The Heart.

 

The phone fell from her hands in disbelief. The voice on the other end spoke, but she couldn’t hear. What had she just heard? Her son, her only son was no more? No, no it couldn’t be! She looked around and her eyes fell on his photo. Tears flowed from her eyes, as she thought about how long she had to wait before finally having him. Sumitra and her husband had longed for a child since they got married, but to no avail. They did the whole shebang: from visiting fertility clinics to visiting temples and priests but to no results. And then, he was born. Yet it wasn’t such a joyous occasion. He was born with a hole in his heart, and wasn’t expected to live. Sumitra and her husband did everything. After days of stress and tension, the good news arrived. He had survived!  Finally it seemed like someone was up there who listened to her prayers. She had left no stone unturned to make sure that all his wishes and demands were fulfilled. And in turn he was a good kid, he completed his home-work on time, he topped all his tests and at the same time he was polite and caring. As time passed, his wishes became orders, and their love for him a way to get his orders satisfied. Somewhere between asking for toys to demanding for money he grew up. These days, he didn’t seem to be normal, to be subtle. He was almost never at home because he always had to be with his friends. ‘His friends’, Sumitra never liked them. And when she confronted him about this, his reply was always the same, “you don’t know my friends! How can you even speak about them like this?! Perhaps, you just don’t want your son to be happy. Maybe, you just want me to be lonely”. He knew that this would always shut his mother up, mostly out of love for her only child. But things didn’t seem to get better. His friends were a bad influence on him, and she knew that from his behavior. He had intense mood swings, sometimes he was in a state of excitement, so much so, that he couldn’t stop talking, while at other times he was too exhausted to utter even a single word. For the times he was home, he seemed to eat almost nothing. All he did was sleep for long hours. “Maybe it’s just a phase. Kids these days have so much to deal with. “Saying this Sumitra consoled herself. Yet it looked like the phase was unending. He had turned into a skeleton now. He always seemed nervous and tired. Whenever she tried to talk to him, he repelled her ferociously. She was concerned about him, but whenever she talked to her husband about it, he just told her to let him be and she did just that. Now as she thought about this, she realized that it wasn’t just a phase. She shouldn’t have let him be. Looking at the phone she recalled the words that the voice had said “Your son died of a heart attack due to cocaine overdose”. What could she say? His heart had failed him this time and she couldn’t do anything to mend it.

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