Presence

I had never been a very good father. My now six year old kid had never had much attachment towards me. He wouldn’t listen to what I said. My wife, my love, she was always the better parent and my kid loved her a lot more than me. But all this did not remain the same. It all changed , after my love passed away a week ago.

I had been devastated. And no words I know can describe what my son must have been going through. He had taken it very hard. He wouldn’t speak to me nor cry. And realizing the gravity of the situation, I had tried getting him to open up to me. But , he just wouldn’t. Strangely though, he had started listening to what I told him, which he previously never did. I can swear he had started looking at me different too. I had taken leave from office. I would stay home drinking and whiling away time while my son was at school. Upon his return, I would cook for him a hot meal and try to get him to talk to me. But every night it was the same. He would sit at the table and eat his meals silently. He would glance at me a few times through the course of the meal, but never utter anything. This went on till yesterday night.

Yesterday evening he came home from school a bit more tired than usual. He went straight to his room. At around nine ,  he came down to the dining room. I had prepared  cheesy pasta-his favourite dish.  He started eating silently like he did every night. He glanced at me , looking like he wanted to say something. I decided to grab the moment-

‘What is it son? Is the pasta good? ‘

He kept his spoon down.

‘Yes papa it is nice. But I wanted to have another bowl.’

I was glad we were making some conversation.

‘Sure son. Eat as much as you want.’

He nodded. And started to fill another bowl. About halfway, he glanced at me and suddenly stopped.

‘What happened son? Go ahead take it. ‘

He shook his head.

‘No . Mom always screamed at me when I ate more than one. ‘

I thought I should be frank with the kid.

‘Son, your mom is not here anymore. So it’s okay if you wanna have more.’

He glanced at me again.

‘No. Mom is saying no.’

I was a few pints down. But I could swear he was looking behind me.

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