NINE LIES BY MY MOTHER

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The story began when I was a child;
I was born the only son in a poor family, and without a father.
For our daily meals, there was hardly much to eat.
My mother often gave me her portion of rice.
While she was scooping her rice into my plate,
she would say ... 'Eat this rice, son. I'm not hungry'.
That was Mother's First Lie


When I was growing up,
my super-caring mother did whatever a single mother could do for her only son.
More than that, she even went down the narrow stream to catch fish for our meals.
She would cook them into a simple soup, which raised my appetite.
While I ate the fish-meat, mother would sit beside me and licked the fish-bone.
I would share my pieces of fish with her. But she would refuse.
And she told me this ... 'Eat this fish, son. I don't really like fish.'
That was Mother's Second Lie.



Then, when I was in secondatry school, to raise money to get me my books,
mother went to collect old and used-bags and paper cartons, to be sold to hawkers by the roadside.
It brought her extra money to cover our needs. Then I remember, most nights,
as I woke up and looked at her still folding and sorting those heaps of old cartons,
supported by just a small flickering candle, I used to say to her ... 'Ma, go to sleep, it's late.
Tomorrow morning you still have to go to work in the factory'.
Mother smiled and said ... 'Go to sleep, my dear son. I'm not tired.'
That was Mother's Third Lie.




One time after my final term examination in school,
my mother asked for no-pay-leave from the factory where she had worked for many long years,
and waited for me at the school gate for hours. She wanted to see how I did in my last paper.
But most important of all, she had made an iced-tea for me, to help refresh me, the moment I came out.
Seeing my ma all sweaty and tired, I at once gave her the tea instead.
Mother said ... 'Drink, son. This is for you. I'm not thirsty!'.
That was Mother's Fourth Lie.



Seeing our home condition getting worse by the day, there was a distant relative
who lived near our house, came over to help us, whether it was a small or a big problem at hand.
Our other neighbours used to advise my mother to marry again to someone who could support us. But mother, without fail, always replied in ways like ... 'I don't need love and support'.
That was Mother's Fifth Lie.


After I finished school, I got a job. I wanted my mother to retire.
But she didn't want to. She did leave her factory job, alright.
But still went round collecting those old bags and cartons.
I was by then transferred to another town. I sent her money every month.
But often, she would save them, and gave them back to me in a lump-sum months later !
She used to say ... 'I have enough money.'
That was Mother's Sixth Lie.




I was next asked to work in our headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, and within a short time,
I was promoted twice, as my boss felt I contributed well and beyond his expectations.
After several years, I bought an apartment in a nice area, and I wanted my mother to live with me.
I wanted her to sit back and enjoy her life, now that I could afford to give her so much more.
But my ma would again tell me that ... 'The big city is not for me.'
That was Mother's Seventh Lie.



I met a nice girl, and we got on very well. Within two years, we married.
I asked my mother to come and live with us. I felt it would be best if the two golden women
in my life lived under one roof with me. I wanted so much to share everything with my two most-precious angels.
Then again, ma would say to me ... "Son, your life now is to be spent with your wife only.
Mama should not be beside you anymore. My job in taking care of you is now over.
Just walk ahead, my dearest son, and build your life and your home with your wife.
Do not include me in your scheme of things'.
That was Mother's Eighth Lie.



The wheel of time spinned so fast that soon, my mother was aging, and she suffered from cancer. When I saw her in the hospital, she looked so weak and thin.
I looked at her, with tears flowing down my face.
My heart was so hurt, seeing the person who brought me into this world in such a bad condition.
But mother, with her last ounce of strength, said to me ... 'Don't cry, my dear son.
I'm not in pain. And I will want to leave you and everything behind'.
That was Mother's Ninth Lie.

After saying her ninth lie, she closed her eyes forever.







Now, in my solitude and moments of deep reflection,
I realise I should never have naively believed in all those lies of hers.

 

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