How Growing Up Without a Mother Felt Like

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When I was 5
My clothes had more pinks than blues.
He thought that
Like all daughters, his daughter also likes pink.
No blue to make me feel like a boy once
And no black for me to be bold.
Just pink.
Like the missing color of your cheeks.

When I turned 9
He got me a doll.
It was my age to read Alice in Wonderland
And not to play with dolls,
Which failed at filling the spaces of games
I never got to play with you.
Why did you die?
Why couldn’t you wait for me to turn 22?

When I turned 12
He didn’t get me the clothes I required.
I couldn’t ask my friend,
she was just asked to wear them
Until aunt Annie came
and got me those off white color bras
replacing the inner I used to wear.
Father didn’t warn me about young boys in school,
Who tried getting close to my growing body
Until one day I told aunt Annie,
how my senior tried pressing my hips to his body.
Maa, aunt Annie was there
But she could never take your place.
I could never go to her when I felt miserable at night.

When I turned 14
I bled on my sheets for the first time.
I had no one to tell me why that blood came.
And the first time I wore a skirt after bleeding for nights
on those dull sheets,
They blamed my character.
‘A motherless daughter is like that, valueless’ they said.
But when they saw the creases on my forehead,
Or tears behind those eyes
They blamed the love I never happened to be in.
They blamed the love I never delved in.
Instead of your absence.
And it was during those times that I decided,
Not to die,
If ever I give birth to a girl child.

When I turned 18
I felt conscious of my existence and your absence.
Young girls out with their mothers,
While I sat with Hard Times and Oliver Twist curled inside a blanket.
There was nobody to tell me that guys don’t matter.
That I should liberate myself from all that contains me.
That I need to focus on myself and my thoughts more,
than how I look.
And a handsome guy should not be my goal.
But maa, I wasn’t the girl sharing #goals on Facebook and Instagram,
I knew that people leave (since you died).
And I knew that their absence and memories hurt even more than their leaving.
AND I KNEW
That life is all about us,
An individual.
I was my main goal since then.
I had enough pain of not having you.
I didn’t want more.
Experience taught me lessons maa!

And now when I am 20,
I carry inside my heart some promises
You never made to me and yourself.
I hold beneath my skin a fear of being like you,
Absent.
and now, when all my senses have come to life
I miss your whispers in my ear when I was just 1,
I miss the sound of your footsteps coming towards me
and I hidden under the table.
Oh you would never see me under that!
Hiding.
But sometimes I wish I had not hid myself,
Wish,
to come and stand in front of you, giggling.
I would have had a better chance of seeing you
A clearer sight of you and not a blurred one
Which I now carry at the back of my mind.
Your portraits aren’t helpful
They carry pictures of yours
When you looked young, smiling at the camera.
You must have been a little older now
Had you been alive, maa!
But tell me if I was there when the picture hanging on my wall was clicked?
Somewhere near dad?
Were you smiling at me?
Did I ever make you happy?
Did you hold me when you were dying?
Did the sight of me make you feel like you should live?
A little longer?
Maa.

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8 thoughts on “How Growing Up Without a Mother Felt Like

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