two different planets

“What do you mean by saying you missed me?” Appa was looking at me.
“I missed all those times with you Appa. Remember the time you took us to buy ice cream from the Milma shop? We had so much fun that day”
I remembered that day very well. Appa took my sisters and I to the Milma shop in front of Kottayam post office and bought us ice cream. He had warned us to behave properly, that included how to eat the ice cream properly. Still when I thought he wasn’t looking, I licked the ice cream from the waxed paper cover on top of the ice cream cup. I thought Appa didn’t see me licking the cover.
After we had the ice cream when we were walking back home, we passed by the roasted peanut seller who used to have his push cart near the Vidyarthimithram press. Four of us knew there was no way Appa would buy ice cream and peanut on the same day, still we nudged Sally and made her ask Appa to buy us peanuts.
Appa had bought peanuts for us and when he handed me my paper cone filled with roasted salted peanuts, he told me
ithintey cover thinnu nee enney nattikkaley!! (Don’t embarrass me by eating the paper cone!)
I could still picture the sheepish grin on Appa’s face and how I hoped the earth would open up and swallow me.
I remembered how my sisters pestered Appa to tell them why he spoke to me like that. Appa never told them. I knew why. I knew I was his favourite daughter.
We walked back home. Sally was tired, so Appa carried her and he held Liza’s hand.I wanted to hold Appa’s hand and I remembered fighting with Liza, so I could hold Appa’s hand. And Appa let me hold his hand. How proud I was that day because Appa didn’t tell my sisters my secret and he let me hold his hands.
I wondered why Amma didn’t come with us that day? Then I remembered why? She was at home with an ice pack on her face, desperately trying to remove the signs of spousal abuse, so she could go back to work the next day. Appa bought ice cream for us as a peace offering.
And I ate every single drop of that ice cream. I even licked the cover. Damn! I muttered.
I looked at my father standing in front of me. I looked at his hand. How many times had this man hit my mother with his hand? How many times he tried to strangle Amma? And I wanted to hold his hand? I fought, so I could hold his hand?
Gosh, why didn’t I think? Why did I not see the whole picture? I rubbed my hands on my dress subconsciously, hoping I could rub off those moments I held his hand.I felt sick, for only remembering what I wanted to remember.
“You really remember those times?” Appa was staring at me
“Yes” I replied
Yes Appa, I remember every damn minute, You really thought I wouldn’t remember anything? You thought your children forget everything? I wanted to ask Appa that.
“So tell me, what is your fondest memory?” Appa asked
I didn’t want to answer. All of a sudden I was afraid to remember any more. My memories are fast becoming a night mare. My memories are the Pandora’s box and I had no idea what else was hiding behind those precious moments I shared with my father.
“There were so many” I replied hoping to avoid any further discussion. I wanted to sleep. May be all this was a nightmare. May be when I wake up in the morning everything would be fine. May be I won’t wake up in the morning. I didn’t want to wake up. My life was the nightmare!
I felt sorry for all those times I hurt Amma. I felt sorry for all those times I didn’t stand by my mother. I felt sorry for all those times I never tried to understand her.
All I wanted was to hug Amma and tell her that I am sorry for not being there. But I knew it wasn’t possible. Amma and I, we lived on two different planets

2 thoughts on “two different planets

  1. Can’t imagine how torn you must have been feeling trying to keep everybody together. You trying to keep your own soul warm while everything/everyone else around you wanting pieces of you and freezing it cold.
    I know you must be a very sensitive mom who reads her kids well.

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