Anita sat beside the window sill, tears streaming down her eyes. The myriad of emotions going through her was too much to contain or display. She had to get a grip, now!
She could hear the commotion outside her room. She had surreptitiously closed the door on the pretext of some private task and her parents hadn’t pried any further, although they weren’t pleased about her sudden departure. Outside her room she could hear the movers crating away box after box to the u-haul waiting outside.
She was a mother of two children herself now. But the child within her still craved for her parents’ approval, an approval she knew she would never receive. But try as she might, her heart would not write this off as a lost cause.
When her parents announced they were moving back permanently to the village of their childhood to enjoy their retired life, Anita wasn’t sure whether she should be happy or sad. On one hand, after decades of living under a microscope held by her parents, she would finally live a life of her own, bring up her kids the way she wanted to. The constant criticism of her actions and decisions would finally come to an end. One part of her couldn’t wait for this phase of life to begin!
Another part of her agonised over the upcoming separation. In spite of all their constant judgemental comments, Anita knew her parents loved her and she loved them right back.
As these thoughts went through her head and the tears freely flowed, the door to her room creaked and Nipa walked in slowly. Anita’s face immediately lit up. Little Nipa had a way of cheering Anita up like no one did. She held a special place in Anita’s heart.
Nipa wriggled into Anita’s lap and wiped her tears away. “Don’t cry, you know we agreed on this just a few weeks ago. We won’t cry over this.”
It only made Anita cry even harder. She held Nipa close, unwilling to let go, unwilling to move on. “But Nipa, if they go… you will go too. How will I live without you my darling girl?”
“I’ll always be with you”, said Nipa, poking at Anita’s heart with her pudgy little fingers. “It’s time though, you have to let me go. Hold me in your heart and let me go.”
Anita closed her eyes in submission, willing the tears to stop. Nipa slowly climbed down from her lap and left the room quietly.
A few minutes later, Anita opened her eyes and glanced around the empty room. She rushed out, her eyes searching for her beloved Nipa but she was nowhere to be seen.
She glanced at her parents, critically examining her perfect packing of their things. She had done nothing but help them pack, putting her entire life on hold for them for the last few weeks. Up came her father’s eyebrows as he muttered under his breath, complaining about the lack of quality in the packing.
Anita went towards her father and looked him in the eye. Then she smiled and hugged him and moved on to instruct the movers how to organise the boxes, leaving a bewildered father behind.
Nipa. It’s how she called herself when she was four years old and couldn’t pronounce her own name. It had started all the way back then, the whispers, the bitterness, the disappointment. The girl-child no one wanted but had to make peace with.
Today, years later, Anita finally let go of Nipa. And moved on.