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Talk To Me
I stared into her eyes, waiting for an answer. “Come on, Mom.” I sighed, “Answer me.”
She lifted her eyes to me from her laptop and pulled out one of the post-its that were stuck to the plastic case of the LCD display. It said “Yes.”
I pursed my lips. She started making a new post-it. And it said “You happy now?” I nodded. I was not.
My mother was having a surgery on her throat. She had lost her voice four and a half years ago. I was so desperate to hear her speak again.
My mother likes to write… she loves to write. She was a columnist in a paper. She was popular among the online-circles.
Her eyes fell back to her laptop. She didn’t smile, she didn’t even look at me while raising those post-its in front of me. As if, she had lost her all hope, as if she didn’t care anymore. But I did. I’d do anything to listen to her voice again.
“We really hope you get your voice back. We know, it will work. Right Mom?” I had asked her, to which she replied by showing me a simple ‘yes’. She wasn’t excited about getting her voice back, because it was her third surgery. The last two didn’t work out. So yes, she was hopeless.
“Dad will be here soon. He’s on his way”, I told her. She shrugged.
“I think you should go now.” A doctor said. She smiled at me.
“Yeah,okay.” And I walked out of the room.
I waited outside the OR as the surgery went on. I sat on a metal chair. I rested my elbows on my knees, with my head buried in my hands.
Then I felt a hand on my shoulder. I thought it was Dad. “You should really eat something.” A nurse said.
“I will, thanks.” I replied. I didn’t really feel like eating. I just wanted to see her first. The nurse smiled and walked away. I sighed heavily, and sat up straight in the chair. And then I saw him coming, my Dad.
“Dad!” I stood up on my feet. He walked over to me and hugged me. I hugged him even tighter.
“Hey, easy kid.” He chuckled, “She’s gonna be fine.”
“ I hope so too.” I whispered.
My mother had lost her voice when she hurt her throat with a knife, she developed a lump and then woke up one morning as a mute person. At first I thought she was faking it. And I cried my eyes out when I found out she was not.
Being not able to listen to your mother’s voice, her not telling you what to do all the time, her not yelling at you when you tease your brother, her being not able to tell you what she needs….It was just heart-rending. Without a mother to defy, we break rules we make for ourselves, and we start throwing tantrums when things don’t go our way.
And that’s what hurt my mother the most. I love my Mom, she means the world to me. And I don’t know how exist in a world where my mother doesn’t.
After that accident…she started to change, she was not the mother I loved. Her being not able to talk distressed her. She stopped smiling at us, she stopped giving us those morning hugs I always looked forward to. She just became numb. That killed me from the inside. I couldn’t see her like this, so helpless, so still, so…quiet. All those post-its, saying “I love you” ,“I missed you too”…they had lost their meanings.
Three hours passed away. And I still sat there, gazing off into space. My Dad had gone to the cafeteria to get something to eat. I sat up straight, just hoping for the surgery to go well.
Then the door of the OR opened a crack. I immediately leaned to one side to see if it was the surgeon coming out. Yes. A couple of doctors walked out behind her. I ran up to her and blocked her way.
“Whoa.” She laughed a bit.
“How’d it go?” I wasn’t laughing.
“Well, we’re hopeful” She nodded, her voice muffled by the mask. I licked my lips.
“Can I see her?”
“When she wakes up, you can.”
I sighed heavily. My heart raced. I walked back to my chair and dropped myself in it. And I sat there praying. Praying for her to be okay, praying for to be able to speak.
She finally woke up after a little while.
“Go, see her.” My Dad smiled. I went into the room. She was sitting up straight on the bed. A nurse stood beside her. Her throat was wrapped in a white collar thing.
“Mom” I said. She half-smiled at me and kept staring at me for couple of seconds.
“At least say something, Mom.” I sighed wearily. She ignored me. She shook her head lightly and flipped open her laptop.
“NO!” I yelled angrily. She flinched hard at that. She looked at me, her eyes wide with surprise.
“Just talk to me, dammit!”I said. It was the first time in years when I had yelled at her like that.
“Forget that damn laptop, and say something!” Tears welled in my eyes. She closed her eyes tightly and shook her head again. She looked like she was about to break down. She folded her hands on her chest and looked away from me.
I turned around and tore out of the room. I started to run as soon as I got out. “Hey, What…” My Dad tried to stop me. But I ignored him and kept running. I ran to the cafeteria. And I stayed there for one whole hour. I was angry with her. She didn’t try when she knew she could. She knew she could even speak now. She could at least try.
We had been waiting for the right doctor. And I know how bad she wanted to talk, but now the time had arrived, she wouldn’t even try.
I saw the same doctor, who was with the main surgeon, entering the room. I sat up straight. He came to my table and sat in front of me.
“So.” He said. I didn’t look at him, I just kept staring down at my hands.
“Your Mom, she needs time.”He said, “She has just woken up, she isn’t used it. Besides she had lost all her hope.”
“She just had a successful surgery.” I said, “She can talk if she wants to.”
“She just needs time to get used to talking.” He said. And I nodded.
I think he was right. Maybe she was scared. What if something went wrong? What if this surgery wasn’t successful either?
I rose up and came out of the cafeteria. I walked back to her room. When I reached there, I saw Dad standing in front of her, smiling warmly. And Mom was smiling back at him. It definitely felt weird to see her smiling. Her smile made me even more hopeful.
I walked inside and stopped. I smiled lightly.
“You can speak.” I whispered loud enough for her to hear. Her smile became even wider.
“Hi” She said, her voice was almost a hoarse whisper and her eyes were glistening with unshed tears.
I laughed. Tears welled in my eyes too, I blinked them back.
“Hi” She repeated.
“Hi” I said.
And then her face and her smile and her voice were the loveliest things I’d ever seen and heard in my entire life.
Honestly? I have never thought of her as the ‘best mother in the whole world’. But that day, I wanted my Mom to be my Mom however she wanted.
I walked around the bed to her and wrapped my arms around her. I was kind of afraid that she’d reject me again. But then I felt her arms around my shoulders. I smelled that Mom-smell that no one else had, after a very, very long time.
I was happy that she was back. And I stayed very still, hoping that she wouldn’t let go of me ever again.