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We were in a garden full of violet lilies, there was sunshine in the air, every face I saw was highlighted with excessive face tune, it was as if a face tune app had bodied itself to the two souls wondering around in the garden, as I turned around in slow motion in this paradise, my mother enclosed me into a capacious hug. I was confused the entire time; it was like hugging someone after telling them their loved one lived no more. Where you would expect despair and dejection, you felt empty. Suddenly, the paradise was no more. A running shadow fell over me and it started raining heavily and mother mine was gone. 


The ability to recognize love is human’s greatest strength and weakness, I never knew due to the simple fact that I never understood it. The relationship between me and my mother had rotten to a point where I saw no return. The dreams helped, it made me feel maternal love, that I no longer thought it necessary, for a while and then I woke, silently but so heavily in my own sleep, in the middle of the night with a tingling sensation all over my body, like a saintly orgasm. 


Where had it begun, it wasn’t like a love story, only couples fall out of love with each other because they see the other person has a mere experience, not someone they can’t live without. The all-accepting, nourishing and embracing love is not for me, I thought. My mother hated me, and I could see it. What was not to understand? If they love you, you’ll know, if they don’t, you’ll be confused. Except there was nothing to be confusing about the upfront hatred I felt form my birth giver. Being an Indian girl really does it. Every decision of your life is based on your arranged marriage in the future. Traditional mother. Open-minded daughter. International city. Rebelliousness. Anger. Violence. Mental abuse. Fear. A life with limits. How could I experience motherly love again? 




My father slapped me in the taxi twice, so hard I went numb as I hazily glimpsed the driver looking from the mirror. My mother thought I had made a fool of myself in the party by annoying the hosts after I had dropped my phone down the bed gap where it is hard to reach, the hosts than called their elder son who helped me get it out. Truth is, my aunt sat on it unaware and off it slid down to the narrow gap. In my culture, what holds godly importance is what others think about you, everyone is slave to unimportant reputations that I am so sick of it. For my mother it was as if I had somehow transported my cellphone to another dimension such that the part hosts had to summon a rocket to get it back from me. She was quite mad about the previous night that she beat the shit out of me, and I broke my arm. As I was admitted to the hospital, with anger I told the nurses it was my mother who had done it to me and of course it was a case for the Child Protection Services. 


Over the course of time, my mother and I had hated each other so religiously. She would to this day taunt me on how I wanted to give her up to the police and how it was a shameful act. I could feel the rage in her. Every time I would be near her, she would find a way to hit me somehow, whether it was prominent scratches or hard pinching. I had complained to everyone about her as I just couldn’t take it anymore. My best friend Jenny even gave me a sum of money in case I had to ever run away from home. Never in my life I would have thought a party which was basically a gathering with people who I hadn’t the slightest idea were, would lead to such a relationship that I loathed. 


The age of 14 to 18 was the years of realizing stuff, of course the strained relationship between me and my mother was the epitome of those years, but I realized a lot of stuff. I wonder to myself: if I could take back that party, would I? Absolutely not, later I realized my war was with this existing culture that I was in no position to be proud of. I could accept the prejudice, bigotry, overwhelming hatred and deceit. But how could I accept the culture that had mentored and sculpted such people. The fear of arranged marriage as I grew “of age” grew with me too. I saw the way my father and mother tuned out; I couldn’t possibly allow the same to happen to me. Fast forward to 2019 during my SAT examinations, my father offered to drive me to my exam venues because my uncle had done the same to her daughter, not out of love, but out of the fear of having his 20-year-old daughter alone in public. While I rebelled against this notion and hesitated to give out my exam venue sheet to my father, my mother added some seasoning to the issue and my dad lost his chill.


That was the moment I had decided I would finally run away. As I sat in my room, after getting beaten 4 times under the short course of 20 minutes, I stared at my face in the mirror, while my nose and lips were blue, they had swollen to twice the size. That was one day before my SAT where I had to sit in public with 100 other candidates. While my mother laughed at the size of my lips, my heart shredded into one more tiny piece, how could my mother get me beaten like a dog and laugh at me.  That was when I ran away from home, forever.


Now as I live in New York City and am on course of becoming a mom in 3 months, I recall my own mother. I stare at my outgrown belly and think to myself with all the heartfelt curses and karmic accounts, there was no chance I could be a good mother, maybe I would realize my mother was right all along, or maybe my child would be born abnormal. I felt like Cinderella looks at the clock as it slowly nears her 18th birthday and negative fate befalls her. My mother always said what goes around comes around, and what I did to her would be what my daughter does to me. I lived in the fear of that, agitated at the sight of calendars and clocks, waiting for a curse to fall on me, or my daughter.


As I hold my newborn daughter, all anguish disappears. I realise it is not a cheesy line, it is science, it is real. Love is true, it is not a myth. Adrenaline surged through my veins and love is all I felt. It was true after all. All my life I was worried about the curses and taunts coming back to haunt me, I was worried about what I would have my daughter live by. I now realise it isn't some hardcore values or rules, it is love. All I will give her is love and this is what she will live by.


May 26, 2020 07:06

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2 comments

Kelechi Nwokoma
09:04 Jun 28, 2020

Sophia, this is a truly emotional story. I went along with the protagonist on her trials and journeys. I actually don't support arranged marriages. I feel everyone should marry the person they love after careful observation. But I won't judge anyone's culture. I also don't support physical abuse to 'train' children. Yes, beatings once in a while, but not to the extent to break skin. I totally emphathized with the main character, although I think her running away was foolish. And even if she had to run away, living reckless was the wrong ...

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Cynthia Scott
03:23 May 27, 2020

What a beautiful ending to such a sad story. It was very good!

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