It’s been a few years, at least more than five years, but that little face is stuck in my head. I still wonder what happened to him, did his life get any better? where is he? how did he turn out to be? I fear to find out the answer.
It was Christmas Eve and all the medical centers were closed other than just this one on Old Port Road. Not sure what was the emergency, but Arj needed to see a doctor and we decided to take the plunge and go there. You don’t need an appointment at this medical center, hence it’s always overflowing with patients. We had no choice but to endure the wait and be there.
Next to us was a mother with a toddler in her hand and an older son. I think he would have been around five or six years old. The boy was bored and was showing signs of it. The mother reprimanded him for that. Although I could empathize with the boy (as a mum of two boys myself), I understood the mothers role. Memories of dragging my two when they were that age came to mind and didn’t envy the mother at all.
As time passed, we noticed that, she was playing with toddler, hugging and kissing the toddler, it was all about the toddler. Each time the little boy would come to join in, she would push him away.
I was feeling very uncomfortable with this scene. She started to talk very loudly, and would blame the boy for infecting the toddler. As per her she had asked him not to kiss the baby and he still did it and now since the baby is sick he has to put up with being at the surgery. Such conversations happened a few times.
Now it was getting dark and late. Well past dinner time. So he asked if he could get a few coins to buy a snack from the snack machine. For which she gave the same line “no, it is because of you that we are here…” Unfortunately the snack machine is not in that building, it’s the next building otherwise I would have just bought a few snacks and given it to him and Arj and pretended that I was just sharing.
I was planning many things in my head. I was thinking maybe I could loudly announce to my son “Arj here” and hand him some money “go and grab some snacks, take him too (pointing to that boy)looks like he is hungry, not safe for him to go on his own” etc. I was thinking of asking Arj secretly to find out the boys name and which school he attends while they are going for the snacks. So I could inform the school and ask them to keep an eye on this kid. In my eyes this was a horrible type of child abuse. Mental abuse.
While I was debating what to do, she threw some money at him. And it fell under the chairs. He excitedly crawled under the seat and got the money. It was only two 5c coins. He innocently asked “can I go mum to buy something”. She started to laugh at him “you silly, it’s only 10c’s, you can’t buy anything for that”. The poor kid started to cry. I wanted to join him.
Just then our doctor emerged and called us in. Uncomfortably I headed to the doctors. I wanted to say something to the doctors. But I didn’t. Do you think I feel guilty? More than you can imagine. Maybe I didn’t want to blame another mother without knowing what was really the circumstance. I don’t know why but no words came out.
When we came out they had gone into the doctors. Arj could see I was rather distraught. He kept assuring me that there was nothing I could have done. Coming closer to home I got an idea. I hurriedly got home. Nearing Christmas I had many chocolate boxes in my cupboard. With the excuse of Christmas I could give him one. So I grabbed the box of chocolate and ran back to the medical center.
I ran upstairs to the waiting area and like I feared, they were not there. I went up to the receptionist and explained that I know due patient confidentiality and all that she can’t really tell me much, but I was only wanting to give a box of chocolate to a little boy. I described the mum and two kids sitting next to me and asked if they had come out of the doctors room, have they left etc. She said ” I can’t say much, and it’s not me saying it but if it was me, I would look near the toilets downstairs”.
I ran back down stairs again. I had missed them. I looked around the car park. They were no where to be seen. I knew I couldn’t change his life by giving him a box of chocolate. But I wanted him to feel loved at least by a stranger. Just to see a glimpse of smile on his face at least just for once.
I don’t know why that mother behaved that way. I don’t know if that was her step son or her own son. I understand the pressures of having a toddler and another child. I have been there when Arj was really sick and I spent months in Hospital with him. I felt so guilty and felt that I was neglecting my eldest. I probably did.
No amount of hugs from hubby could wipe off the guilt I felt. Even to this day his face haunts me. I just hope that mother got some help. I just hope that was just one bad day for that boy and not his destiny. I just hope things didn’t get worse for him.
That is one regret that I don’t wan’t to ever repeat again.
Daily word Prompt Guilty: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/guilty/