The early morning’s sunlight seeped in through the curtains. A little bird perched on the window sill; butterflies drifting smoothly in the fresh air for it was spring, the season when all forms of life rejuvenate. She was more than elated. Her joy knew no bounds when she looked into those dark hazel eyes. His tiny fingers clutched her thumb and those wax legs moved frantically kicking the air. He gurgled softly as he stared back at her and she remained transfixed. He was an exact replica of his father except for those eyes which gleamed with innocence. She gently caressed his delicate face. Her maternal instincts now towering within her. She was determined to protect him from the vicious world. She wasn’t the innocent helpless wife anymore, evolving into a “strong mother”. They had taken away her husband but no, she wouldn’t let lay a finger on her child. Her gentle lips touched the soft red cheeks of her baby as tears trickled down her cheeks. They were the tears that signified the transformation of a defenseless lamb into a ferocious lioness ready to face any trifle for her cub.

The tiny sapling had grown into a tree. The baby birds flapped their wings gracefully and soared into the sky. A handsome young man looked lovingly at his mother as she cupped his face and kissed him on the forehead. Her tired face and strands of grey in the hair did not change the fact she was the loveliest woman for him. He adored her for she was his world; She had filled in the emptiness of a father. Every penny for him was earned by her sweat. And now it was his responsibility to shoulder. She wanted to hold on to him forever, he was her only family. But she understood that he must rise on his own now and was willing to wait for his return as a great man. A spirit of determination could be seen in his eyes. The promising look of a young man who would return someday and welcome her to a life more comforting. He left. She kept waving at him till the bend of the road until she could just see the dust from the carriage.

From that day the sole motive of her life was to see her son again. Her only entertainment, his letters which came every fortnight. She quenched her thirst with his memories and her hunger with his letters. But eventually as months passed by and so did years but not a soul to visit her. The letters had started dwindling in numbers. Time raced its chariot and took its toll. Her sagging skin, stooping figure and those dark eyes gave hints of the faded remnants of a true beauty. Autumn had approached. The leaves had changed their colours. A brown leaf which had once been green flew in through the window for it had been set free from its parent. The earth wore a white gown now. Life, now dormant. The fire too was dying out as the cold air filled in the tiny hut. On the bed lay a tiny figure curled up in a torn blanket trying hard to keep the warmth. Her falling health crippled her to the bed. Despite all “the mother” dragged on with a bleak hope that her son would return. A gust of wind blew into her hut. The fire soared up high and was extinguished. Tears streamed down the wrinkles on her face. A bird on the sill flew away, and a letter floated out of the window and landed on the snow outside. It was dated a year back. It read:

“Dear Mother,

I am enjoying my life out here. I have found the love of my life. She has been my bundle of joy. Never have I laid my eyes on a woman more beautiful. She waited for me a long time, now we are married and settled in the city. We will meet you soon.

Your loving son”

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Amitesh Mohanty

Amitesh Mohanty