I want to talk! -short story
I woke up to my alarm clock around 7:30 a.m., the fourth of the five alarms I had set. I turned the alarm off and looked around my room. Nothing had changed in the three days I had been in bed. My fan continued to blow cold, stale air in my direction, just hard enough to cause my hair to move. I sensed a weird scent in my room, I looked around to notice a bouquet of dried roses. There were two three letters piled up beside the bouquet that my friends had sent me in the last two days. They were all staring back at me, almost begging me to open them up. However, I knew I wasn’t getting up, not even if I wanted to. I had not been out of bed since I got back from the doctor’s office. I thought about the appointment I had as I glanced at the pill bottle I was given, which still sat unopened next to my bed. I thought about the bandages on my wrists as the doctor talked with my parents and me in her office. I only remember feeling my maid taking my hand and squeezing it, telling me “Sab theek ho jayega, sahib .”
As I was recalling these events I heard a knock at the door — it was my mother. She entered the room with a very kind smile on her face and walked over to my bed and sat down. I saw that she too made a glance toward the untouched pill bottle, and reached for it. I knew what she wanted me to do, but I wanted no part of it. She extended her hand towards me with a pill clenched in an almost fist. I stared at her for a while and saw as her eyes were almost pleading with me to take the pill.
I did not want to take it but I did, for the sake of my mother’s satisfaction I opened my mouth and swallowed the pill with a swig of water, my mother stared at me with a smile as if she expected it would take effect instantly. My mother gave me a hug and a smile.
“Tell me what’s up?” she asked.
“Nothing.” I replied with my head down avoiding eye contact.
“If you are going to lie at least try to make it convincing.”
I looked up at her, she still had this calming smile, I put my head down again.
“You know you can talk to me, right?” She tried again. “I know you might think I won’t understand maybe because of my attitude before, but I assure you, I am here now for you.”
Her words made me overwhelmed. I raised my head again. She still had that smile, that caring expression. I was trying hard to fight off my tears. But you are always vulnerable with your mother.
“I don’t know what to say” I tried to open up.
She opened her mouth but no words came out, almost like she was waiting for the words to come out on their own. I realized this was tough for her too.
“Why didn’t you ever tell anyone about it?” she finally asked. I sat quietly for a few seconds before I muttered: “I didn’t think anyone would understand or care.”
I could tell she was staring right at me without even looking at her.
“That’s crazy!” she finally said, “I care about you, we all do. You have plenty of people who care about you.”
I shook my head slightly in disagreement. It was hard for me to hear that someone actually cared about me, no matter how much I wanted to believe it.
She put her arms around me and said, “Everyone deals with this type of pain at some point, maybe not on a clinical level, but other people know how this feels too.” Again I remained silent. “I know things seem bad right now, but you have an opportunity to try and get back to the old you,” she said.
“You mean by taking those pills,” I mumbled.
She just looked at me and said “Yes, a lot of people did not have the opportunity to make it as far as you have. They didn’t get the opportunity to get help with their problems. I am always here to talk, beta. It is okay to be not okay. You don’t have to keep it all inside of you. If you have anything to say, just talk to me. There are people who care for you, that are worried about you. You need to start sharing.”
I sat there in thought, for what seemed like an eternity, about everything I had just heard. I thought about the people that really do care about me, how the people that care were suffering too. It never occurred to me that my presence had such an impact on so many people. It felt an odd feeling come over me that I had not felt in quite some time, and she could tell. “See, “ she said with a smile, “You know that everything I’ve said is true. You matter more than you will ever know to so many people. And they all want to have the old you back. But most importantly I want back the old you.” After she said that she ruffled my hair, stood up, and began to walk towards the door.
Before she could open the door I let out a tearful “Thank you, for this conversation Maa, I miss you too.” I turned my attention towards a mirror that was attached with the wardrobe in my room. I saw myself, the old me. He looked so happy to see me smiling, and I began to feel happiness for the first time in a long time. “I’m looking forward to seeing you soon” I said.
Almost as soon as the door closed the door re-opened with my mother returning again on the other side. “Who were you talking to?” she questioned. I paused for a moment then looked at her with a smile. This time there was no smile on her face, the caring expression was gone, her face was devoid f any emotion at all. I just shaked my head and muttered: “No one”.
“And take those pills already, Do you even realize how much your visits has been costing us? Just take those pills” She said with a expression of disgust.
I rolled over to grab my pill bottle and inhaled deeply before popping it in my mouth and swallowing it. I crawled back into my sheets, facing the mirror again. I saw the boy staring back at me, this time with tears in his eyes.