‘Ouch! It hurts, you moron! Did you just spank my butt? Why would you laugh and smile while I am crying? What’s wrong with you people?’ I talked silently to myself. Nobody there seemed to understand me. I wanted to say, ‘Man! This light is hurting me. It’s too bright, turn it off, please. ‘But all that came out was a weird shriek and some more tears. I was amazed at how helpless I felt.
I was being tossed from one hand to another. And Boy! People were making such weird faces at me. They literally scared the hell out of me, but still unaffected by my cries, they all kept laughing and congratulating each other. I was wrapped in a sheet and was passed on to a woman who was half sitting – half lying on a bed. I was surprised to see that only she had tears in her eyes. She spoke to me in some hidden language which connected our hearts. I smiled at her. She smiled back and gave a peck on my cheeks. There was something special about her, something in her eyes, those eyes expressed a world of emotions which I felt only I could understand. I felt blessed. And so did she (that’s what she told the man standing right beside her who was waiting eagerly for his turn to hold me.)
That gleam in his eyes couldn’t be overlooked, as soon as that man got hold of me, his eyes began twinkling with fervor. I could sense that although he was really happy but deep inside somewhere he was worried. I could see those invisible lines on his forehead which conveyed that he was worried if he’ll be able to prove himself responsible enough for me. I winked at him and assured him that things will go on perfectly. He winked back. We were already a team.
I was still wondering what all the commotion was about when I heard someone in a distance saying over the phone, ‘It’s a healthy little girl. We’ve named her Amanda’. Ah! Now I realized that they were talking about me. I gathered I was just born (whatever, ‘being born’ meant). ‘Amanda’ sounded pretty cool to me, the name itself felt so authoritative.
I was already so bored at the hospital, finally they took me home. Interiors of my home left me amazed. My mother had done such an impressive work with the architecture. I was in love with my room, it had crimson-white walls with cartoon prints all over and they gave me a plethora of toys to play with. I got a wooden cot of my own, a 21st century ultra-modern pram and a whole new wardrobe of designer wears. Wow! My folks were pretty rich. It was all so overwhelming.
Gradually, all the guests left and only we three: my mother, father and I were left behind. I had no clue what to do, actually I couldn’t even do anything, it was kind of practically impossible. Whenever I wanted to sing, I ended up crying. Whenever I wanted to dance, I ended up kicking everything and everyone around me. Whenever I wanted to speak, I ended up making aa ee ooo sounds. And whenever I wanted to eat, sleep or get my diaper changed, I purposely had to cry, but for all these different tasks, I chose different pitches and ways to cry, after all I needed to put some variation in the only task that I could do perfectly. I was pretty confident by now that I could beat any other child of my age in a crying competition, for I was ‘The Crying Queen’ of this century. To top it all, I was extremely adorable and cute, so I knew that if ever that title came into existence, it was mine.
My mom and dad who seemed pretty calm and composed until today, started returning to their original colors. Their first fight revolved around me. They both wanted to resume their job and both kept asking the other to take care of me. Finally my mom surrendered as she realized that she’ll have to feed me timely. It wasn’t like that I was a burden for them or something; they both loved at least me to the core but wanted to earn for my future. ‘Aww! Cute parents’, I thought.
Later at night when my dad arrived home, he brought beer cans with him and seeing those my mother hugged him and said, ‘Honey! I badly missed all the booze, let’s get all worked up today, Amanda is asleep.’ Hah! They wish! I was witnessing everything and Gosh! They were one bunch of a crazy people, though now I loved them even more; after all I was their blood. They invited over a few of their friends and began their little party. By now, I doubt they even knew that I existed. They planned on playing a game of truth and dare. One of their friends, Keith, a total bitch used my pram as a prop for rotating instead of a bottle, which by the way they had plenty with them. She declared that on whomsoever the head of the pram would stop will be the victim, little did they realize that even I was in the pram and it was my head that was getting dizzy with all the rotation. I had to make it stop, so willingly, I began throwing up. I proudly ruined all their clothes and faces and began laughing. Keith, the bitch, came forward to slap me and in time my darling mother came to my rescue and tripped that witch over. She got up, slapped my mother and left, others followed her. I personally loved that party, it was all so entertaining, and I wished it occurred soon again. My mom cleaned us all up and we all dozed off finally at 3 am.
