Shadows of heavy trees danced around and the air carried a silence, as if it knew everything. I swung in the rope hammock that I had crafted with my grandpa who I affectionately called, “Thatha”. I cherished my last moments here. It was hard because the bad thoughts kept coming back. The thoughts about what would happen to me soon. I would have to leave today.
After Amma died, Thatha had no choice but to make me go. I had agreed that day, afraid of upsetting him when he was still mourning over Amma. I missed her too, even when I had only known my Amma for 14 years. I could only imagine how Thatha felt, knowing his daughter for much longer. But did I really want this? Did I want to leave? Almost instantly, I found myself on Thatha’s auto rickshaw, the rest of my family, just mere blurs.
I didn’t cry. It was as if I had used up all of my tears when Amma passed, but Thatha wasn’t the same.I wiped his tears with my hand, feeling faint and wearing a dazed expression as I clutched him, my nails digging into his stomach. I laid my head on his heart and took a breath, smelling the fields on his stained shirt. I wasn’t surprised to find a drop rolling down my scared face. Thatha was the only one I had left…How could he send me away? Slowly the dirt roads merged into grey ones and I found myself at a train station. I carried my suitcase and hobbled away, not turning until I was sure Thatha had gone. I was mad. Mad at Thatha for making me leave. Mad at Amma for being such a bad driver. Mad at myself for not saying goodbye. But what could I do? I was just a 14 year-old boy with a battered suitcase, sitting on a bench, waiting for the next train to New Delhi, where I would meet an uncle who I never knew existed.
This is when I realized I was truly alone. Alone with no one, but myself and my Amma’s ashes. I thought of Amma’s caring nature. I thought of the day before the accident. She had told me she loved me. I gave Amma a kiss and hugged her to my chest, now knowing why Thatha didn’t want to come. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye either. When I felt a hand on my shoulder I didn’t need to see who it was because I could smell the fields. Thatha had come. We would make this journey together. We wouldn’t forget Amma. She would always be a part of us, even if we tried to forget, but it didn’t mean that we couldn’t move on. I clasped Thatha’s hand and smiled, knowing the pain was gone.
Life for us didn’t end for us when Amma died. We had so many more things to look forward to and I now understood this!!