When I was Young

Neelima K E
Neelima K E

Third time is the charm they say. I was the third child to a third marriage, my father having married repeatedly two of my aunts for them both to die in childbearing. Not me, nor my mother. She was a strong one.

"I was his third wife, the moment I crossed the threshold I knew I would be his last" she told me proudly one day oiling my hair. She gave him sturdy children, seven of us.

Among the four that survived, I was the weakest. From early on, I remember my parents taking me door to door in search of remedies quick and slow, whooping cough to dengue malaria, you name it, I had it.

Speaking as a strong woman of eighty, now the materfamilias of a debilitating household held together by my intention, it seems difficult to believe. My youngest grand child told me so.

"Nani, you are exaggerating, like that day in the park when you told me you saw a cobra when it was only a garden lizard shaking the grass tiptop"

Well, how do I convince this unworthy kid that back in the day lizards used to be longer snakes. Then came along a frog princess; like all princesses haughty. The little lizard prince fell in love with the froggie girl and eloped in stealth. Running around in the wilderness, the couple were soon lost to the world.

An angry frog daddy cursed all lizards, they were snakes no longer. What of the snakes that remained? They shared no love for their now exiled brethren but were insulted by the father frog's audacity. "How dare he, a bloody lowly jumpscare, curse the holy reptile? Reparations had to be made. From that day forward, snakes around our country started eating froggy goods, vile and disgusting though they tasted.

By the time I finish my windy narration my daughter has picked the little nitpicker away. I can see her shush him out in the living room. .silly idiot forgets the reflection.

'Oblige the old fool', I read in her face. Oh, to be young and proud and walking again. The doctors had been convinced I would never walk, then came along the village magician. 

But that is a story for another day. Now, I must sleep, before the little brats come crowding again.

Bio: Neelima K E is an Indian girl in love with words. She has completed her Master’s in English Literature. Her work has appeared in/ has been published by Inkspire, TMYS, Vine Leaves Press, The Blotter Magazine, Story Quilt and Indian Periodical among others.

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