Chapter – 15
My whole body ached when I got up the next morning. Birds chirped all around. Caws of the crow were predominant. Opening my eyes, I saw Ammu standing beside me with a smile that had brought in all the sunlight of the dawn. She was holding a tiny steaming clay vessel.
“Coffee…” she said softly, offering the clay vessel to me. I squatted on the mat and took the coffee pot from her hand. It was black coffee sweetened with molasses. As I sipped the coffee, I thought of asking something to her. But, for the reasons unknown to me, I fell dumb. All the words ran off my lips. I just sipped the coffee and emptied it, and gave back the vessel to Ammu. She disappeared into the kitchen with it.
“Shall we go home, child? Your parents will be waiting for you…” Velappan was ready with his oar. I realized that I had slept long. What must be going on in my house? Mother must be extremely worried. All of them would be searching for me all night…
I jumped up to my legs. “Yea, let’s go…” I said. I had a wash of my face and a gargle, and followed the old man to the bank of the rivulet where the canoe was tied.
The sun was brilliant. As I sat inside the canoe, I looked back to the shore. Ammu was standing there, leaning towards a coconut tree. The old man’s oar fell into water with a loud thud. The canoe moved. I felt a strange pain creeping into my heart. Why? As the canoe moved away from the shore, I was urged a thousand times to look back to the shore. Ammu was standing there, waning like a moon, a moon that lighted my strange and forlorn night…
(to be continued…)
by Abhilash Fraizer