Remember that boring evening at work? You stuck in your office, me in mine? And that sudden coffee plan? Barista at 8. See you there.
Should have known then what a bundle of lateness you are. I finished reading a two whole chapters of my book before you walked through that door, bag in tow, hair swishing. "Sorry Moodles. Got stuck."
"It's ok, I say," smiling. One really can't be mad at you, can one?
We spoke that evening. A lot. Chatter chatter. About what? Nothing of consequence. Work. Colleagues. Gossip about cabbages and kings. And did we wonder whether pigs have wings? We must have.
Coffee. That's how it always starts. Why didn't we do more coffee trips when I was around? Oh yes, it's always been work.
Never mind that now.
Fate made me move to a different city. You were heartbroken at seeing me go. I, at leaving you behind. Should I have packed you in that suitcase like I'd planned? I should have when I'd the chance. See? I'm not always impulsive.
I promised never to lose sight of you. I promised I'd be there. I promised to do all I could, to stop you from hurting. Wishing I could have all of your pain. Friends? We were beyond that years ago. Soon, you became my son. Me, your overprotective mommy. "Sleep. Get some rest. Eat on time. Don't smoke so much," and all that. Did it bother you? I hope not.
Being your mother, a full time job I loved. I wanted to envelope you in my love. Protect you from the big, bad world. A mother fawning over her little baby. Apart from the fact that I didn't give birth to you, all the motherly instincts were there. I felt normal. I felt like a woman. Responsible for her cub, shielding you from the eyes of the world. Fiercely protective. You were just mine.
Maybe I overdid that bit, in hindsight. Somewhere, I lost the plot. You were not my son, I, not your mother. Happy realisation. Too late. You were not mine for keeps. I had no right to be jealous. I had no right to keep you chained.
But all I did was want to see you happy. All I ever wanted was to grow old together. With you. Live in that palatial house by the sea, which you'd sell your kidney to buy for me. That's ok. About the kidneys, I mean. That's what two kidneys are for. And no, no dog named Gaffurbhai would run in the passages of our home. Shh. No arguments. My word is the law. Because mother knows best.
So what happened? We lived together, we loved together. Sometimes each other. Sometimes other people. But we loved. And we laughed. And sobbed. And hugged. And we sang. And we cheered. Life was good. I had you. And you had me, or so I thought.
Why the past tense now? Why the end, when the beginning seems like just yesterday? Where did time lose us? Where did we lose time? Where did we lose ourselves? Where did I lose you?
I don't know you anymore. And much as I'd like you to, you don't know me. We stopped being a team. When? And when did the tears replace the laughter? Over and over? Why didn't I ever notice?
I was busy. Chasing my dreams. Making new acquaintances. In a different part of the world. You were there. Was I there for you? I now doubt. Like I now doubt everything else. Love, friendship, top that list.
You're gone. And there's nothing I can do about it. 'We' died a pernicious, cancerous death. And now all that's left behind? A black hole. Where happiness goes in, never comes back out. Seeped in. Sucked in. We died a gory death.
This is not the death I ordered, God. Wait, I never ordered one. Trust you to mess up, as always, you interfering pile of trouble.
A cup of coffee stares at me now. Half drunk. It has unfinished business. Coffee. That's how it always starts. But it can end in two ways, mind you. One, you drink it all up. Feel happy. Refreshed.
Or, two, you pour away its cold, forgotten remains. Then you wonder. How would you have felt if you hadn't forgotten to consume it?
And the coffee on my table? I forgot to finish it. Left it behind. The warmth is now gone. What remains behind is a sad, watery, sickening taste of caffeine.
I get up. Pour it away. Watch its remains flow down the sink. With the other hand, I wipe a silent tear that forces its way out of my eye.
Goodbye, my son.
I love you.