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Despair

I wrote this almost exactly 10 years ago… and 5 years had passed relating to the events that were the ‘inspiration’ for the story below. Not much has changed in this decade and a half….. The possibility of self-injury always looms overhead…

29th September, ’01

DESPAIR

The sounds of the kids calling his name drew her to the window. “Harsha, don’t.” they yelled. “Your mother will scream”. She could see them now, hovering around him, but keeping a safe distance as he flung his chappals and his ball over the wall, his face set and stormy. He kicked at his bike and twisted its fender. “Where does he get this strength from?” she wondered. His puny frame did not suggest such might.

What was it this time? She ran through all the possibilities. They hadn’t changed much over the years. He would have told a tall tale and they would have made fun of him. He would not understand what they said, but guess that he was being ridiculed. And he would lash out. Lash out at what was dearest to him. She knew she would have bruises to show for it tomorrow. Her heart was heavy as she raced down the stairs, wanting to gather him to her. Wanting to kiss him and make the hurt go away. It had been so easy when he was a little baby. Every one thought he was so cute, and tiny with that ever ready grin on his face. He was so easy to love then. Nobody expected him to do anything then. It was enough that he WAS.

But that was then. Now he was just a messed up, funny looking man-child, as short as other 12 year olds, but with a half-grown beard. People were uncomfortable around him. Most kids didn’t want to play with him and when they did it was because he brought the bat and the ball or shared his bike or brought them home to play with his LEGO. She hated them then, for using her dear child. Yet she never drove them away, because she was not enough for him. He needed them – they were his playmates.

She’d reached ground level now and was still running. She had to get to him before he did himself any harm. She worried about that. “ Maushi, see what Harsha’s done to his bike”. He’s even thrown away his chappals, and is ripping off the basket”. That basket meant a lot to him. He’d had Geetutai help him get it and had proudly brought home the groceries. Okay so it was just bread and milk, but it was one errand taken care of. He pushed her away as she reached him. The little monsters were still complaining about all his misdeeds. She knew they expected her to let him have it. Well, that was one satisfaction she wasn’t going to give them. Trying to shield herself from the blows that were now directed at her, she pulled him towards herself and headed back to the stairs. He was weeping bitterly now, some of the anger spent.

She wept too.

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