To, Ava

Dear Ava,

I never knew I would write this to you. After I read your book, I knew one thing; if there is somebody who can understand this, it has to be you. Mom thinks that there is something wrong with me. She thinks me being quiet since so many days, has something to do with something that I lost forever. The last time I properly ate something was when she bought food from my favorite restaurant.

She called out my name before she died. I could tell that there was the tinge of grief of departure in her voice. What I can never tell is how she knew about it. Maybe people who die know that they are dying. I was numb for a few days. I couldn’t tell what I was feeling. When they took away her body, I couldn’t cry, nor when my family arranged to mourn. I cried; when everyone was gone, when I knew nobody would know how hurt I was. I didn’t talk. I didn’t talk for days together. And when I did, it was because mom left me. My mom left me for a man I had never seen. I couldn’t tell why she loved him more than me. But she did.

When I came home, I would be alone. I no longer had someone to ask me if my day went well. I no longer had people to wish me luck when I left for an exam. And when Dad, one day, came back from the borders, he saw nobody. Since I had stopped keeping an extra key under the doormat, he waited outside till I came back from the college. He asked me why my face looked pale. I told him that I was tired of the day at the university. He didn’t buy that obviously, but when I told him that mom left us, I saw the same grief in his eyes that I saw in mine when I looked at the mirror after her death, the same grief that you feel when someone walks over you, crushes you and leaves you without saying a word.

Vani and I grew up together. She was my father’s illegitimate daughter. But she was never treated like one. In fact, she was the one who kept telling me that I would make a great author one day. She had faith in me. She loved me. I know how it feels to have no one around who believes in you.

After she died, my father left in four days, and my mother in four months. I had time to pick myself up, after that, but no longer any courage for it. I didn’t know what to do. My friend, Amay came over sometimes. He too got tired of talking to empty walls that said something. Yet, he stayed. He smiled sometimes. I too pretended to be okay, sometimes. But he knew I was not. And the fact is, I was not.

In all my pain, I had to have the courage to be with a more broken man. My dad couldn’t talk for days. He wanted to ask my mother, what went wrong. But then he realized that it was too late. When I told him to meet her once, he let a sigh of laughter at my innocence. He was now less concerned about why she left him but was more concerned about what she had done to deserve a daughter like me, and what I had done, to have a mother like her.

My father lives with me. But let me tell you, two broken people can’t fix each other’s missing pieces. It is a false statement. We still live. We live in a house with walls that sometimes shout and sometimes wail in agony, in pain. It is empty, most of the times. But even when it is full, it doesn’t seem to have life in it.

I might try to become an author. But when I pick the pen, I see her standing beside me. I see her smiling at me. Maybe she’s smiling now, for I wrote.



P.S. This is a tribute to Ava Dellaira, the author of Love Letters to the Dead. Ava, I’m going to post my review on your book soon. And, I love you.
(This is a work of fiction. My mom is very much with me.)
(Picture from Pinterest)


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