Stories, Thoughts

An Effort In Vain

He entered the living room and stood at the door, feeling proud as ever.

“Mother, I am a man now,” he confidently confessed, his hands on his hips, imitating his grandfather who stood poised in style, staring down at every member of the family from above the fireplace, as though his intense gaze could penetrate and break the glass of the photo frame.

“What did you do son?” His mother questioned, with a tinge of neglect in her voice as she busied herself with her half-knit sweater. She stopped for a moment, realising she had not heard a reply from her son. She looked up and he was standing there, now staring at her, arms crossed. She turned and looked up at her father-in-law.

“Those same eyes, full of rage,” she calmly replied. “Is there anything you would like to say? I’m still waiting for you to tell me what you did my love.”

“If you could at least give me 60 seconds of your time?” Her son grumbled.

His mother sighed, kept her knitting tools into the box and pushed it under the table.

“There you go. Speak.”

“I kicked a boy, swore at him, teased a girl. I did it. I am a man!” he confessed.

His mother looked at him calmly.

“Since when did kicking a boy, swearing at him and teasing a girl made you the ‘man’ that you speak of?”

Her son frowned.

“Isn’t it that? Isn’t that what a man should be?”

“How on earth did you think of that?” His mother stood up angrily.

“I don’t understand your anger mother, nor anybody’s!” He cried. “If I wore a skirt and stole your lipstick, you slapped my face and told me to be a man! I asked you why I found myself being pulled to Jerry, you said it’s brotherly love but I know what brotherly love is and it’s not that. But you said it is. When you read in my diary that I wanted to hug and kiss Jerry, you slapped my face again and screamed I’m not being a man. And when I just did what a man does, why are you still angry with me?”

“No man does what filth you did son!”

“Then what is father? Isn’t he a man? He does that all the time! That is what a man is, isn’t it?”

His mother began to weep.

“I don’t understand this. I want to be like you mother, dress like you, sit like you, eat like you, talk like you but you force me to be like father, I don’t know what is going on, who am I? Am I even a son?”

His mother wiped a tear and looked at her child. “You will be one soon, just keep trying.” She turned and walked away.

He left the house in slow draggy steps with his head down low.

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Poems

Rain

Droplets of water
Fall off the roof
This intense fear
Of silence
Beneath a comforting weather
May this not bring me back
To the black cave of memories
A distant past
Buried deep in the graves of
My empty heart
Let the rain fill them
With sweet moments of life
So when the lightning strikes
And thunder roars
The electrical signals of my heart
Continue to give me the blissful life
That even silence reassures me
That I’m safe
And happy, not fearful
And alive, not dead

– Parveen Maghera

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