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General


I wish that photo hadn’t fallen off my mom’s wallet. I wish I hadn’t known about him. I would have happily lived and died imagining that I was the result of a divine birth or something. Now that I had a glimpse at the man, I cannot erase his image from my mind. I have questions and I need answers- the more elaborate, the better. 


Growing up, my mom was the only family I had. I never asked her about my father or her parents. Those were considered taboo topics according to our unspoken rules.


She was my hero. She was this cool person who worked multiple jobs to support us both but still found time for me. My heart used to swell with pride whenever my friends commented about how lucky I was to get a mom like her. We didn’t have much, just enough to live by, enough food, enough fun, enough love. But we were happy, content. When had all that changed? When did my mom transform from a super cool person to just a normal flawed individual? Or was it all in my head? Was I expecting too much from her? 


Whatever gap we had in our relationship, got widened after the photo fiasco. She wasn’t ready to tell me anything more than I knew, which is nothing. Harsh words were said. Accusations were thrown against each other. Her determination to protect his identity surprised me. Why would you do that for someone who apparently abandoned you and your child? Love and loyalty are twisted emotions sometimes. Eventually I gave up. In less than a week, I moved out to a small apartment near my office. I had been pushing myself for it for quite some time. The current happenings just accelerated it though. 


Since the time I moved out, she had been bombarding my phone with messages and voicemails. One day she turned up at my doorstep- looking like the bleary eyed, messy haired version of her normal self. She sobbed like a child and begged me to come home. I stood there watching her tears, unmoving and unfeeling. I should feel guilty for acting like a brat, demanding things happen in my way. But when the betrayal is still fresh, guilt always takes a back seat. 


I didn’t hear from her for so many days after that which made me uneasy for some inexplicable reason. Then her message came yesterday and it had only one line. ‘Your father has agreed to meet you at Dr. Wilfred’s party tomorrow.’ 


For the first time in days, I could feel the anger fleeing my body, but immediately replaced with nervous anticipation. Until I received her message, I hadn’t decided if I wanted to go to Dr. Wilfred’s party even though his daughter is one of my best friends. Thinking back, I remember mentioning it to my mom before ‘it’ all started. If ‘he’ is coming to the party, Dr. Wilfred surely knows him. I have been to their house so many times with Sia, their daughter. Have I ever seen ‘him’ there? Or anywhere else? He could have been the man sitting next to me in the train. He could have been the man standing behind me in the ATM queue. Endless possibilities.


***


I could stand in the open doorway of an airplane at 10,000 ft, in my skydiver costume and look down at the beautiful earth with a smile on my face. I call that invigorating. But having to meet my father for the first time ever? I call that terrifying. 


What does someone wear when they meet their father for the first time? I wondered, eyeing the pile of clothes on the bed.

Looking at the wall clock and realizing how far the needles have moved, I grabbed the first dress that caught my eye and ran to the bathroom. 


Half an hour later, I parked my car outside Dr. Wilfred’s house, my ten-year-old Subaru standing out like a sore thumb among all the BMWs and Audis. Her parents are doctors, notable for the philanthropic work they do in the society and their parties are well known for the crème de la crème attendees, if I have to believe Sia. Talking about Sia, she has been incessantly messaging me since I confirmed I would be coming. When Sia first told me about the party, I hadn’t given it a thought at all. I don’t own anything ballroom worthy- neither clothes nor manners. I had always been self conscious around them despite the fact that they never gave me a reason to. Having more issues than an impoverished country would do that to the self-esteem of a person I guess. In my mind, I knew I wouldn’t be going even though she tried to convince me that this party is just a small affair, nothing like their previous parties. But looking at the fifty or more cars parked outside, I have a feeling that Sia was probably trying to soften the blow. And now, my mom has given me a reason to attend the party too. But I am going to leave that little detail out of my future conversations with Sia. I don’t want her to think I was here on a personal agenda, although it’s partly true. 


“Good evening Miss. May I see your invitation please?”


I pulled out the glossy card from my purse and handed it to the well-built man in black uniform guarding the door. 


“Quite a fancy looking guard for a fancy party huh?” From the blank look on the guard’s face, I can see that my joke fell flat. Never mind. It was worth a try.


The petite girl next to him was more welcoming though, with a pleasant but practiced smile on her face. 


“Enjoy the party Miss!” She chirped while opening the door for me. 


As I stepped into the carpeted hallway, my eyes widened in awe at the splendid spectacle displayed in front of me. The whole living room has been transformed into an impressive grand ballroom, chandeliers hanging down from the high ceiling. Small groups of gorgeous, impeccably dressed men and women stood chatting and laughing. I glanced down at my Zara maxi dress and the flats and I have never felt plainer. 


