It is so difficult to comprehend these mutable adult minds, most of the times, unlike mine. My reactions are almost predictable given a situation, like I like to look out from my school bus window, period. I cry when I am angry. I hit and push Brownie when she tries to take my toy away or eat my chocolate.
But my mom reacts differently to the same situations, making her so unpredictable. When I come back from school, she usually carries my bag for me and asks me what I did in school and if I finished my snack box or not. But yesterday, she hugged me tight, kissed me on the forehead and checked me from top to bottom. I would not change in the 3 hours I was away in school, now would I? But I loved it.
And instead of asking me what I did, she barged inside the bus and had a heated argument with the bus driver and the attendant. I could hear her say “Are you trying to punish my child for my act? Are you trying to teach me a lesson? Have you no mercy for a 4 year old?” She choked somewhere in the middle of the last sentence and came out of the bus. She held me in her arms tight and took me home while stroking my hair.
My dad also came right then, might be had a half day at office. He gave me a high-five and kept checking me out from a distance.
I got special attention the whole day later, Mom asked me what I wanted to eat and prepared me my favorite instant pasta without veggies. She kept telling me, “I am sorry sweetheart; you had to go through it”.
I was busy eating, but stopped briefly because I thought I heard someone sobbing. But, I continued gobbling in the fear of Brownie returning, my elder sister who comes later in the afternoon and has longer session in school.
I could hear mom talking to dad in a little weird tone, like the one I have when I cry a lot. “How traumatic it must have been, sitting alone in the bus, on unknown route. He must have waited for me looking around anxiously at the bus stop, but when no one came to pick him up he must have been heartbroken. When bus must have started, leaving behind his assigned stop, he would have wanted to call me out loudly. But I was not there”. Mom burst into tears.
“His pants were a little wet, because he could not have hold on for two long hours and didn’t have anywhere to go in a bus. But he looked ok otherwise.” Mom continued her explanation.
Dad interrupted, trying to stop mom from saying, “Its okay, don’t worry dear. Everything’s well that ends well”.
Mom came to check if I had finished eating and asked me I wanted a piece of cake. And brought me one without waiting for my reply and continued talking to dad.
“How could I do that? I have started taking things for granted at home and am busy with my own stuff. What if he had started crying, he would have been crying the whole 2 hours it took the bus to complete the route and drop him back. But I was only 2 minutes late to pick him up. I am usually always on time and if I am not, they are suppose to give a missed ring.”
Her emotions are something I am still learning to comprehend. Somewhere from being sorry and apologetic, she suddenly became angry. She was louder than, she usually is while scolding me. She was now saying, “Why can’t they give a call, and conveniently take the kid away. I was worried sick, when I called up school after 15-20 minutes of waiting in vain. They casually said he has been dropped. That pressed the panic button for me, I asked them to check again and they said they will get back to me within 15 minutes after confirming. That’s when I called you and asked you to go to school and check. They were the longest 15 minutes, my mind was processing all the negative possibilities there could have been. Oh God! Thank you for proving it all wrong.
Dad is usually silent, but this time around, he dared to interrupt mom to share his side of the story. He said, “When I reached the school, they were still trying to get in touch with the bus driver after you told them the bus route number. They talk about these camera installation and bus tracking systems, when they can’t even get their basics right. Its not acceptable, with so many nuisances we are hearing around.”
There was a time when both dad and mom were talking together. Its funny how each wants to tell his story first and they end up fighting like me and Brownie. Mom said, “When the school finally got in touch with the driver, they said the driver took the kid with him and he is safe and finishing his snack box right now. He said he would drop the remaining kids and then on his way back to school he would drop the kid back to his apartment. Telling me in the most nonchalant way possible.”
“What a moment of relief that was, and put an end to those pessimistic thoughts we both we were going through but couldn’t share with each other.” Mom said and dad kept a hand on her shoulder.
I started feeling sleepy then and was throwing tantrums for her attention now. Mom was setting the table to sit down and eat.
They could not finish their conversation or lunch. As mom went to put me to bed, dad went to pick up Brownie at the bus stop. He didn’t want to be late.