Her mother’s footsteps would reach her, but her mother herself would never. The footsteps, once reaching her landing, would turn to a subtle left and walk past her bedroom door without a glance. All the staggering those foots were compelled to do, because the vodka coursing through the foot’s veins was too deep and too intense and while the brain was concerned with keeping her eyes open, her legs hardly received any attention and the footsteps would lead her past her daughter’s room; unnoticed. Uncared.

And the tiny child inside would lay awake and listen to the fading sound, and wonder within herself what she did wrong. Hadn’t her friend told her, just that morning, that her mother would tell her stories every night? Then where was her mother? Why wasn’t she here? Clasping her tiny fingers and smoothening the lines between her brows and telling her about knights in shining armors and princes kissing frogs.

Nights would pass away in disdain, and she would hold on to the memories which were fleeing away without her notice. Bottled up and dark, she held on as long as the memories merged with the feelings and she couldn’t tell one from the other and for the first time her brain sighed at the incompentency of her age and the permanency of her pain.

And late one night, eight years old, having had enough of wallowing, she sat up from bed and slipped out a dust-covered, nearly-tattered book from below. The bookmark was still in there. She hurriedly went over to the page, eager to find her mother’s scent still lingering over the page, and disappointed to find that yet again her hopes had to be led to the ground.

But this time around, she didn’t stop at that. She went on over to the next sentence, her fingers gently running over the words printed on cheap paper, but words which meant much to her. She spoke aloud, her voice taking over the characters, the lilting in her voice replacing her mother’s drawl. And soon, she turned a page. Four night later, she had the pages memorised, and a month later, she could lie asleep in bed and think about the book and the words would come up in front of her. And finally, she dared to dream her own dreams and wanted to tell her own story.

// It’s 11:30 in the night and I don’t know what got over me but I wrote this and it hardly makes sense, but at least I wrote something.

// Written in response to Bedtime


4 thoughts on “Neglectful

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