“Heart-shaped Box”

“Confectionary is the art of making confections, which are food items that are rich in sugar and carbohydrates,” Maya explained in a delighted voice. The soft breeze of February afternoon felt good on her face. For the first time in a while, she could see the beauty in a sunny afternoon. The little hand in hers spoke up right then, breaking her ‘weather appreciation’ moment.  

“Does that mean like a bakery?” The little one sounded even cuter in person.

“Well, it can be. But the one we are going to it is all about sugar, candies, and chocolates.” Maya tried her hand at being a responsible adult. The one who answers all questions politely and honestly.  

“Can I get a chocolate airplane?”

“Well, we can once we get there. So, how about we pick up the pace and start the shopping.”

“What kind of sweetener do they use at the confectionary we are walking to Aunty Maya?”

Her little steps not once fell back. The little one was asking real questions. And not baby questions, like Maya had always thought they would be. Her patience and observation amazed with each step she took to match with her aunt.

“Oh, that is a very interesting question, Luna. They use different kinds of sweeteners. Honey, regular sugar, and they even sell sugar-free candy. So, you can find a gift for almost everyone in this store. I have a feeling you will like it.”

“I only like chocolate, Aunty Maya. Like lots of chocolate.”

“I know that, just like your Mommy. You even look like her. You know that already, right?” Maya smiled holding her hand tight crossing the road to the store.

“I do. We do look quite similar. But we are very different individuals.”

“I agree. You are quite different. For instance, your mom who happens to be my sister, would never have interacted so much with a person she just met an hour ago for the first time. And here you are, with me chatting and making yourself heard. You are a better version of her. Does that make sense?”

“Hhehhahahahah! You really think that Aunty Maya?” Luna was now looking up at her aunt repeating the question in her head that she really truly wanted to ask her aunt.

“Of course, I do.”

“Well, then mom will be very proud of herself. Because she always says that she wants both her kids to be smarter than her, in everything.”

“Well, in that case, you must let her know when we see her in a few minutes.”

“I will. Thank you!”

And then her big eyes turned red as she dared her tears to not slip out. “Do you think mom can hear me when I sing to her? I sing all her favorites. I learned them all.”

Sitting down on her knees to look Luna in the eyes, as she wiped the tears off her pink cheeks, she spoke, “I am almost certain she can. It is only a medically induced coma, Luna. Her body is bruised and hurt too bad. And this way it will heal faster and hurt her less. You understand that right? Doctor Blake explained it to us.”

“Hmmm… then we should pick lots of dark chocolate and coffee for mom. If she can hear us, then maybe she can smell too. She loves the smell of coffee. Can we do that please.?”

“That is a brilliant idea, Luna. Let’s pick all of that.”

Soon their basket was filled with candies, heart-shaped chocolates, a packet of dark roast coffee and lots of more chocolate. Luna stopped at the nuts section and picked honey-dipped almonds. “Oh, Luna those are my favorite too. You like almonds dipped in honey?”

Luna replied with a proud smile, “No, but I knew you did. So, I picked these for you.”

While walking out, Luna noticed a small heart-shaped box and asked if she could look at it. It was a music box playing the song, ‘ain’t no mountain high enough’. Maya hugged her tight assuring her this too shall pass soon.

They left the confectionary singing together, ready to turn the coma room into a confectionary of their own with chocolates, lots of coffee beans, and a heart-shaped music box.

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