shreya p.

February 10, 2006 - Gujurat
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stitched scars

From the time when we were first held in their arms to times where we were showered in hugs and kisses,
Moments where we held onto their finger for our first tiny steps, till the scream of excitement when we called out their name.
They were there for all our birthdays and when we fell off our bicycles and couldn’t stop crying.
When we got sick they’d stay up till 4 in the morning so we felt safe and oh how could I forget all those monsters under the bed they fought against.

They slept next to us when we had nightmares and read us bed time stories, or some from when they themselves were our age.
They sent us to an expensive private school and bought books and pens that we liked.
Lessons for the future, laughs and giggles while playing house or attending little tea parties wearing the earrings we made.
They taught us all those nursery rhymes, how to swim and more, the way to our house and their phone numbers if we needed it any more.
For emergencies they said, now it’s stuck in my head but the number isn’t valid.

They sacrificed their whole life for us, for our future.
They wished for things they couldn’t get all because they were saving up for a present for us.
Rough times went by where they would give up what they wanted just for a fun trip with us.
Higher middle class they said, but then why did we struggle so much?
A whole family business, even a house to our name, bills paid on time, and food and clothes provided;
But all for what, to see them to struggle?
A feast on the table and even closets full of clothes wouldn’t make up for seeing their tears every night.
I saw it myself and of course I saw more, I was the eldest daughter, the one who they went to share their feelings with.
I saw it all, the sorrow and pain in their young eyes, teardrops dripping down their face, it made me seem like a regret.
But was I?

So I grew up hating them thinking they felt that way about me.
I distanced myself away from them just like normal teenagers did, I saw the reality,
I saw fights and throwing plates but I also saw love in a funny way?
Me being young couldn’t understand it, was them asking which parent we would want to live with, a joke?
Because I didn’t find it funny.
What satisfaction did they get from those stupid questions I would wonder, I started saying silly answers to avoid messing with their feelings, to avoid hurting any of them.
My siblings didn’t understand, they would actually choose not knowing one of them would cry in their bathroom at night to avoid anyone seeing them.

They would encourage me for scholarships but the support felt like more of pressure and requirement.
I felt like such a disappointment; not even being able to get A’s to see smiles on their face, not even a feeling where I could make them proud unless a good level on the report card would come my way.
I felt useless compared to them, just a body who was eating of their useful resources.
I felt disconnected and away from my family and so I started doing it myself.

It became a cycle and I started to pity myself. I craved attention and so i fell into this hole of lies without anyone on my side.
I was a person with a whole different life story where my parents were put in the bad picture because I felt my story would never be much of an excuse.
I made them miserable because I became inconsiderate.
In my eyes my siblings and their reputation was more important to them than me. I started ignoring them at home and this lead to dramatic fights over the smallest things.

They blamed it on my short temper and attitude but why didn’t they understand I learnt it from the environment I saw?
Waking up to the noise of glass breaking and people wailing wasn’t the ideal alarm.
Nights where we were woken up packing bags just to go to our grandparents to get a break for us.
We couldn’t understand it: half awake talking our clothes and teddy bear while seeing our parents crying.
The house that used to be safe became a prison cell and I was just a child.
I was young so I chose to overlook what they did
But out of my siblings why was I was the only one feeling this,
Or was it just in my head, the question would linger.

These “stupid” things they did had such an effect on me that I felt hatred towards them
and slowly enough, the hatred starting shifting towards myself.
I felt weak and small against them, all I wanted was space
I wanted to crawl inside my little hole that I had created
Because now I found comfort in my insecurities and weaknesses; comfort in what brings one pain.

And since my privacy was not respected, boundaries were obliged.
I only felt happy around my friends because we had somewhat similar situations,
We had our ways to make it feel better, when we were together it felt like a joke because we lived in our own little fantasy
but was it really a joke I started to wonder because it would always shatter the second stepping into our house was thundered.

I felt my friends slowly dragged me down so I cut contacts,
I wanted time for myself and so I took.
There were so many moments where i was called names and made fun of behind my back
Were they really not aware of what I went through?
I had scars of my arms but a smile on my face:
Was it not transparent enough for them to say shit to my name?

Several days and nights scrolling though my phone
Why was a lifeless machine in control?
I would snap it if I could but then what would be my mode of communication to people I didn’t even properly know?
It was my dopamine, my motivation and my happiness.
How could little hearts on a screen change your decisions about your mind or body.
It was killing me but I couldn’t feel it’s sting
I can remember long nights filled with burning tears but why not the one’s where I was loved?

I couldn’t see the effort my parents put in to help me get back on my feet
But the dark hole was only mine to explore
Why would I accept help and sit in a room talking to a stranger rather than being alone?

I wasted months being a mess, I wasted precious moments with my parents without even realising it.
There were times where they almost divorced but what about the ones where they stayed together for me and my siblings?
For them our future was just as important; they were our parents after all.

When I got better it felt like a puzzle with a missing piece.
It felt like it still wasn’t perfect but whats a home without a couple fights every now and then.
To them, I was considered the tough knot that fixed itself even though no-one was able to help.
How is it their fault in the first place it was also their first go at parenthood anyway.
I was their first child, somewhat an experiment. No wonder my siblings turned out in a different way.
But parents are humans, with dreams of their own
This being a fact that maturity and time have shown.

Now I sit in my tiny chair, in the same home and with the same clothes I used to wear.
All that was missing was my parents.
In this quiet room where the echoes wander, furniture removed and new paint plastered.
I contemplate on the journey I once had but this house was the last anchor to my past.
But time, a healer, stitched wounds unseen.
Now in my scars, I can see a brighter cascade: constellations in our familial stars.
And as I look back on the path we tread,
I see not regret but lessons widespread.
All that’s left is to forget are the phone numbers I once retained.
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