As soon as the door opened, Rohit stomped into his room without saying a word, threw his bag on the chair beside the table, and shut the door behind him.
It was two hours after which he came out for the lunch.
His mother was worried, Rohit had been acting strangely since last few days. He wasn’t talking to her, and was locking himself up in the room, sometime for hours.
During the lunch, both ate the cold rice an dal without talking a word.
Rohit was a twelve-year-old boy, top of his class, excellent at sports and good at behavior. He never indulged in things that would put his mother in any trouble. Being a single parent could be hard, but Rohit, even if sub-consciously, would make her life as easy as possible. He didn’t require hand-holding when it comes to studies. In the morning he would get up on his own. After school, he would be in the home within the stipulated time. He ate well, never got ill, and took care of himself more than what could be expected of a child.
So this recent shift in his mood worried his mother. It was then she realized how out of practice she is when it comes to counseling the mood swings of a twelve year old boy. In the evening, she went into his room and sat beside him. Rohit was immersed in a book he was reading.
Rohit didn’t realize her presence, so lost he was in the book. After ten minutes or so he raised his head and looked towards her. Instantly, she saw his lips parting to say something. But then he stopped midway, just at that moment as if gulping down the thoughts that were about to become words.
‘It’s ok,’ his mother said as she stood up from the chair and went up to him. She carefully sat on the corner of the bed, in a way, as to not disturb anything there, not even the creases on the bed-sheet.
‘How is the book coming along? Liking it?’
Rohit was reading The Philosopher’s Stone, she could see from the jacket on the book. He nodded his head to indicate he was. ‘How come you never read me anything from it? You used to do it, I remember. And we used to love that time.’
Rohit was no more looking towards her. It appeared as if he couldn’t listen to what she was saying. She asked him again. Rohit’s head twitched a little, then his body and he placed the book on his lap, and for a moment it felt to her that he is going to get up and jump towards her and hug her as tightly as possible. That he would kiss he and say Mamma, I love you. I love you a lot.
But then he stayed put, like a stone, incapable of hugging, incapable of expressing love.
Filled with an intense longing for his touch which only a mother can feel for his child, she sprang up from the bed and lunged towards him, with a desire to give her all the love she had in her heart for him, to kiss him again and again, until one of them was tired and to hug him with a resolve to never let him go. Never.
It was at that moment when she spread her arms around him, around her baby, she realized the cruelness of life, the ugly truth, a cold realization, that what she was holding was nothing but a volume of empty air.
It had been three weeks since Rohit had died.
He died off a wrongful medication in a hospital where he was being treated for a seasonal fever. You should file a case against them, relatives and friends had told her. That it was a case of neglect, and it was their fault. She had listened to them, like a stone idol listens to its worshiper, without consequence. For in her heart, there was only one thing she knew that was true, that nothing matters now, as she will never get her child back.