Image courtesy: The Anonymous Writer linked below.
Maria used to work with for the local politician’s wife, as her personal assistant. She used to work late and often didn’t have time to meet her ten-year old son Jason. Her husband had left her and Jason when he was just 2 years old. He was taken care of by Grandma as Granddad was older and frailer. She used to report to work at 8 and be home by 9pm. The political couple had twin kids as well. Maria often used to be a babysitter for them as well, when their nanny would call in sick. Maria enjoyed those days. Oh how she missed cradling her own son Jason while he was young. The time spent with the twins compensated the loss she felt for not being there for Jason.
The twins were almost 2 years old and they could walk and would run to Maria when she arrived to work every morning. Maria also reciprocated the same. She remembered their time-table for shots and their doctors’ appointments, all side notes to all the other things her employer expected her to do. The twins adored her and would tug at her skirt when she was waiting for signatures or any of the mundane work that she was being paid to do. She would give out a small wink and blow a kiss towards the children while Mrs. Politician looked over the documents.
One late afternoon Mrs. Politician fell sick and the doctor diagnosed a tumor in her stomach. Being the politician’s wife she was immediately scheduled for surgery. The surgery successfully removed the tumor from the stomach; however due to an incorrect dosage of anesthesia, she slipped into a coma. Her husband was scheduled to return from his international tour in the next few days, when suddenly news broke out of political unrest at his location. All flights were indefinitely cancelled.
Maria weighed her options. One was to leave the twins with the nanny without any support. The second option was to stay with the twins for a few days while things got better.
Jason was looking forward to that week. It was his birthday week. He had asked his mom to mark that calendar in her diary and had booked her for the entire day. The day arrived. But mom wasn’t home last night. He called her up but her phone was busy. He ran to his Grandma’s room and tried to wake up Grandma, but to no avail so he let her sleep some more. Granddad was already in the kitchen making tea. He saw him and hugged him “Happy birthday my little tiger” “How old are you now? Eleven?”
“Yes”, he said, his face beaming, “Where is Ma?” he asked not letting go.
Granddad held him tighter and told him that Ma won’t be coming today due to her employer falling ill. Jason ran to Grandma and started crying. Grandma didn’t stir and her hand felt cold.
“Nana, Ma is not coming today as well!” he sobbed. He tried to wake Grandma up but Grandma didn’t respond. She was gone.
Jason screamed “Nana, get up”. Hearing him scream, Granddad came running and sensed the inevitable. They both held each other and finally called Ma.
Ma came home in an hour’s time. The funeral was held on the same day. Now Jason had only his Granddad to hold on to. And he seemed to have aged overnight.
Maria was torn between the people she loved. On one hand, she had two children who needed her as the nanny was new to them and both their parents were not available. On the other hand, her own son was feeling dejected. Now with Nana gone, Maria couldn’t leave Jason with Granddad. He was older and not able to keep up with Jason’s energy. Besides he couldn’t see with one eye.
Back at the hospital, Mrs. Politician’s health was not improving. The politician managed to arrive and Maria went to Jason to talk to him about shifting him to a boarding school close by. She found him throwing a ball at a blank wall, bouncing it back and forth.
“Jason, I love you and I have to do what is right for you. I know I haven’t been the best mother to you all this while and Nana used to take care of you. But I have to continue my job and for that I have to be gone for days on end. Once Mrs. X wakes up from her coma, I promise to get you back.”
Jason stopped bouncing the ball he said “OK “. He wanted to escape. He wanted to be out of this house.
In the following week, Jason was admitted to a boarding school. He had nuns who took care of him just like his Grandma did. He had teachers who looked out for him as well. He was finally home.
Mrs. Politician never recovered. Mr. X loved his wife and didn’t want to pull the plug on her…
The twins looked up to Maria as their mother and didn’t let her go.
Maria knew the bitter truth and sacrificed her life for them, knowing that they were not hers to keep, but also missing her Jason every time the twins called her Ma. The politician increased her salary and paid for schooling for Jason. She owed him now, and had to stay back.
A mother is not necessarily the one whose womb you came out of.
A mother is also the one who has to live with the difficult choices she makes.
18th February, 2014.