We sat in my room, enveloped in the aroma that emanated from our mugs of steaming hot green tea, doing some catching up. Our dose of heart to heart conversations was over six months overdue. I was home for a day, and I was afraid the hours were just not long enough. True, we spoke over the phone everyday; I pinged her by the hour, and sent her close to fifty text messages a day. But none of those could provide me the warmth of her touch as she held my hand, and as long as I just called, texted, or pinged her, my daily migraine pestered me, for she couldn’t massage my head over the phone or the computer. So, while we knew of each other’s experiences, we had not dissected them. As we discussed my brother’s apathy towards his upcoming exams, her latest adventure in the kitchen, my latest project and my boyfriend troubles, I leaned back into my bed and wondered, “She was always my mother, but when did she become my best friend?”
Yet, for many years, to me, she was just ‘mom’. Back in my school days, when she picked me up everyday, she asked my how my day was. I remember asking about her day once. I was surprised by the amount she had to say. We rarely had late night conversations (I slept early), and our days were very busy, but those precious forty five minutes every morning when I got ready for school, were spent chatting about every topic under the sun. We slowly found the time to fill each others’ ears with stories, and our hearts with love. We shared our experiences and hopes, our frustrations and fears. When I heard that she had stumbled at the same blocks when she was my age I became stronger; when I learnt of her romance with dad, I was no longer scared to tell her about my latest love. She never made my opinion seem inconsequential, and my ideas were ‘difficult to implement’, but never impossible. She had immense confidence in her daughter, and her goodnight kisses always came with the message that tomorrow was a brand new day, a day to revel in.
And so when she had her hysterectomy, I told her it was okay, she’d be fine; just like she had calmed me down every time I went through PMS. When grandma passed away, it was from mom’s lessons to me that I found the wisdom to let her cry. She always told me, tears were not a sign of weakness, they were a stress buster.
It was then that I realised, she had always been my best friend. She had given me her heart in its entirety, right from day one. It was her soul that she divulged to me in instalments, as and when she realized I was ready.
As I sat across her, looking jot down the recipe for my favourite chicken dish so that I’d never miss it when I was alone, I couldn't help wondering what she felt. Was I her best friend too? I was looking at the woman who had given me life and then shared hers with me. It was time for me to get going if I wanted to get beck to college on time. Our mugs were by now empty, but our hearts were filled with a kind of warmth I never knew existed. We both knew that by tomorrow she’d be busy being the perfect wife to dad, and the perfect mother to my brother. I’d be immersed in my project, and if I had some time in the evening, I’d go for a party at a friend’s. Yet, we’d both be growing and learning – about life, about the world, and most importantly about each other. Our relationship was like the chicken in the marinade of the recipe she’d given me- the longer it soaked, the better it tasted!