(A sequel to No.)
It was a bleak December, probably one of the first Decembers that she was going to remember for the rest of her life. Moriya and Morris sat on the couch, waiting for the Fajr Adhaan to hit their ears so that they could intend for another fast and go to sleep after offering prayers. Moriya fell asleep, and her mother shook her to senses. “Wake up! Go do ablution again. Gosh I told you not to fall asleep! The water is freezing cold.” All that Moriya could see was the moving set of lips of her mother, not knowing what she was saying but being aware of the fact that she was annoyed. She got up and prayed and went to bed. This was going to be a normal childhood memory for the next fifteen years.
As the aroma of a well cooked tea filled the atmosphere of the kitchen, Moriya went to the fridge to get some milk to prepare three cups of tea for the guests that her family had over their place. She held the pot tightly and poured out the tea into a cup. Just as she was about to move on to the next cup, she somehow dropped the pot onto her right leg and foot. It took a few minutes before she could realize what had happened, since all her mind was thinking about was the mess that she had created and the scoldings that were yet to be received. Tears trickled down her face and her mother came running towards the kitchen. Moriya could not feel her skin. It felt as if two sand papers were being rubbed together. As if her skin had paper cuts and someone was trying to soothe them with a paste of red chilli powder and lemon juice. Her mother rushed her to her bedroom and ripped her pjs open and emptied a tube of toothpaste on her burnt skin. Moriya had stopped crying. Seeing her mother worried gave her a sense of satisfaction for some reason. She reminded her mother of the mess. Her mother told her not to worry. “Not to worry?”, Moriya questioned herself in the back of her mind. “You’re not angry?”, Moriya asked her mother. “No I’m not. Shush. You burned yourself. Don’t get up from the bed.”, she replied. Few hours later, half of Moriya’s foot had a bubble made out of skin on it. Two days later, she tried to pop it and it worked. She had a thing for bandages, so she helped herself and did it her own way. A few hours later, her foot started to swell. She didn’t pay attention to it. The skin under her DIY bandage started to itch and she tried to take it off. That’s when Moriya realized that she had made a mistake. The cotton wouldn’t come off. She told her parents. They took her to a doctor where the cotton was removed and she was given a new bandage to wear. She couldn’t walk much with that wound and pain, so her mother told a friend of hers to pick and drop Moriya to and from her school so that she doesn’t miss her classes. Moriya forgot to thank her mother.
Moriya was heading for higher education when her mother was diagnosed with a lethal disease. She had stopped whining and taking notice of small things that used to be big for her. She lost the will to be happy, but she could still pretend to be happy for people around her. Sherry, a school friend, contacted Moriya again after a year to ask her if they could meet at a university event. Moriya agreed and they met at the given time and place. She was heading home when she fell somehow and injured her knee. It felt as if she was pulled down towards Earth, as if the Earth’s crust wanted to engulf her entire being. She could feel blood running down her calf but she couldn’t do anything about it. She wanted to cry, but she knew that crying couldn’t heal any of her wounds, not now, not ever. Moriya got home and rung the door bell. Her mother answered it. “Are you alright?”, Moriya’s mother asked her considering her quiet behavior. “Yes. I’m fine.”, Moriya smiled. Mothers. They know things because they just know things. Moriya got a disinfectant, an ointment and some cotton balls and went to change into normal clothes. There was blood on her knee. There was blood on her pjs. But for the first time, seeing blood didn’t scare her. She carefully cleaned the wound and applied some polyfax on it. Time passed and it was the next day. She came home and met her mother’s watchful eyes. “What’s wrong?”, Moriya’s mother interrogated. “Nothing?”, Moriya tried to cover it up. “Are you sure? You’ve been walking in a weird way since yesterday.”, she insisted on knowing what was going on with her daughter. “Yeah. I think I’m tired.”, Moriya replied. “Tiring in itself can’t exactly give you swollen feet. What’s on your knee?”, she stroke again. Moriya had forgotten to change her clothes before sitting in front of her mother. Due to constant crustiness and de-crustiness of the wound, blood was now visible on her pjs. “Oh. That. I don’t know from where I got it. I’ll wash it don’t worry.”, Moriya was in deep shit. “Show me. You’re lying. Show me if what you’re saying is true.”, she had been caught red handed where she herself couldn’t have imagined. Moriya showed her the wound and her mother started to cry. “But its so bad! Does it hurt? A lot? Why didn’t you tell me I could have done something oh God my poor baby!”, Moriya’s mother didn’t know how to express her feelings in a concise manner. “Yeah I didn’t want to worry you. I’m fine. Its nothing.”, Moriya tried to calm her down. “You are not going to university until your pain and this swelling goes away.”, she decided and left. Moriya felt loved and worthy of love in that very moment. She was going to have the scar of that wound for a really long time, and there were more scars to come her way. Pain was never going to go away. Not any longer.
“But you could try to feel, right? I’m really concerned about you.”, Moriya and her mother were having an argument when her mother said this. Moriya replied, “You need to be emotionless to survive in this pathetic world, mum.” Her mother listened to her and thought for a while, then went on,”But if everyone starts to think like that, there’ll be no warmth left.” Moriya looked at her in astonishment and then said, “I’m not harming anyone with my behavior. I just don’t allow anyone or anything to get to my head. And its pretty helpful. You should try it. You have a really gooey heart, try getting a shield on it. I don’t like it when people say hurtful things to you and you forgive them even if they don’t apologize.” Moriya’s mother smiled at her daughter who had seen a lot at a very young age. “You are harming yourself. Honey, if I acted like everyone else out there, there would be no difference left between them and me. I’d rather be different.”, she smiled and stroked Moriya’s hair. She continued, “You are not like this, Moriya. You never were. You are a sensitive person at heart. Don’t be so cold. That crazy sunny warmth inside you, it will die of cold and I can’t let that happen.” Moriya stared blank at her mother. She was right. But she was also being emotional. Emotional and rational approaches collide, so did Moriya’s and her mothers’ views. She kissed Moriya’s forehead and left to go to bed. It had been a rough day, but Moriya was yet to see more of them.
“I saw it coming. Is it acceptable that I saw it coming?”, Moriya looked at her tear-drenched face in the mirror. Her mother had passed away after losing her battle to cancer. “Two decades. Just two decades. I needed more time.”, Moriya said to herself. She washed her face. Memories came crashing in and beat up her mind. She accepted it, but it was a void that could never be filled. So many memories in the memory of her, who could have known. Moriya was grief stricken, she could feel after all. Moriya now knew, numbness was also a feeling.