by Raksha Narasimhan
art by Cynthia Chang
Issue: Kalopsia (Spring 2017)
I’m on my way.
I’m coming as fast as I can, Mom. I’m plowing through the impossibly thick sheets of snow, fighting the raging icy pellets as they attack my windshield. I’m done making excuses, done denying the truth and being blinded to all that matters. All that propels me is the fiery voice hissing that I need to get to you–that I need to come home before that word loses its meaning.
I’m sorry I never came to visit.
All the problems with my work, my kids, my wife–they don’t come close to excusing the way I’ve ignored you. I’ve been blinded–no, I’ve blinded myself–with foolishness, with delusions of self-importance. It pains me to think of the way I acted when Dad died. I’ve never been great at expressing my emotions, not do I have an aptitude for helping others with theirs. But when I think of the way I woke up in the guest bedroom to your muffled cries, a chill of regret speeds through my veins. When I think of the way I simply shut my eyes and ears to you and tried to fall back asleep, a hot flame of self-hatred blazes through me.
I’ve forced you to live in a world of unspoken words and clipped silences.
Our fights from all those years ago still pierce through my mind. Both of us too stubborn to give in, we’d go days hardly acknowledging one another. I’ll never forget how we fought about Mallory. I hated the way you looked at her with your judging eyes. You were quick to tell me that you didn’t like her. That you didn’t like the way she spoke to me when she thought no one else was around, that something was just off about her. I hated the way you interfered with my life, couldn’t stand the way you tried to stifle my newfound happiness. But Mallory’s gone now. I couldn’t bear to tell you and rupture my well of pride, but she left.
I don’t think I’ve ever told you that I love you.
Not just over a blinking screen or a scratchy telephone line but face to face, looking into your aging brown eyes and letting you experience the breathtaking emotion through my words.
But I hope you’ve been able to see past the armor of pride that has clung to me–I hope your motherly warmth has sensed the love buried under the colder parts of my heart.
I’m coming, Mom.
But I wish I’d already been there with you.