That is the day I will never forget. I don’t think anyone can. It was my son’s first day of college. The day he sets out to stand on his own two feet, the first step of the journey. He came back with an usually large saccharinely sweet smile on his face and told me his first day of college was just great when asked. He plonked his bag on the sofa and went to have a bath. He came out, I took a towel and dried his hair. As I was toweling his hair, I put on my most twisted face and asked him if there were any girls in college that caught his fancy. He scrunched his eyebrows and crooned a long NO in reply.
At dinner that night, we spoke, we spoke about a million things. There’s never a dull moment in our house. All three of us are quite the chatty type. My husband about his day at work infused with a lot of his usual humour that his boss wouldn’t really appreciate. I spoke about my work and the little shopping trip I took with my friends from work. He told us about the university, the teachers, but apparently, not everything..
He had the phenomenal ability of making both of us laugh. Be it the faces he made, the stuff he said, he was a delight. Now I’ve heard so many mothers complain about their teenage boys, never once, even on my worst of days, would you hear me complain about him. It’s not because I’m the type who doesn’t complain, oh no, my husband begs to differ; it’s just my son was so mature. Just so mature. Too mature.
He never complained, he had his occasional demand for the few things he needed, but that was it. He hugged me before he went to sleep, he cheered me up when his father and me had a fight. He was a perfect child.
I laid down breakfast, walking in my pajamas and furry bedroom slippers, balancing my coffee in one hand and the plate of toasted bread on the other. I felt just too lazy, so bread and butter it was. I wish I was a stay-at-home mom so I would get time to make a proper breakfast and get time with him. I knocked on his door, he was still sleeping. He had obviously ignored my screaming and shouting over his (already) loud alarm. I went to the foot of his bed and tickled to soles of his feet, he twitched and resisted. It was time for the ULTIMATE, I pulled the sheets off him. He moaned loud and sat up. I kissed his forehead and walked out of his room. Would it have made a difference if I stayed a little longer? I don’t know, I never will.
All dressed and handsomed up, he comes and sits for breakfast. I should have sat there and spoke to him, maybe he just needed someone to talk to? But I didn’t do that. I went to get dressed myself and prepared myself for the drudgery of the day ahead.
We locked the house, and left at the same time. I should have given him one last hug. I wish I didn’t release him from that hug, so he’d still be with me. My husband got into his car and I followed, I waved at him..
It was a busy day at work, and it was finally over by sunset. I took a taxi back home, waiting to get back to my son. If I did, here’s what I’d see.
Near his limp pale body, there it lay. A love note.
“Dear mom and dad,
I’m sorry. “
I grabbed my bag and walked as fast my feet could take me. I promised to take him out for pizza tonight. See, that’s the thing, my friends complain their kids don’t spend time with them. They’re always out with friends and doing things they’re not exactly proud of. I love him to bits and pieces for what he is.
It was drizzling, I covered my head with my scarf and walked to the taxi stand. I got into the first one that stopped, and yelled out the address (like the decibel of my voice was going to make the taxi go any faster!) but anyway I did. The taxi guy was quite the chatty fellow. I’d rather he drove faster and spoke lesser. I told him to step on it. The windows were rolled down so the wind was fondling my hair and tickling my neck. I smiled.
We just crossed a signal, and suddenly I saw a light in the distance. I saw a 2 second slideshow of my whole life in front of me. And then I saw nothing.