‘Mama may I roll down my window, please?’
Saba sighed. After a not-particularly-good day at work she really could do without this. This is the worst part of parenting, she thought to herself, this having to always always explain yourself.
Seher’s ‘Why’ still hung in the air waiting for her response.
‘Because,’ said Saba trying to summon all her patience, ‘it’s dusty and noisy and hot.’
‘But it isn’t. Look ma how the trees are swaying. It’s breezy. And there aren’t so many vehicles, pretty please?’
And this, was the second worst bit – a No was never really a No till it was said over and over and over again. She felt a headache coming on. Thank goodness it is Friday evening.
She had got back from work looking forward to a quiet weekend, to putting her feet up and settling down with a hot cup of tea. That’s when the children had reminded her of the ‘promised’ treat to that new restaurant.
That would rank as the third worst thing – that kids never let you forget the promises you make them. It was a whole different thing, however when it came to promises that they made you, she reflected.
And so she had had a quick shower trying to wash off the day’s frustrations, had pulled on a tee and a skirt and here they were some 15 kms out of the city with Seher sitting beside her and Kabir in the back seat. She hoped the google lady knew where she was taking them as traffic thinned. She had considered calling off the treat but the dread of the children’s protests had made her drop the idea. Besides, a promise was a promise.
With Aarib away on a month-long assignment and she being taken up with this new project at work, the children had been left pretty much to their own selves. She realised she had missed spending time with them – their earnest conversations, silly antics and their banter.
If only it had been any other day.
Oh well thought she. It is as it is.
‘Maaa.. pleeease, may I?’ asked Seher yet again, her voice taking on a definite whine. Her nine-year-old was persistent if anything.
‘It isn’t even hot’, piped in four-year-old Kabir, ‘It’s starting to dribble’.
‘It’s drizzle dufus’, corrected the older one scornfully, ‘It’s starting to drizzle.’
‘Look na ma, it is drizzling’, she exclaimed pointing to the tiny droplets on the windshield going from a whiny irritated tween to an innocent animated child in the space of a moment.
‘Oh alright,’ said she reaching out to switch off the car air conditioner. Sometimes it was just easier to give in.
As the windows went down, fresh cool breeze rushed in pushing out the artificial cold inside the car and spraying the three of them with a fine mist of rain. Saba gasped in surprise while Seher and Kabir squealed for joy.
The wind tugged at Saba’s hair, tangling her short curly mop, smoothing out the knots of tension that seemed to have become part of her of late. She stuck her head out of the window letting the wind push her hair off her face, feeling lighter and happier than she had in a while.
Suddenly it didn’t seem imperative for them to reach the restaurant soon. Before she knew it she was braking the car, guiding it to a bend in the road and stopping. And then, on a whim, she opened the door and stepped out, followed by two very startled and delighted children. Saba smiled as they turned their faces up to the sky and ran around the car flapping their arms like wings, undeterred by the drizzle. The breeze whipped her skirt around her ankles and tugged insistently at her stole. She took a deep breath inhaling the petrichor, revelling in the promise of more rain.
For one small moment her thoughts drifted to wet car seats and even wetter children. And then they were all swept away as Saba gave herself up to the call of the wind.
Written for the prompt ‘The Call of the Wind’ for Day 7, the last day of the second edition of the fortnight-long #Bar-a-thon.