever since your dad died, you grandma has always kept us at bay. I was broken too and so was she. But instead of joining me in bringing up both of you, she preferred to stay at her mansion and broke off all the family ties with us. I think you remember seeing them…
Yes mom, I do! Ewan replied confused.
Well, two days back she had a massive heart attack and is counting her moments on the earth. Grandpa called me to inform about her condition.
Why do they want to tell us now? Ewan asked angrily.
He remembered how his grandparents had abandoned them after his father’s death. Grandpa was an old man, and helpless before grandma. While she with her pointed nose and high handed attitude, always looked down upon them.
He had wished if they had been a little considerate and helped his mother when she was hit by the storm of life. She’d unexpectedly lost her love, her beloved husband. That gesture of theirs had made his mother grow nearly ten years older than she was.
Hardships change man in so many ways. And his mother had faced many hardships, causing her to change so much.
She wants to see you and Rhea! Mother replied softly. She isn’t well and according to grandpa, she insists on seeking you two. Her little grandchildren. And I have decided that we must go!
Why should we mom? Ewan moaned with inability to understand what his mother was thinking.
Maybe not as your grandmother but if we think as humans, a dying person’s wish shouldn’t be rejected outright Ewan. I want to fulfill my duties son. Please! She pleaded with tears falling from her eyes.
When do we need to go mom? Ewan asked, he had to make arrangements. He couldn’t cause pains to his mother. If she wanted to, he couldn’t say no.
Let’s see in a day or two! She replied.
Fine then! I’ll pick up train schedule and we will leave in a day or two. Are you happy now? Ewan asked wiping away the tears from his mother’s face.
Rising up the floor, he stood and then smiled. Now can we have dinner? My stomach could start grumbling anytime!
Mother had a smile on her face and she walked into the kitchen and called for Sam and Rhea.
Both of them had prepared some fudge while they had been speaking.
While leaving Sam home, walking along the two alleys which separated our homes, Ewan told her about the sudden plan. She was totally shocked but understood that it meant a lot for mom.
Her words while she left Ewan at the doorsteps, kept whirling in his mind, while he made the bookings, the packing, the traveling.
Her words kept ringing in his mind and ears. The pain with which she said them, made Ewan wonder why did she feel so!
Her words which were echoing within the void he felt away from her, were: Don’t leave me alone Ewan. Only you can keep me safe, always.
When Ewan asked her why she felt unsafe, she said she had no idea. It just blurted out of her mouth and asked Ewan to not worry much about her.
Why did she say that? Why was she so apprehensive?
What was she fearing?