Things went pretty smooth for a few months. Major happenings took place when I was asleep; I know this because often I would get the chance to hear some excerpts from those incidents when they were being told by my parents to their friends or relatives. I guess I spoke too soon. Here came the bombardment. One fine Sunday morning, I witnessed something that left me stunned; I was in my parents’ room resting in my cot, gazing at the roof above. My parents started fighting over some petty issue and in no time it took an ugly face. I heard a crash; it was a flower-vase thrown by my mom at my dad, which luckily missed him and broke the opposite window.
I almost choked when I heard their conversation:
Mom: I seriously can’t put up with you anymore. I am going to the court tomorrow.
Dad: And what will you say this time, you bull crap!? We are already on a one-year waiting period.
Mom: So what? As it is it was for six months and it was us only who asked for an extension. I’ll tell them that I don’t want the extension anymore. I’ll ask them to divorce us else I’ll threaten them that I’ll take my life.
Dad: Don’t forget that you have a baby now. You just can’t decide to kill yourself whenever you feel like.
Mom: That baby was just a shot at saving our marriage. We should have agreed to the six-month thing. This baby is doing no good to our marriage. I’m afraid that now we will have to fight yet another case, this one for her custody.
Dad: How can you say like that? I thought you loved Amanda. What kind of a mother you are. Curses be on you!
Mom: So, you’re the perfect father, aren’t you? I won’t mind at all if you take up her custody.
Dad: Gosh! What a tramp of a lady you are. Yes! Why would I mind, I love my little daughter, I can take care of her on my own. Now I’ll go to the court tomorrow. I don’t need you at all.
Mom: Yours? Huh! She is our daughter. Don’t call her just yours.
Dad: You are contradicting yourself. Decide first what you want lady. Anyway, I can’t risk Amanda’s life, she can’t live with you. I’ll make sure I get her custody.
Mom: And I’ll make sure that you don’t. I love her, she is my life. I’ll snatch her custody from under your nose. A child needs a mother, she can’t live without me.
Dad: A child needs a father as much as he needs a mother and this is not some competition. I shall see you in court; try your luck, you Scumbag!
Mom: Shut up! You filthy shit!
Dad: Die Bitch!
They both left the room. I was left there, all alone, shocked to death. So, I was born to save their marriage. Was that all I was worth of? I didn’t cry or shout. I knew it would have infuriated them even further. I chose to be the silent spectator. I was lying helplessly on my cot when I heard my father’s footsteps.
He came up to me, took me in his hands and whispered in my ears, ‘My sunshine! You don’t have to worry about a thing. I promise that I’ll give you a happy future even if it means not having your mother around. I promise to be your father as well as your mother. You will never have to complain about anything. Just remember, I love you more than anyone in this world. Yes! I love your mother too but things aren’t working out lately between us. Even though I want her to stay, it seems impossible now. Anyway, leave all this, you sleep peacefully and always wear this precious smile of yours.’
I smiled back at him and gave him a small peck on his ear. He kissed me back, made me sleep and left. My father was a darling, I was feeling so privileged already. Still lying on my cot, smiling, this time I heard my mother’s footsteps.
She repeated my father’s actions; took me in her hands and whispered, ‘My Strawberry Muffin! Please, don’t judge me. What all I spoke was on the spur of the moment. I didn’t mean that. I really love you a lot. For a mother her child is the greatest blessing she could ever ask for and now that I have you, I can’t afford to lose you my baby. Please be with me in this one, don’t let your father take your custody. Yes! I love your father too but sometimes ego prevails and takes over all the natural feelings. Things aren’t working out lately between us. Even though I want him to stay, it seems impossible now. But listen, trust me on this, I am fully capable to raise you on my own; we don’t need your dad for this. I earn well and can promise you a happy and a successful life ahead. Good Night my love.’ Even my mother was a darling. I felt sorry for these ugly turn of events that they both were going through.
It seemed that I was failing in the very purpose of my existence. I couldn’t let that happen. I swore to myself that I’d make sure that they both live together. Those morons didn’t have the slightest clue that they couldn’t live without one another. I, an eight month old baby had to take a step to keep them together. Gosh! It was becoming harder to manage everything at once. C’mon how can you forget my major tasks? I had to puke, poop and cry; and now even had to rack my brains for my dumb headed parents.
