I opened my eyes as I felt the warmth of sunlight on my face. My fingers searched for the blue sapphire locket hanging from my neck. “Good morning Mrinmayee”, I heard Tanmay’s voice. Tanmay was standing with his tea cup in his hand. I saw the curtains pulled apart to the sides. “How are you feeling?” Tanmay asked. I smiled faintly. The strips of sleeping pills on my bed side table remained witness of my sleepless night. I tried to feel the blue sapphire with my fingers again. Its presence helped me to forget the absence of Sid. My only son, whom I lost 2 months ago.
I washed my face and came out of the bathroom. Like every day I stood in front of Sid’s photograph. I could see his effervescent smile in the photograph, something which we hardly saw when he used to be at home. The photograph was taken during one of the performances of his band. My son was the star performer of his band. I touched his face in the photograph with my fingers. I felt the warmth of the blue sapphire. I whispered, “Happy birthday my son”. If Sid was alive he would be 18 today.
I heard Bruno’s voice as I entered the kitchen. I wanted to bake Sid’s favourite chocolate cake on his birthday. Suddenly I remembered Sid was not with us in his last two birthdays. He chose to spend the days with his friends. He was upset over the growing differences between me and Tanmay. He used to cry whenever we fought. During his last two years he remained conspicuously absent from home. My son changed for ever. We never saw the smile back on his lips again. When Tanmay and I decided to part our ways he did not say a thing. Not a word from him. We never understood what he went through until one day when I smelled the smoke in his room. It was late, I was late, too late to understand that my son had taken refuge in drugs.
My thoughts got interrupted by Bruno’s voice. I did not notice when Bruno entered the kitchen. Bruno was our pet Labrador. Sid’s best friend. When Sid was in his death bed, Bruno sat next to him all the time. Sid used to forget his pain, his sufferings for the moment whenever he was with Bruno.
Sometimes I thought Bruno had replaced us in Sid’s life. During his last days Sid had spent most of the time sleeping in his room. Tanmay brought him home when doctors gave their verdict. He did not want to leave his son alone in the hospital for a single moment.
Irrespective of the differences Tanmay and I had, how much ever we hated each other, I knew he loved his son more than anyone else. The day when Sid left us, Tanmay wept like a child clinging to his son’s body. But I did not cry, I could not cry. I took the blue sapphire locket that Sid wore all the time. I wore it. It smelt of my son. It felt as though he was with me.
Bruno seemed impatient. .After Sid was gone, Bruno was our only solace. We spent more time with him than before. I patted his head. Bruno started tugging at the end of my dress. I felt as if he was telling me to follow him. I tried to resist but he was not ready to give up. I relented. And I followed him. He led into Sid’s room. As I entered his room, a strong emotion ran inside me. I never entered his room after his death. I felt as if my son would come out of the bathroom right now. I felt his presence everywhere. All his stuff in their place only Sid was not there. I sat on his bed and clutched the pillow with my hand. I rubbed my nose in it. It smelt of medicine. It was in this room where Sid spent his last few days mostly confined to bed. I was lost in thoughts when I again felt Bruno pulling my dress. I did not try to resist this time. Bruno took me to one corner of the room. There was a dustbin tumbled over in the corner. I saw strips of medicine and some crumpled papers scattered on the floor. I felt so angry. No one had taken care to clean up his room. How could everyone be so careless! Suddenly I remembered even I did not enter this room since Sid breathed his last. I always had a feeling of guilt that it was because of me that Sid had to go. If I had been a good mother, my son would be with me today. I was going to call our domestic help when Bruno stood near the door. It seemed as if he was requesting me to clean the mess.
I went back to the corner and started cleaning. I was putting the things back into the bin when a crumpled paper caught my attention. I opened it slowly. I saw my son’s handwriting on it. It was a letter written by Sid to me.
I know I have disappointed you multiple times. I never listened to you. I always led my own life. I heard you and baba talking last night. I know my days are numbered. I want to say sorry to you before it’s too late.
Sorry maa for not telling you that I love you more than anyone else in this world. I often behaved rudely with you. I remember how miserable you felt when I was not at home on my birthdays. I still regret that and will regret that till my last breath. But believe me, when I came back home late in the night, I took the slice of that chocolate cake made by you from the fridge. And on the next day I put the blame on Bruno. I don’t know why I could not tell you that you and baba are my whole world. Maybe your never ending fights and differences never gave me the chance to express my feelings. I was s inking deep under the pressure of a broken home on the verge and suddenly one day one of my friends handed me that magical stuff we call drug which relieved me of all the pressure and helped me to get over that sinking feeling.
Maa, I never wanted to fall into that mud, I never wanted to get entrapped into the world of drugs but it is such a place which you can enter but you can never leave. I tried hard but I failed. I wanted to shine but most importantly I wanted to be the best son in the world. Sorry maa for failing you. I was little greedy, I wanted a complete family with you and baba. I was little selfish, I wanted to be with both of you. I felt jealous when I saw my friends with their family. I became vengeful when I could not make you and baba understand my feelings. I have never given you any scope to smile in this life. Maybe in the next life I can prove myself to you, maybe I will get you and baba together with me. I just want to let you know that you are the best mother in this world. And I want you as my mother in my next life and life after.
You know what an egoist I am. I would never be able to give this letter to you on my own. Forgive me for every single pain I caused to you and baba. I thought that way I would be able to take my revenge, I would be able to get both of your attention. But I was wrong. I never realized how much you two loved me. That day when baba came to my room, he thought I was sleeping. I did not open my eyes. He cried silently. He did not realize that one of the drops fell my hand. I also cried that day after he left my room. He would never know how much I wanted to hug him and say sorry to him.
Maa, thank you for being so patient, thank you for loving me unconditionally, thank you for being the best mother in the world.
Love you to the stars and back.
I sat in the same place with the letter in my hand. My eyes did not listen to me. Tears welled up. I felt a gentle touch on my shoulder. I knew it was Tanmay. The tears ran down my face with a sudden gushing force. Tanmay was sitting beside me. I held him tight and kept crying until I felt a strange calmness inside me after many days. I knew I was not a bad mother. My son loved me the way I loved him. I touched the sapphire locket. I brought it out from the deep recess of my chest. I saw it shining brightly in the morning Sun. I held it even more tightly. I felt it’s warmth.
I looked at Tanmay, took his hands in mine. “I want to make my son happy. I need you for that. I have abandoned our past. Can we start again? Let’s prove ourselves to our Sid. Let’s bring him back from the stars”. I felt a strong grip on my hand, a grip of assurance which told me that it would never let me go. I felt the warmth of tears drops on my hand. I felt the warmth of my blue pain.