“Nervous Beings”

I woke up early to read a randomly picked page from the journal. My fingers and eyes were surprisingly well-coordinated for 5 am. Mom’s journals were all I had of her. She did not leave any special jewels, clothes, or shoes for me. All I had was a journal she had been writing for me since my first birthday. I got it as my 18th birthday gift. Thinking about her now, I remembered the last time we fought before she walked out the door to a store never to return.

‘Cluttered Desk is my throne.’ I made the claim loudly to my mom.

‘You know I was a kid too once. Why do you have this defensive attitude towards anything I say?’ Mom was screaming. The volume was always at an embarrassing decibel level in our house.

‘I am only trying to help. To teach you to live better. Hopefully, a less cluttered life.’ Mom anxiously tried to explain her point.

‘Any task that can be done in 2mins should be completed right away. Rest will follow at its own time.’

Afterward, the door opened and shut the loudest.  Mom left to get on with her day and I was left alone with a cluttered desk, my pride.

I clean every day now. Anything that will take less than 2 mins attention I take care of it right away. I hope she can see the change in me now. My thoughts were disturbed by the obnoxious doorbell, that needed to be changed.

“Your father has been in an accident; he is at the local hospital. And we might need to drive him to the one in the city if his condition does not get better. So please hurry up.”

I shook my head in agreement without any voice. My legs went numb leaving me still and late for the hospital. My father was my everything, not because he single-handedly raised me without any help, but because he was my best friend. He was my person. Don’t get me wrong, my mom is my guide, my inspiration. But my dad is my 2 am friend. The one I call after a bad breakup. The one who accompanied me on my adventures. He and I had tried bungee jumping way before it became ‘a thing to definitely do once before you die’. He was my cuddly bear and my toughest critic. He had correctly predicted 3 out of 5 of my books as bestsellers. He was my ‘superman, my everything.’ One who had brought me my first sanitary napkin when I was 13. He didn’t need to explain to me anything, I already knew all that I needed to know from mom’s journals. But dad still sat me down to talk and answer any questions I had. He touched his beard trying to straighten the very well-groomed and regularly trimmed beard. I knew right then; my dad was nervous. And so I did exactly what any daughter would in such a situation. I asked him more questions.

The afternoon he told me about my mom’s death his warm hands kept stroking my cold hands gently like he was trying hard to transfer his strength to me. How do you tell a child that the person who had promised to love and protect you forever was no longer available? She had to leave early. Sorry, life happened. I remember resting my head on his shoulder afterward, both of us crying silently. My tears wetting his shirt. And his tears soothing my hands.

Today, I opened the hospital door to people, sorry hordes of nervous human beings. And in there some familiar strangers I had encountered on the streets, dad’s office, at our supermarket, etc. while growing up. They all had that look. Mostly, I saw pleads and apologies in their eyes.

Dad was on the bed hooked with machines. I smiled touching his warm hand. His hands were always warm even in winters. He smiled back. Strangely I was nervous today looking at the bearded man laying tiredly like he had a sleepless night. So, without giving him a chance to say anything I blurted out.

“Dad, I am pregnant.” And then I started my waterworks. He smiled a little more and let out a sigh. “It will be a girl, I know.”

My hands stroked his graying beard straightening two strands of hair that looked uneven and replied, “Well you are partially right, I am having twins, boy, and a girl.”

And that is how my nervous life began. 

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