Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Habits Die Hard

“Don’t bother mom. I’ll make the sandwiches myself.” He said, checking his watch.

Having 20 minutes to spare before his college bus was to arrive, he sat on the couch with the newspaper on the tea table. Glancing through the headlines, he began to evenly spread butter across the slice of bread. He made sure that every inch of bread had a generous spread of butter – a habit he imbibed from his mother. To him, she was the epitome of perfection and he felt relieved to have got her genes passed down to him rather than the ‘clumsy’ genes of his father.

Biting down the last bit of bread, he folded the paper and placed it under the tea table. He had 7 minutes left to catch the bus. This was the very part of the day he hated – leaving his mom behind at home and going to college. He slid back into the couch and stared at his mother. She smiled back at him – curled thin lips through which peeped a row of shiny teeth and eyes glowing with mischief, as they cast three fine lines from the corner that faded into her temple – the only visible sign of her age.

Her smile was magical and eternal.

Moving closer, he looked deeper into her eyes. He thought he saw a bead of tear building up in those tiny eyes of hers, possibly even faking the smile. Ready to leave, he finally whispered, “I love you and am going to miss you mom.”

Two years had passed since he had helplessly succumbed to let her sleep forever, but that wouldn’t change him one bit.