Highly Commended Story - Senior Category
“The Day My Mother Didn't Cry” by Nichole Ann Philip, Gems Our Own Indian School, Al Quoz, Dubai, UAE, is the Highly Commended story in the senior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2018.
Nichole Ann Philip is an eighth grader in Gems Our Own Indian School who is very passionate about music, photography and reading. Travelling inspires her to write poems and short stories. Her favourite subjects in school are Mathematics and Chemistry. She hopes to become a respected professional in one of those fields. Nichole enjoys solving puzzles like Sudoku and KenKen. She has won the title as 'The National Champion' in the KenKen Championship held in the UAE. She had also bagged the sixth position internationally for the same which took place in New York.
The Day My Mother Didn't Cry
I shudder to recall that dreadful night in December when my mother knocked at the door of my bedroom at the dead of the night enquiring where the washroom was. She looked disoriented and totally confused. Unable to understand the cause of her abnormal behaviour, I thought she was still in a semi-sleep state and showed her where the washroom was. But even after coming out of the washroom, she was unable to find her way back to her bedroom.
My sister and I figured out that something was seriously amiss. The next day, we took her to the nearby nursing home for diagnosis and treatment. She was immediately referred to a neurosurgeon and after an MRI scan, it was confirmed that she had been suffering brain cancer. The report showed certain grey patches which the doctor referred to as clots which must have affected her memory severely. As she is old, she cannot regain her memory, the doctor informed. He, however, assured that further damage to the brain can be arrested with drugs.
Such a way, the end of my mother started slowly. As the disease got worsened, she forgot everything. Lost control of her body functions and finally, failed to recognize anyone except my sister and me who used to take care of her like a mother taking care of her baby. We used to feed her, dress her, give her a bath, brush her hair, and help her fall asleep.
For my sister and me, she was like a little child. Our world revolved around her. We used to play with her and tease her. We even celebrated her 80th birthday with a grand cake cutting ceremony attended by our friends in Kolkata. It was a moment of happiness for her as she kept smiling at every one greeting her on her birthday without knowing whose birthday it was. Though somebody wished her birthday wishes, she promptly responded by wishing them the same!
It was interesting to know that even after the destruction of her brain cells; the disease could not take away the basic courtesies from her, acquired during her training as a Telephone Operator long time back. She had never forgotten to express her sincere thanks whenever we helped her with little things.
The loud sound of a body hitting the ground suddenly awakened us. We looked around and we found our mother missing from her bed. In a swift motion, my sister jumped from the bed and dashed out of the room to find her lay flat, face down on the floor motionless. Her forehead was badly injured and bled heavily. But there was virtually no reaction from her. We lifted and laid her on the bed. We together gently cleansed the wound and enquired whether it was hurting. She told us that she was okay in a firm manner. We knew it hurt so bad. But, there was no sign of pain in the face. No tears in her eyes. Just a plain disoriented look, devoid of any emotion. The disease took away all her feelings and dried up her tear glands.
I still remember those instances when my mother lied to me. This incident couldn’t be erased from my mind, because her decision did dismay me. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree, I then continued to do a master’s degree and got scholarship also. I finally worked in the company. The salary was also good, I thought to bring my mother too there. But my lovely mother didn’t want to bother her daughter. But, she was not ready to leave the house.
Looking at her state I cried silently.
Oh God! I said to myself. Is this my mother, who used to get tears in her eyes even for a faint discomfort?! She was emotionally so sensitive that even if my father gave her a stern look, it would bring her to tears. Such was her reputation for crying that my father used to tease her by calling her a river which never stops flowing.
The day she passed away and as her body was being carried in an ambulance there were unexpected showers for a few minutes as if the heaven had cried for her, as she forgot to cry. May God bless her Soul.