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by Gowri Bhargav

 ‘Mommy, help!’ His faint voice calls out to you in between sobs. After a frantic search, you find him shaking nervously under the table. By the time you reach out to him, you hear a deafening shot.

Triing..! The alarm sounds and you wake up with drops of sweat trickling down your forehead. You rush out of your room to check on him. He’s sound asleep on his bed with his favorite teddy bear. 

Just a nightmare. You let out a sigh.

You then go down to prepare his favorite blueberry waffles for breakfast. He soon wakes up and as he comes running down the stairs, he slips and falls. 

” Ouch, Mommy!” he shrieks.

The plate of waffles you are holding falls down but you run to lend him a hand. He is slightly bruised. 

What if it’s a sign?

You ask him to skip school.

” Mommy, please! School is fun. I don’t want to miss it. It doesn’t hurt much,” he pleads.

You nod your head reluctantly and ask him to eat cereal.

Unfortunately, the bus leaves by the time he’s done eating. You tell him not to worry and grab the car keys.

You buckle him up and start the car. But the car fails to start. 

Again?! Something’s not right.

You once again persuade him to skip school. He is not ready to listen.

Your neighbor helps you jump-start the car. You then drop him at school half-heartedly.

You head back home and finish all the chores before settling down to watch the news. Suddenly there is a gust of wind that makes its way through the open window in the family room. 

Crack! Your son’s framed picture falls from the mantle and shatters.

You feel a lump in your throat.

The news on your television screen is interrupted by a blaring sound. It’s a red alert. A gunman has entered your son’s school. You panic and your wrenching heart skips a beat. You immediately drive down to his school.

You see several anxious parents outside the school campus. Fear, panic, confusion- the atmosphere is tense. There have been shootings. Injuries. Deaths. You are asked to be patient while they deal with everything.

Once the situation is under control the unharmed students are escorted out of the building. With bated breath and tears, your eyes search for your son, fearing the worst. Minutes seem like hours. The last one to walk out is your son. You are overwhelmed with emotions.

He comes running to you. You see some parents mourning their dead children. 

Though you fathom the pain that the parents of victims have to bear, you are grateful that your son is still alive.

You assume the worst is over…

What you don’t foresee are the innumerable sleepless nights haunted by nightmares, and the therapy sessions he will have to endure. You don’t realize they can be a lot worse. What he has witnessed will traumatize him for a long time.


Picture Credit: Pixabay


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Sreeni June 11, 2022 - 7:09 am

Wow! Poignant, endearing and topical. When will they ever stop, I wonder !

Gowri Bhargav July 1, 2022 - 10:34 am

Thankyou for reading

Suresh June 11, 2022 - 7:55 am

Good read. Pertinent with the recent school shootings…sends a chill…

Gowri Bhargav July 1, 2022 - 10:34 am



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