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“Silent night, holy night…”

The carols resonated through the cracked wooden doors, spreading through the corners of the rooms decorated with cheap fairy lights and smelling of stale beer. The rhythmic clinging of the chimes proliferated even more when he stepped outside the door, setting his bare feet on the dirty white sheets of snow.

How he loved carols, taking me with him on his lap and covering me with all sorts of woollen just to keep me warm every year back in the ‘80s.

“Come on in Dad, put your shoes on. It’s darn cold out there. I don’t want you to fall sick now”, I hurried out to bring him in.

“No, I’m going carol singing with them, I need to take Soph along with me. Where is she now? I promised her that I will take her to ride the fancy ponies this year. Call her down, they are leaving after this song! ”, he panicked.

“Soph isn’t well. She is sleeping upstairs Daddy, please come in now. I made your favourite soup.” I calmed him down.

“Not well ?! Good God, what happened? Definitely, the flu, it is spreading terribly due to this tricky weather. It’s so cold at times and then again it’s raining cats and dogs. Well, it’s your fault. You never take sufficient care of her. If only her mother knew. She would always know”, he sighed and came back in bringing his snow clad feet all over the matted rug.

I did not pay any heed to his words.

“Okay dad, I’ll take care of her. I. .”

“Please don’t call me ‘dad’. I don’t understand why do you do so? You aren’t my daughter. Go and bring me some hot tea you made. Where is the newspaper now? Oh! I always forget. Where is my hat, I need to go to the poker meet tonight as well.”

He interrupted me as always and went on looking for his specs while wearing them.

I let out a sigh and a bout of low jitters alongside, which always shadowed me when the piercing feeling of being an orphan who was adopted, creased through my skin. It never failed to let my heart sink and mind cringe with unspoken sadness of being an orphan. It instantly smoked out all the illusions which I had embraced, of this perfect little family. It’s already difficult for an orphan to cope up with life specially contoured with loneliness, death and oblivion.

The desolate house throbbed with silence inside my head, as he went off to sleep after drinking the hot soup. Nothing was usual for him. Even his favourite soup had to be mixed with disparate pills unknown to him. The smell of his medicines and the taste of his crudeness made me vent out certain unwelcoming thoughts. Well, it wasn’t his fault. The degree of kindness I received depended upon the story I made up for him every day or on the medicines which I secretly put him on. Somehow he was always the antagonist of the day, disfiguring my stories with his fragments of lost memories.

Finally when I established an intimate connection with my leftover family, he too, is suffering from Alzheimer’s now, making him incapable of recalling me or the better days we had spent together after Sophie had passed away.

 

 

I heard the coaster falling off the table. I got up.

“Sophie, are you there?” he called out from his room in the middle of his sleep.

“Yes Daddy, always”, she hurried back in.

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Always and Almost
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Prerona Mukherjee

Suffering from an intense desire of being sarcastic yet candid: Always high on grammar and absolutely smitten by a real conversation including insults, puns, facts and humor. Anyone can freely contact me,if ever required.

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