This is my response to the 11th exercise in The Scrivener’s Forge on point of view, examining an incident from the point of view of two different characters.

The incident is that the son, who is at college, was supposed to visit home, but didn’t.

Tring Tring…

I have been like a fish out of water all day. Why didn’t he come home? Perhaps he’s sick. Linda says there is a terrible flu going around. “Hello.”

Hi ma.” he answers in a hushed voice. “What’s up?”

Nothing really. You said that you would come home last weekend but you didn’t.” I try to keep the panic out of my voice.

Sorry ma. Got busy. Assignments. You know how it is.”

Thank God its not the flu. But he should have at least given me a call. He knows I worry. I will never understand what that boy has against picking up the phone and talking. He has all the patience in the world to chat with his friends on WhatsApp.

Ma?” he breaks through my reverie.

I miss you.”

Ya.”

Huh! What kind of a reply is that? College has changed him. No regards for his mother’s feelings. “You’ve forgotten me.”

No ma.” I can hear the irritation in his voice, and my heart sinks further.

It’s understandable, I suppose. You don’t need me any more.” I blurt out. Great. Now he’s going to think I’m needy.

That’s not true, ma. I told you I had assignments to complete. You know that my scholarship is conditional on maintaining a GPA of at least 8.”

You work so hard. Are you eating properly?” He was looking sort of skinny last week. “I worry about you, you know.”

Don’t worry, ma. I’m fine. OK. I gotta go. Bye.” he hangs up abruptly. I didn’t even get around to asking him about next week. I know he’s a grown man now, but, an ‘I love you’ or a ‘See you soon’, is that too much to expect!

***

Shit, it’s mum. I forgot to tell her that I wouldn’t be coming.
Hello,” a frail voice comes through.

Hi ma. Whats up?” Was she sick or was she just irritated with me?

Nothing really. You said that you would come home last weekend but you didn’t.”

Ah! So it’s that. “Sorry ma. Got busy. Assignments. You know how it is.” To be fair, I never did say that I’d go, just that I would try, but then she always hears only what she wants to.
Silence. Man, she probably cooked a zillion dishes, and now she’s mad at me. “Ma?”

I miss you.” comes her soft rebuke.

Now I’m feeling guilty. I really really should have at least spoken to her. I almost tell her that I miss her too, but Professor Markinson passes by, so I offer up a bland “Ya.”

You’ve forgotten me.”

What the hell! “No ma.”

It’s understandable, I suppose. You don’t need me any more.”

That’s not true, ma.” Should I tell her about the extra job that I’ve picked up, or will that just make her worry more. “I told you I had assignments to complete. You know that my scholarship is conditional on maintaining a GPA of at least 8.”

You work so hard. Are you eating properly. I worry about you, you know.”

I can almost hear the tears. How do I end up hurting her so bad? This woman has slogged her butt off for me and she deserves better. It’s good that I did not tell her about the extra job just yet.
Don’t worry, ma. I’m fine.” This is a conversation that best be continued in person. Need to sit her down and explain. “OK. I gotta go. Bye.”

I’m definitely going home soon. I miss her bad.

3 thoughts on “Ma

  1. I agree with Neil this was a great portrayal of human tragedy. I felt the hurt and betrayal from both sides. It’s not death by a thousand cuts, but betrayal by a thousand perceived snubs. Nicely done.

    Like

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