While scanning the crowd for familiar faces, I shifted my weight from one foot to the other, growing increasingly restless. My father is somewhere here, probably watching me and waiting for the right time to approach. My gaze wandered round the room, looking for a dark haired head. His hair looked dark in the photo, but that was before two decades. What does his head look like now? Grey or maybe bald? Sia stood in a corner seemingly immersed in a deep conversation with three men wearing suits. One of them is her father. I know the other two from somewhere, can’t remember properly. She hasn't spotted me yet, but one of the men did. He was a good-looking man, probably in his mid-fifties, with a thin pointed face and a fringe of greyish-white hair around his balding head. When his eyes met mine, recognition shone in them. He quickly said something to the group and started walking towards me, finding his way through the crowd. Finally, the moment is here. The moment I have been waiting for the past few weeks, or even more than that. Skin clammed with sweat, I concentrated on taking deep breaths. Am I having a nervous breakdown? A few more steps and he will be here, right in front of me. 


Quick...need to act quickly. 


I lifted my dress lightly, turned around and bolted for the door. From behind, someone called my name, but I kept running. I can’t stop now. I pulled open the massive oak door and in my haste to flee, almost hit a brick wall and it made an ‘oomph’ sound. No. Wait. It’s that huge guard from before. He is like a giant block of iron, roughened and cold. I mumbled a brief apology as he moved aside to give way. Now I just need to get past the perky girl too.


“Miss, you leaving early?”

Spoke too soon...I guess. 


“Err...yes. Just… a case of...sore thumb.”

She eyed me head to toe, her eyebrows furrowed in concentration, trying to figure out what I meant by ‘sore thumb.’ 

No time to explain baby.


After giving her a slight wave, I practically ran towards my car. I will clear it up with Sia later. She will understand why I had to run away. 


The feeling of not belonging somewhere is awkward, equally painful too. But my mom had warned me, hadn’t she? Her exact words were: “ Don’t get hurt my dear. We don’t belong in their world, I never did. And believe me. I tried to fit in, but in the end my dignity couldn’t take it anymore. “


It’s time for me to finally admit something. No matter how much I tried to convince myself that I am different from my mom, deep inside I am just mirroring her in more ways than one without realizing it. 

Our views, our insecurities, our fears- they are the same and that scares us both. 


***


I was about to start my car when my phone chimed with an incoming message. Without looking, I knew it was from my mom. Knowing my mom, possibly a simple line like ‘how did it go’.

I wish my answer was that simple too. 




What would it take to mend a broken relationship? Hopefully nothing more than a bottle of wine and a box of chocolates…



May 08, 2020 13:45

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46 comments

Keith B.
06:40 May 15, 2020

Felt like I was at the party with Miss May, well written.

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Roshna Rusiniya
06:44 May 15, 2020

Thank you!

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Ndekwoh Ojen
06:02 May 12, 2020

Oh, Roshna! This is captivating. You're just good. One of your stories, "The emails that go unread," made me cry because I remembered my late mom and I wished she could answer my mails or calls. However, I would've really loved to know what happens at the end. Please do a part two.😃😃😃 Well done and please keep writing. Thanks for liking my story too.

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Roshna Rusiniya
06:27 May 12, 2020

Ah thank you for the wonderful feedback! I am honoured to know you still remember the other story. Many people asked for a second part for this story to know what happens when she finally meets her father. I didn’t want to make it happen in the first part though. It would look unrealistic to make her forgive her father so easily.

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Ndekwoh Ojen
07:37 May 12, 2020

I understand. That's okay. There are some stories that mean a lot to me and such, I don't forget in a hurry. Your stories fall in that category. Keep it up.

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Lyn Lo
02:31 May 10, 2020

I love it Roshna! It’s incredible how you can transport the reader right into the story with your words! I felt like I was in a Zara Maxi dress and flats running! I just wish I knew the ending....!!!!!!! A Fantastic read!

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Roshna Rusiniya
02:38 May 10, 2020

Thanks Lyn for your great feedback. We all have that plain dress and plain shoes moment in our lives. Ha ha.

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Keith B.
06:42 May 15, 2020

Thank you for liking my story Roshna

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Roshna Rusiniya
06:45 May 15, 2020

Thank you for reading my story too Keith.

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Keith B.
05:30 May 16, 2020

You're welcome

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Ray Van Horn
16:49 May 14, 2020

That was terrific. Decision...indecision...hope...fear...follow-through...shank...wonder...what if... Cracked up over this line: “Err...yes. Just… a case of...sore thumb.”

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Roshna Rusiniya
17:23 May 14, 2020

Thank you for reading. Appreciate the great feedback!

