No friends: at least not any that would miss me if I wasn’t there.
Abysmal sense of self-worth: I’m never going to be good at anything.
I would’ve washed these thoughts/situations away with half a bottle of red, but they aren’t mine to own; they belong to my four year old. I just stood beside him foolishly as he choked, “The world is a bad bad place”.

The proverbial apple has fallen dangerously close, and I’m too rooted in my insecurities and ineptitudes to nudge it away. It would take a storm, a flood of courage, to save this one. What good is fresh daal in his rice and sheets taut on his bed if I can’t dance to make it rain?

My personal strategy had been cursing my rotten genes and destroying the good cells with booze. If nature has failed my child, there’s always nurturing to stitch things up. Nurture? That’s where I come in, ain’t it? Mother. MOTHER! I scream silently and the echoes in my head chime back, “mother, bother, loser, suffer”.

I don’t want him on my road. This non-road. This infinite road in a circular tunnel where light dare not enter and voices never leave.

Can a blind woman convince a child to see beauty in a world? Beauty she’s only heard of? Children can smell insincerity even if it were topped with rainbow-colored sprinkles. I need to speak from a place of truth, a moment when I actually believed such beauty existed. I’d seen it once, in his eyes – the first time I saw my first-born’s eyes. I didn’t see my eyes, I didn’t see his father’s eyes. I saw eyes that were untouched, waiting and ready. I saw beauty for the first time, and the dam collapsed within me.

I need to remember that moment was real. As real as the daylily in my garden that refuses to flower, as real as the stretch-marks on my belly that are here to stay. I need to remember that moment and speak confidently. Speak confidently of beauty in this world and its power to break walls. For the (n-1)th time he asked me on his way to school, “Mama, is it a bad thing to die?” I turned down the ad-ridden radio and proclaimed, “No. It’s only bad if you haven’t lived”.