Those are the words I remember you by, Mamma.
I was all of 6 years old and had my first science project in class, the sprouting of a seed by placing it on a wad of wet cotton. Remember Mamma, how excited I was, running to the windowsill every 5 minutes, to watch if my plant had grown.
In the end, quite dizzy watching me run all over the place, you took away the little paper cup and placed it high above on top of the cupboard, way beyond my reach. In spite of my crying myself to sleep that night you didn’t return it to me. Patience does pay Mamma. When you got it down the next day after I got back from school, the seed had sprouted, and I learned my lesson.
I learned the lesson yet again as you made my favorite ice cream during the summer holidays. Oh, how I begged you to have just one lick of the spoon while you churned it! You didn’t let me, Mamma. When I tried to reach for it, you twisted my arm and pounded my hands till they were swollen to twice their size. You ate the ice cream while I watched and didn’t let me have any till my hands healed. Yes Mamma, patience certainly pays.
Remember when I broke your favorite china doll? How angry you were! You locked me up in the dank, dark storeroom even as I cried and begged to be let out. The rustling of rats made me wet my pants, as I banged my little fists on the door, pleading for mercy, beseeching you to let me out. All you reminded me was “Patience pays”.
I don’t know when I stopped crying, but I woke up to the sound of the door opening and it was bright daylight.
If only that lizard had been taught that patience pays. I swear Mamma, I meant to let it go. I nailed its body to the wall just to see if it would try to escape. It writhed and tried to get away even before I could set it free. I was so fascinated by its frenetic movements that I didn’t even realize when it had stopped moving. It was dead, Mamma. Tsk, tsk. I wish someone had taught the lizard that patience pays. It would still be alive.
I know you still don’t believe me mamma, but I swear to God I wasn’t smoking when you caught me in the garage. I had found a cigarette and was looking at it closely, trying to see what a lit cigarette looks like.
I was 11, Mamma. Too young to smoke, don’t you think?
You didn’t listen to reason and made me stand, naked as the day I was born, in the scorching May sun. My little feet burned and my parched throat hurt. You didn’t even let me come in for a drink of water, Mamma. My bladder was close to bursting, but you didn’t let me relieve myself. It was sometime in the evening when I fainted, and woke up in a pool of my own waste.
Patience pays Mamma. I agreed with you then. After three whole days in the blazing sun, lying naked in my waste, I vowed never to look at a cigarette in my life again.
I became so very patient Mamma. Because I realized it paid.
Susie Holmes, the most beautiful girl in class, called me ‘weirdo’ when I asked her out to the prom. It hurt me so much, but I didn’t mind it very much after I remembered that patience pays. I stalked her for a whole year, before I finally strangled her, Mamma.
Remember our neighbor Mrs. Hallam’s dog that just didn’t stop barking the whole time? How you hated it. How happy you were when it finally stopped barking one day. Everyone went searching for that dog, even me, but no one found it. How could they, Mamma, when I had electrocuted it and buried it in our own backyard.
I did all I could to make you happy, Mamma, but you still didn’t love me. But I loved you so much, Mamma, and waited for you to love me back because you are the one who had taught me that patience pays.
I didn’t mean to hurt you, Mamma. But I guess you’ll never believe me. You never have. I gagged your mouth because I couldn’t bear to see you scream in agony. It must have hurt a little as I ripped your fingernails one by one. Hope it didn’t hurt a lot. I was so very patient, wasn’t I, Mamma?
A nail a day.
If the nails hurt so much, I wonder how much it hurt as I chopped your arm off. I remember how your eyes bulged and how you flailed your head from side to side. I was in equal agony, Mamma. I cried more than you could imagine, cradling the hand I had chopped off a week ago and begging it for forgiveness.
I am so sorry I had to do the same on your other hand too. I hated doing that mamma! I hated it, believe me! But I had to because one hand was lonely without its companion.
I took such good care of you, didn’t I, Mamma? I bathed you and fed you. I combed your hair and cleaned you up, did I ever let you feel you didn’t have hands? I even placed your hands beside you so that you never miss them. See how much I loved you.
I hadn’t forgotten that patience pays, and I didn’t disturb you for a while after that. I imagined how much your arms must have hurt, that’s the reason I crushed your kneecaps.
Both together. In a few swift blows. You were fast asleep when I did it, Mamma; I don’t think you even felt it. If you did feel it, did it hurt a lot?
Oh, how time flies! It was almost 5 months now that had we only had each other for company. None of the neighbors ever asked about your absence too. I am sure they must have wondered, but they never cared to ask. They were just bad neighbors.
Oh, Mamma, I missed you so. We couldn’t talk like old times anymore. I did remove your gag when I fed you and asked you how you were feeling. You never answered me and it hurt me so.
The one time I forgot to stuff the gag back, you screamed and screamed till I thought you would wake the entire neighborhood. I was so scared for a moment. That wasn’t a very nice thing to do now, was it now, Mamma?
Every time I get your tongue out from the icebox to show you, I am sure you miss it. Do you miss the feel of your tongue in your mouth now, Mamma?
You could still track my movements with your one good eye, Mamma. While your other one rested in aspic at your bedside. After I had gouged it out. It looked so pretty, in the clear liquid, and even as you slept, that eye followed me around everywhere in the room.
Your one good eye stared at me one last time, as I disemboweled you, Mamma. That must have hurt a lot I am sure. I am so sorry Mamma, but I had to do it.
I cannot keep you with me any longer. I am so sorry, Mamma. Its been two long years, that I have been sleeping with your rotting carcass by my side. I cleaned you, bathed you, clothed you, and fed you as best as I could, but my patience had worn out now.
Rest well, Mamma. You have Hallam’s dog and my pretty girlfriend Susie with you for the company. Don’t be lonely. I’ll send someone more to join you soon. Be patient Mamma, because as you always said, patience pays.
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