Till I Grow

By Adithya M.

Her school uniform was accustomed to being taken off hastily. In her tiny white under-dress she ran out to join her friends standing in the middle of the bald land. They waved at her impatiently and soon the games began. The hours of play concatenated until it was dark enough to spike her mother’s temper. She ran back home with her hair flying in the wind, in the dirty dress that bore no resemblance to its former self.

Relieved that her mother overlooked her late entry, she took a quick shower and went downstairs in time for dinner. Her mother thought a sidelong silent glance would suffice to acknowledge her. She helped arrange the food and invited her father for dinner.

Silence; Forks and knifes on the plate, occasional requests and polite interactions to break the monotony. To her, adult life was a conundrum, simultaneously boring and riveting. What she saw of them was in her mind the mild undertone of their lives. She thought of all those hours they spent away from her, playing games she’d never played with friends she’d never seen. They called it “office” and “work” but to her it resembled every mystery that awaited her.

One day, she would grow up and be granted entry to the mysterious land her parents guarded. She would have thoughts like theirs that consumed her into long periods of silence. She would look at her children and mentally note their monotonous lives, then laugh with her friends, sharing the silly and frustrating things her children do.

Obviously, all this would take time, but she didn’t mind. Her mother says a glass of milk every day will do the trick. Even the disgusting green things they serve with lunch would, she says. Her dad tells her the times he bathes her will fasten things, that the pain between her legs after each time is her body getting accustomed to the progress. So she holds these things dear even though she hates them. And when she ultimately gets there she will forget everything to enjoy the sunshine in her face and run off with her intriguing friends.

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Adithya M is a 22-year-old Indian caught in the corporate world. She wrote this story years ago and still holds it dear to her heart.  

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