For a start, I started crying more. See, if I cried more then they’ll have to talk to decide who’ll take turns to pacify me. My initial plan (Plan-A) was to make them talk, more and more, just about anything. Whenever their talks would start turning into a fight, I’d start crying again, so that they stop fighting. I know I was risking my relations with them but now I knew that they both loved me, so I was sure that whatever may happen, they’ll always come for me. This plan was going quite well, until I realized something. They both had stopped talking altogether and had fixed turns to look after me. I noticed that for the first two hours, my dad would come, then for the next two, my mom and so on. This was not helping now.
So, I planned on moving to Plan-B. Under this plan, I aimed at bringing them both together to calm me down. Whenever my parents came individually to me, I’d continue crying, no matter whatever they gave me or said to me. This plan was working very slowly as those pot-heads didn’t even think of coming together for even a mere try. They finally used their “brains” and decided that my mother would take me to a hospital. Even if they had come together at least here, they would have understood something. But obviously! Why would they work according to my plan? Once there, doctor examined everything and couldn’t find anything wrong with me, plus when I was with the doctor, I kept smiling and laughing with her and as soon as my mother took charge of me, I started crying again. My mother was embarrassed as I did this continuously for ten minutes. She was clueless as to how to handle me. She finally gave up and called my father. As soon as my father came and held me, I continued the same procedure. I don’t know why, but the doctor thought something and advised my parents to hold me together. Phew! Finally! I stopped crying and felt like hugging the doctor. Man! My throat ached badly from all the crying.
The doctor said to my parents, ‘I’ve studied child psychology and there we learnt that sometimes a child needs both his parents to be with him, when he feels he is neglected by even one of them, he’d make sure to grab attention of both and collect all the love he can. I’d advise you both to stay with her always and as far as possible take care of her together. The more she’ll feel loved, the happier she will be.’ My parents thanked the doctor and left.
In the car they both held me together, played with me, talked to me. For a while they forgot their differences and became one happy family. Even our driver was moved to tears and said, ‘let no evil destroy this bond of love.’ This time, he spoke too soon, they both were on their fighting spree again; abusing and calling names to each other’s families. I had no option left now but to move to my last and final plan: Plan-C. I wanted to slow things down but I felt that there was no time left. I made myself firm and started acting upon my plan of action. I waited and as soon as our car jumped over a pit on the road, I freed myself from their grip and jumped forwards. I landed up on the dashboard after hitting the windscreen of the car. Believe me; I didn’t plan for such a grave mishap. I thought I’ll just receive one or two minor injuries and it’ll be all. But Boy! It happened such that my skull received a crack and blood oozed out in loads, I forgot that I was just eight months old, obviously I was too weak, I felt like a fool. It was hurting too badly and this time I was crying out of pain and not out of a plan.
My parents were scared off their nerves. They shouted at the driver and blamed each other for the mishap. Driver being sensible enough didn’t waste any time and took me back to the hospital. The doctor was shocked to see me. Half an hour ago I was all healthy and smiling and now here I was with a broken head. My parents were still busy blaming each other. The doctor came in between them and shouted, ‘Shut up! Just shut up both of you.’ This silenced my parents and brought them back to the reality, they turned towards me and hugged me tight assuring that nothing would happen to me. As they were taking me inside the operation theatre, in the distance I saw my mom and dad hugging each other. They both wiped each other’s tears and my dad kissed my mom on her forehead. I heard them saying:
Dad: Darling! I love you a lot... sorry for everything. I shouldn’t have…
Mom: Shush! Don’t say anything. It was entirely my fault, I love you too honey! I’ll never even think of leaving you again in my life. You mean the world to me.
Dad: If we had acted a bit maturely and taken care of Amanda, our daughter would have been here with us, smiling.
Mom: I know! It’s our fault that she is going through all this. Hope she gets out all hale and hearty soon. I won’t be able to live without her. She is the reason that we both are here, standing together in each other’s arms.
Dad: Don’t worry. Trust me! I know our daughter, she’s a hero. She’ll fight through this like she made her way through a mess of parents.
Mom: I know exactly what you are talking about. Cheers to Amanda!
I felt relieved, my purpose here was accomplished. If I was born just to save their marriage, I had done my job. Whatever was going to happen inside the operation theatre didn’t matter to me anymore. I stopped crying and silently closed my eyes.