Salt and Sweet

No mother, who has woken up at two in the night, to check a child’s fever would fail to relate to the expression, ” Flying on a prayer.”

Life boils down to, no pun intended, to  praying for restoring that normal sleeping child,  who flays her limbs around, and giggles in her sleep. The doctor suddenly becomes a saintly figure and every blood test, a moment of possible insane terror.

But when the things return to normal, we forget to say, Thank You. Somehow, we have a short memory of gratitude.

” So finally we beat the virus, eh?” I joke , painfully without humour.

” I did not cry during the blood test” , says the little girl.

” You missed a lot of school,” quips the elder one, slightly envious.

” I missed my dance,” little girl pouts .

” What is the meaning of ruthless?” She asks suddenly, out of context.

” Without mercy. Where did you read that?” Her sister queries. ” In the Goblet of Fire?”

” No. In a page about Florence.”

” The De Medici family, eh?”

” How do you know?”

” Because..well, because,” grins her sister.

I look on bemused.

” They were ruthless,” I help. ” Brilliant, cultured, power hungry, ruthless.”

” Something like your virus,” offers my elder girl helpfully.

” It beat almost two antibiotics did it not? It mastered counter moves. I would not call it cultured, cough! But power hungry for controlling your throat and quite ruthless about it too.” She bursts out laughing.

My little girl gives us a Victoria- look. “We are not amused”, she says, without saying.

The sugar of sisterly squabbles after a week of fever.

” By the way ma, did you know that they add salt to bitter chocolate to trick the brain to think it sweet?” Asks my Quiz professional.

I did not know that.

I only know that I love both the salt and the sugar.

I live for these moments. The most precious taste of mortal life.

************

She is filling up her College admission forms. So many essay prompts. In between she checks with me.

” A  person who has significantly influenced your life,” she reads aloud.

I look on, very hopefully.

” He played the bongos,” she explains and starts to scribble her draft.

I am speechless.

” Feynman of course! Come on, ma, ” she laughs, ” you really did not think I would write about anyone else.”

To tell the God honest truth, I did.

I pray silently.

May the salt of your brow, my daughter, win you your dreams.

******

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