The hands that once caressed and combed his ruffled hair lay lifeless as she dozed off on his shoulders.
She was one big bag of bones. What were once luscious black curls had become a handful of white ones. Sense and sensibility had parted ways with her a long time ago.
Her words, once profound, were all gibberish. She, who lived for others and tended the needy, couldn’t even pick up a crumb by herself. How unkind and unruly of life!
“Ma, wake up,” he said, wiping the oatmeal that had been her breakfast, from her wrinkled cheeks.
“Ma, it’s your birthday today! Do you remember how you used to bake chocolate cake and how I would finish them even before the guests arrived?”
He asked her and she gave him a crooked smile.
“Ma, today I will bake for you,” he said, lightly pecking on her forehead. It was her 70th birthday.
She had always celebrated his birthdays with immense spectacle and joy as if they were very important events. Alas, she retained no memories of them. She had even forgotten her own birthday.
The house was decorated like a newlywed bride. “HAPPY BIRTHDAY MA” proclaimed the banner on the wall. He had invited all their relatives to attend the party. The old lady rejoiced at the sight of so many people.
The star of the bash was the homemade cake. It didn’t matter that salt had been used in place of sugar or that it was slightly over baked. The dollops of unadulterated love that sweetened it, compensated for all that it lacked. He took one small piece and fed her. Happily, she clapped like a kid.
A teardrop escaped his eye, but the warmth of his mother’s hearty laughter dried up all his tears.