Rita.

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The mountains in the background of
this gentle abode of mine
appear hazy to the weakening eyes
that saw everything but today rest in the care
of the only one who is worried enough
to care about- Rita.
There is some despair that has nested in my heart today
I can’t figure out why. Maybe, someday I’ll be happier
when I have my husband and he will crack his jokes.
Even then, even then, it will be despondent as
he will laugh out loud so much that the air
is palpable with a, strangely sad happiness, the knowledge
that the people we took care of,
we loved, we nurtured, the brought to this world
have forgotten us as we have tried to.
But I know why I feel it today as I see everyday,
some four-five unfortunate souls who are brought here,
who made the mistake of assuming that blood is thicker than water
and that somewhere down the line,
only people of same flesh and blood are
there for you. It’s just the nostalgia, just the beginning
as you come to the realize that sometimes,
promises one makes are false and the days that one had spent- futile.
Then comes the denial, the sad bitter truth
you know is true but you cannot accept, like a cancer patient
who knows that what is killing him is himself,
but also knows that humans are selfish and they can never
hurt themselves: the two paradoxes, truer than the truth
of the sun rises in east.
Finally, we knock on the doorstep of acceptance,
the truth which you have to swallow like an ugly pill that hurts at first,
but ultimately only lessens your pain. Which comes with a tang of guilt
as we know that somewhere, it must have been our fault
because our children are the sapphire and the diamonds of our lives,
and all that glitters is gold. Today, I feel the bitter pill of acceptance coming up.
With that internal and theoretical monologue in mind,
I make my way to the house that has been my home for the past seven years
and despite the melancholy I feel today, I feel
a smile make it’s home on my mouth as I see the silhouette I recognize
so perfectly- Rita. I grapple her shoulders and she turns to kiss
both my cheeks and says, in her chirpy voice,
“Aunty, you grow prettier by the year, your seventy-ninth
is even more glamorous than your seventy-eighth.”
And then, she puts the small cake in front of me
and all my friends at this old-age centre gather around
and clap as I weakly blow the candles,
when Rita says, “No aunty, make your wish.”
And my head goes back to all those small gifts
that I bought for my kids on their birthdays and the delight
on their faces and their faces when they realized that
their mother had probably become senile
after their father’s death and the relief,
evident when they dropped me here
and then I see Rita’s face looking at me,
so sincere, so innocent that I just wish,
God bless this angel.

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