She called him at 2 in the night asking when he’d be home.
He – I’ll be there in 10 minutes.
And he winked at his friends.

And so she stayed up waiting for him. She would call him every 10 minutes only to hear ‘the number you’re trying to reach is currently switched off’. She was worried sick. The news she’d heard that day…

‘Allegedly drunken man dies in an attempt to overtake an Innova in a one-way street.’

She tried to push such thoughts from her head.

“Everything is perfectly fine.” She would convince herself.

But after every failed call –

‘Man dies…’
‘Allegedly drunk…’

She couldn’t sleep.

She tried calling his friends. But all the numbers that he had given were wrong numbers.

“It might have been a mistake” she said to herself but she knew better.

Night turned into dawn and she didn’t know when she dozed off on the chair in the hall.

The sound of the door creaking and muffled footsteps woke her up.

“Were you up all thisss while? And why do you look ssso pale?” He slurred.

“Are you fine? Are you safe?” she asked worriedly, ignoring his questions.

He walked past her into his bedroom without answering and fell onto the bed with his shoes and clothes still on. He fell asleep almost instantly.

She removed his shoes and covered him with a blanket. She slyly checked for bruises or scars but found nothing and went to sleep finally, peacefully.

The next morning, she woke up to the smell of maple syrup pancakes, her favourite. With a confused look on her face she walked into the kitchen. There he was cooking her favourite pancakes wearing an apron that was customized ‘I’m very sorry.’

One look at her and he realized something was wrong. She looked pale. He checked her temperature the old-school way – with the back of his hand. She was unwell.

He – You’re always so strong.

She – But, I’m exhausted.

He – I’m so sorry that I’m an idiot. Now finish these pancakes and let’s get you some medicines and a little rest, Ma.


Author: Zainab Haji

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