7:15 am. Nadia knew she couldn’t hit snooze anymore. But she hit it anyway. “Last 5 minutes. I won’t take a bath”
7:35 am. Officially late. May be too late even. She snapped her eyes open. She “dismissed” the alarm and slapped her phone screen-down on the pillow with frustration. With some strength from her belly and arms, she sat in her bed facing the wall clock.
” 25 minutes… I really don’t have time for a bath now. 10 minutes for assignment. 5 minutes for changing clothes and for breakfast. 10 minutes to get to the bus-stop.”
Nadia threw the comforter aside and pulled out her assignment papers and pencil from under the bed. As if the reading , re-reading and staring at the question last night wasn’t enough; she reads the instruction again. As she reads the first words, the following words form in her mind. She knew exactly what she has to do- write a limerick.
She groped for words. She came up with ideas and then shot them down. After a little more thinking and over-thinking she decides to skip the English class today. She shoves all her books in her bag and rushes downstairs.
She climbs down the stairs, skiping one with each step. She makes a final jump anticipating the floor of the dining room ahead, and eventhough she lands perfectly, the surprise of finding one more stair puts off her balance, she trips and crashes into her mother’s wheelchair. The wheelchair stops at a distance while Nadia is struggling to get up.
The loud thud reaches her father. He comes out of the bedroom, soap dripping from his hands.
“What are you upto?”, he says that as if he is making small talk with a co-worker, ” Are you fine? I am sorry I must have left it there…”
“Yes, NO! You… didn’t. It was…umm.. just..there….I..rammed..”
She is fighting for every bit of air now and soon it will be hurting in several places around her ribs and legs.
“Please just finish your breakfast. Be careful. Don’t forget your lunch.”
“Damn it”. It’s 7: 45 already. She sees her father turn towards the bedroom, walk into the washroom and close the door behind him. She had noticed the water stains on his clothes, the soap and realises that he had been giving mom a bath.
She went into the kitchen to find bread and egg for lunch packed. Bread and jam for breakfast ready. Mom’s soup is also ready but Dad hasn’t made himself anything yet. She puts together two slices of bread and fried egg together and makes a smiley face on the bread with ketcup. She leaves that at the dining table for Dad and does a time check.
7:50 am. Damn! No time for breakfast. Several siren go off in her head. She wraps the scarf around her head, puts on the burkha and runs for it…