Child standing inside a forest

The sun swept in casting shadows of the window pane as the train paced forth, leaving the lush green outside to a blur. The train promising an on-time journey, if not early. My heart fluttered with anticipation and warmth just like the warm sunny day outside. There wasn’t much rush too in the train. If you look around you could see a few passengers scattered here and there, like small flowers on a lawn. All the more better! I missed this peace and serenity. City life is alluring and cozy but empty and pointless and above all costly and congested. How much ever you try, at end of the month you are nothing but broken. I thought I would use the journey to catch up on some reading. But the book I carried lay untouched in-front of me. Thoughts and laziness overtook my will long back to pick it up again. All the anticipation of meeting him after such a long time was making me all the more nervous. A light smile was playing on my lips, melting my heart as I felt a funny feeling at the bottom of my stomach, bringing in more memories.

His memories are as vivid as the day he cried into the world with those big eyes, scattered blond hair and his rosy cheeks. Lying on that table with strange faces instructing me to push as I felt my insides rip apart, I thought that was the worst pain for a woman in the world. But the pain is nothing compared to the little bundle of joy that was snuggling on to me for warmth and suckling at my breasts at the end of the ordeal. You feel like you finally have the best part of you right in front of you and in your hands.

I still remember the day I got pregnant. An unmarried, young, struggling writer who was in a relationship with a paranoid commitment freak. It all started with a one night stand and somehow we both stuck together for an accidental pregnancy. I was afraid of John’s reaction when I told him this. And as expected he freaked out. But I knew from the time those two lines showed up in my test, that I am keeping him, John being there or not. Moreover, we never had any long-term plans with the relationship. But life was always full of surprises. John was always around. From monthly visits to the doctor, waiting outside the labor room pacing like a madman, to buying small baby clothes, toys, setting up a crib, singing him lullabies in his awful voice and somehow managing to get him to sleep, John never missed anything!  Be it his first words, his birthdays, play dates, John always showed up. The memories still made me smile at how John had changed and how elegantly he wore his daddy suit.

I was always afraid his first words would be dada. I know it’s silly, but I always wanted me to be his first. Every evening we would start the cricket routine, with him in a miniature armor all padded up and me throwing the ball. He always complained I didn’t throw as nicely as John. I remember after he slept one-night watching online bowling tutorials. The thirty-year-old me couldn’t stand the criticism of a 3-year-old. Age is just a number, the insecurities and the need to be better never dies. You just get better at hiding it.

Whenever John used to drop by for dinner, his happiness was two, three notches high. He would get to blabber about all his sports, plays, cars and many things I had no idea about, leaving me jealous and insecure as I frantically made apple pies in the kitchen, with extra syrup, to win his heart back. Now when I look back, I realize maybe I was more of a child than he ever was. At the end of the day, I always knew little Josh would be around for his mama, from the way his little hands held me as he slept like an angel.

John was always a cool dad and a responsible one too. He was only insecure about commitments to a lady and never to our little bundle of joy. He was better at it than most I have seen. He always made sure that little Josh would be first in his list, be it work or his personal life.

Going fishing with Josh was the best thing in his life. I don’t know what men find so good in sitting in the middle of the water with a bait for hours waiting for something you have no guarantee on and most days coming back empty-handed, yet going back to the same after a while. God sure was justified in creating an eve, in the midst of all this senselessness. But that day was different, the aqua-man was kind and both came back triumphantly with a big tuna. With him singing his dad’s fishing odyssey and a john with his head high and chest puffed out as if he just saved the whole human race.

“Dada we will go next week too, please!”

His usual plead after every trip and as usual, Josh heeded without much persuasion. I heard everything with faked amusement, laughing inside.

“Oh god, I am a lucky woman”

The train screeched to a halt, startling me out of my train of lost thoughts. I couldn’t stop smiling as I gathered my things. Finally, I am home to my favorites. I walked out of the station. The day was as unwavering as it promised and with a soothing breeze making my clothes flutter in merry. A few more steps I told to myself. My little bundle of joy would be waiting for me. I walked slowly, savoring the weather towards the white marble monolith perched on top. I could hear the bells ringing as the distance closed in, maybe something auspicious. It was the first communion of someone’s child. I smiled at the thought of him standing in his small black suit holding our hands for his first. Wasn’t he the most handsome 3-year-old ever!

Finally, I reached my little bundle of joy. I could not hold back my ecstasy on seeing him.

“Sorry baby mama took so long!”

The wind was playing at my hair, the greys caught in the wind, accentuating the wrinkles that crawled across a once young face. I knelt before him and took out the flowers we planted together and kept it on that cold stone.

“Happy bday my little bundle of joy!”

Nearby was John, reminding me of my baseless fears. Fate somehow kept them together, maybe for him to chant his endless stories every night. I smiled at the thought as darkness crept in, making my knees give away. I  sure am a lucky woman. 

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