‘Jesus!’ I screamed silently as my hands clutched my boxers desperately.
Then I didn’t know when impulsive tears began to roll out of my eyes like a flowing river. I slept around 4am. I was very sure I did, and in fact, it wasn’t really a sleep – it was something like a nap, I had fought against it throughout the night, trying my best possible to avoid anything near sleep, but even I knew I couldn’t help it when everybody else slept, and there was no one left to continue talking with anymore, everyone had gone to sleep and then I knew I would soon inevitably fall into an helpless slumber too, even though my eyes were vigilantly wide open.
It was New Year’s day, and we were gathered at my grand-dad’s place; my immediate family (that meant just mum and I anyway), and my paternal extended family members were all there, some of who also brought other in-laws from their different spouses. All totaling a large bunch of twenty five people in the old house. Meanwhile, there were just seven adults and so you could picture what it was like to be among 18 other kids.
If you get a clear picture of the setting, you’ll definitely know that when most families – like ours – were gathered like this, everyone was impulsively gawking every other person for the tinniest mistake, which would top the family gossip list throughout the new year.
As it happens in most situations, my mum and I were the only ones who found the activity of hawking-for-errors ridiculous, and that was why it came as a very big surprise when I realized that myself and my mum would be their target for the next eleven months, until the following year. . . and even I became almost certain that there would be no other record that could beat our disgrace in the subsequent years. So both my mum and I appeared fated to be victims of the family’s antagonizing remarks and objects of their pugnacious target.
I remained stiff like a snow man, buried in my cold. I had not slept in a comfortable position at all, I had slept on the mat, with seven other children, and most of the kids beside me were girls. I had thought it would be hard to fall into a deep sleep when I reminded myself that I was sleeping in between girls, but my thought had not last at all, as the most feared had now been unleashed on me.
Getting disgraced seemed inevitable, or was there anything else that could happen to a thirteen year old boy bed wetting right beside his cousins? I laid still for few seconds, my brain was blank. The time was 7am, and if nothing else would happen, I was so sure that the bell would soon ring and grand pa would summon us all to sit around the centre-table and say the morning prayers. That event was inevitable, and I was so sure that when that time came, those laying down beside me now like village cones would also share in the odoriferous smell of my urine, which kept slapping me in the face.
God please save me from this disgrace! There is no way out of this, but that is why you are God, do something, please do something before it gets late. I screamed in disbelieve.
Then I heard God’s footstep approaching, but when I looked up, it wasn’t God. It was mum.
I flew from the mat, leaving the two girls snoring mockingly beside me.
‘’Mum! I have bed wetted again!” I screamed quietly, so that the other kids on the long mat would not hear. The different modulation of their snores would have been funny on any other day, if not for my present predicament.
“Son!” Mum screamed too, keeping her voice low enough, so that no one else but me heard.
“Mum, we’d be disgraced wouldn’t we?”
She sighed deeply and she later said the most unbelievable words, “Don’t worry son, you just go back to sleep.”
“Mum, didn’t you hear what I just said. . . I have -”
“Go back to sleep son, on that same spot!” She whispered loudly.
It felt starkly strange; some few seconds back, I had thought God had come to help me, when I heard her footsteps, and now she was even acting devlier than the devil.
With shattered hope which could have been misunderstood for faith, I went back and lay sleeplessly where I had slept earlier. Realizing how disgusting the urine was, I wondered how much worse it would be to those who were eager to perceive such smell and sneer.
I did not blink my eyes. My thoughts still fixed on why my mum told me to go back to sleep; Didn’t she hear what I said? Did she want me to be disgraced? Does she not know what time it is?
I was still buried in those deep thoughts when the morning bell rang out loudly into my ears.
‘Jesus! It’s seven’ I froze, as I awaited a miracle I knew I couldn’t get.
As the sound of the bell jingled closer, I heard a quick footstep towards us, just as some of the kids beside me were about getting up from bed. I heard a fall, followed by the crashing sound of a pail of water splashing on myself and the other kids on the mat. The water splashed with a sudden deliberate splash, as if to cover me, the other kids and the wet patches I had made on the mat altogether.
We were not yet relieved from the sudden splash of water when the sound of the metal pail crashing to the ground woke us all up.
I stood from the mat last, after three of us had run out to help my mum out.
‘I slipped!’ She said with feigned regret. ‘I wanted to go over to that toilet when I mistakenly slip here.’
It was a miracle indeed, the water splashed on us all, burying the urine patch on the mat, and even the other kids were the ones who suggested that we took the mat out to dry, and that we needed to change our clothes immediately.
It was not difficult changing my wear into something more comfortable, while we all claimed that the mat was outside because my mum fell and upset a pail of water into it.
No one but mum and I knew the real secret behind her fall. I would have been pitilessly disgraced if not for her God-sent divine interventions.
Who is like a true mother?