Maggie shook her head and heaved a sorrowful sigh, and sat down by his bedside, after tucking him in. As she stared at him, her heart began to beat faster, increasing her pain as she thought. How was she going to tell him, and how would he feel about it? Will he ever understand? He is just a five year old, who has grown to be so fond of his mother, and he never wants me to be away from him for long. Will he ever cope with it? What if I don’t tell him anything until it happens, will he not be more disappointed at me? The thoughts were pouring in.

His naive eyes shone brightly from his innocent, childish face. He was starring into her eyes, something he enjoyed doing every time they are having a mother and child moment, like now. But even as he looked, his little mind was too simple to let him identify the distress displaying all over her face. And his outlook, just as she has cultured him from birth, was just too positive to allow him admit to the obvious disconnect in the way she attended to him tonight. Quite unlike other nights.

“Mum!”

The sound from his tiny voice suddenly struck a chord that got her jumping back to the bitter reality. It became an even more painful reawakening as she thought of what that voice always resonated with — true, genuine love. A pure, innocent and unselfish love. The kind that a woman only gets to receive from her baby, and always wishes she can also do same from her man.

“Mum, are you crying?”

“No, I’m not;” she said, amidst gentle sobs, as she quickly tried to wipe the few drops off her eyes. It was all getting obvious, and she’ll be throwing him into confusion.

“But those are tears in your eyes.” He reached out his hands towards her face and touched her cheek.

“No; hmmm… yea… But they are tears of joy.” She held his hand and robbed her cheek with it.

“I love it when I see joy in your eyes like it is tonight. It makes you look more beautiful.”

Oh no! He was breaking her heart even more. How much more torture can she take? She needed to leave immediately.

She stood to walk away.

“Mum, are you leaving already?”

“Hmmm…” she sat back down.

“But you’ve not told me something yet.”

Fresh tears began to pour out as she looked down at his ignorant face and bent to kiss him. If only he knew.

“I love you, mum.”

“I love you too, son.” She kissed him, and kissed him again. And again.

“I love you so much it makes me cry when I think about leaving you.”

“Are you gonna leave me?”

The words were out already before she knew it. She didn’t even realise it until he asked her that question. Now, she’ll have to figure out a soothing answer. She raised her shocked head and was quiet for a moment as she thought.

“Are you gonna leave me?”

“Hmmm… No. Mummy is never gonna leave you. You know mummy loves you so much, she’ll never leave you.”

He was still not satisfied with such a simple answer over a matter that threatens his peace. They were both quiet for a while. Maggie knew it wasn’t finished. It could have been for something else, but not when it had to do with her being away from him.

After about five minutes of silence, he looked up to her face and asked, quietly, heartbrokenly, “Mum, what can I do to make you always be with me and never leave?”

The question did it. That was the final blow she could receive for the night. She might as well just die immediately without having to go through the pain and inner torture of facing him and thinking about when she’ll be gone. And worse, knowing how much he always wants to be around her. What can be more hurting than the thought of the pain her absence will cause him?

(To be continued…)

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