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Ray Van Horn
20:21 May 14, 2020

Absolutely my pleasure. Well-written, Roshna. I appreciate your like my work, thank you!

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Kelechi Nwokoma
21:39 May 12, 2020

This story is beautifully written. I really enjoyed it. Keep it up.

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Roshna Rusiniya
15:30 May 13, 2020

Thank you!

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P. Jean
13:19 May 12, 2020

I feel confused and heartbroken....your words are real...

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Roshna Rusiniya
13:38 May 12, 2020

Thank you for reading my story . Really appreciate it.

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18:58 May 11, 2020

A wonderful heart-felt story that speaks to human emotions. I was anticipating how the meeting would go when the character finally met her father, but just like in real life, things do not always go as planned. Great story🌟

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Roshna Rusiniya
19:37 May 11, 2020

Thank you for your wonderful feedback. I didn’t want the ending to look rushed and unrealistic by making the daughter forgive the father too easily. So I left it open. Hope and promises first. Forgiveness and acceptance will come later.

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Cynthia Scott
04:03 May 11, 2020

Wonderful story! Lots of deep emotions and great descriptions. Great job!!

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Roshna Rusiniya
04:10 May 11, 2020

Thank you for reading Cynthia. Appreciate the feedback!

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Maggie Deese
14:11 May 08, 2020

I really enjoyed this story, Roshna! You had a wonderful main character and great descriptions. The only thing I wished for was for the story to continue! I am invested now.

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Roshna Rusiniya
14:16 May 08, 2020

Ah! That was fast! I posted the story half an hour ago. Ha ha Thank you so much for your wonderful feedback. Hopefully one day I will write a sequel!

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Maggie Deese
14:19 May 08, 2020

Haha! I'm on this site way too much so I always see who's posted new things! But you're so welcome! I look forward to reading the sequel one day.

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Roshna Rusiniya
14:21 May 08, 2020

Me too. I spend way too many hours here reading!

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Vrishni Maharaj
22:56 May 26, 2020

This is great, Roshna! Good job :)

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Roshna Rusiniya
04:37 May 27, 2020

Thank you!

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B M
01:42 May 24, 2020

I can definitely relate on so many levels, not having any family, only having the necessities growing up, being what felt like the sore thumb in a rich crowd of people... I've slowly been reading your stories, and one by one, I am falling in love with your writing! Great work! :)

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Roshna Rusiniya
03:14 May 24, 2020

Thank you. I used to write when I was a kid- short stories, poetry etc. Then marriage, kids and I got busy. Last year my father published his first book at the age of 74 and it inspired me to write again. I am so happy to see the positive feedback here and it means a lot to me!

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Tvisha Yerra
16:34 May 20, 2020

I love how the tilte connects so beatifully with the story!

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Roshna Rusiniya
16:49 May 20, 2020

Thank you!

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Hope Everlasting
12:12 May 15, 2020

I loved this!

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Roshna Rusiniya
12:26 May 15, 2020

Thank you for reading! I love your name, Hope.

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Hope Everlasting
15:52 May 21, 2020

Thanks Roshna :)

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Aqsa Malik
12:48 May 14, 2020

This was interesting, I loved how different she looked in her Maxi Dress and flats to the other people who seemed to be dressed like they were out of Gossip Girl! I would have loved a more closed ending though, I was waiting for dialogue between her and her father. Nonetheless, this was a great read. Good job!

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Roshna Rusiniya
13:07 May 14, 2020

Thank you for reading it. Appreciate the honest feedback too. I wanted to end the story on a realistic note to show that no matter how much the daughter thinks she and her mother have grown apart, they are still connected through more similarities than they could count.

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Aqsa Malik
13:09 May 14, 2020

Ah, I see. Well, I always admire a realistic approach, so well done!

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15:21 May 13, 2020

I loved the ending.

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Roshna Rusiniya
15:30 May 13, 2020

Thank you Daniella.

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15:20 May 13, 2020

Beautiful.

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Roshna Rusiniya
15:29 May 13, 2020

Thank you!

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22:35 May 12, 2020

Your character has a strong emotional voice I'd give her that, but I would've appreciated the first part more if it had more dialogue and less narration.

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Roshna Rusiniya
02:34 May 13, 2020

Thank you for reading. I appreciate the feedback.

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00:18 May 14, 2020

You're welcome

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. .
05:26 Sep 05, 2020

Beautifully written!

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Annora Chen
22:55 Jul 29, 2020

Oh myy, this was so nice! I love how in the end u tied the mother and daughter together with the line "Our views, our insecurities, our fears -- they are the same and that scares us both." Amazing story!! <3🥰

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