School Uniform

My Dad has been my rock I held onto, our little family had plenty of reasons to grieve yet we tried to find happiness in every little thing, and even though there were a lot of things on which we disagreed upon but in the end, we cared for each other, we really did. I had just returned from a very tiring day at school, the scorching summer sun, my well-pressed uniforms now had sweat stains. Dad had pressed today’s school uniform to perfection unlike other days and that only spoke about his continuous efforts to put our lives back to normal.

But what I had to face next was unplanned, not inevitable, it had to come out one day. And so it did. His face had a lot of things written already, as I entered the dining room, his voice had urgency, his tone had concern but his eyes had the same grief which we both have been holding onto for the last one year.

“Perhaps, you can explain it to me.” Dad said as he kept the thing which I hid from him on the table.

I stayed silent. I couldn’t speak a single word.

“Is it yours?” he asked. I nodded to accept.

Dad looked outside the window, trying hard not to express his anger.

“How long have you been doing this?” Dad asked, as he picked it up again and scanned it through his eyes.

“Si… Six months.” I replied, stuttering.

“Alright. So tell me, did she respond?” he asked. I nodded to accept my failure. I stared at my black leather shoes, the mud upon it, the dust, it spoke a lot more than any other day.

“Look. At. Me.” Dad said in a louder tone. I looked at him, startled by the sound.

“Why son? Why?” Dad asked, his tone now had more grief than my silence.

“I wanted to speak to her”, I said.

Dad broke down. I could see his tears visibly traversing through his cheeks from underneath his spectacles.

“Son. I love you, you know I do. I care about you, I am all you have and you’re all I have. But you can’t change certain things in life.” Dad said as he wiped his tears.

“I’m sorry Dad. I won’t do it again.” I said, trying to control my tears.

“We need to be strong, son. We can’t be so weak.”

I nodded again.

The moment had both of us in tears, as I hugged Dad, I could feel his pain, which was perhaps more than mine on many levels. He asked me to throw the thing away and I was determined to do it myself.

I picked it up from the table, my wasted efforts, as I walked out of the room,  just when Dad called me again.

“Yes Dad?” I responded as I peeked from the door of the dining room.

“I’m sorry I forgot to iron your uniform today. I promise to not forget again.” Dad said.

“Alright Dad”, I said, perplexed and confused as I took the stairs to my room with the Ouija board,

a faint voice at the back of my head questioned “Was it, mom?”

Author: Saurabh B (Instagram – @tracing.reveries)