And these were her last words..

And these were her last words..

Her hands weren’t as soft as they used to be, they weren’t even the same colour. She looked like she had been drained of life, and those eyes that once glimmered looked like they were too strained to even blink

But still, I stayed put as she dragged the comb through my hair

My father had warned me to keep her as idle as possible but to bombard her with small talk and pleasantries. He had told me to treat her as if she was a stranger

But still, I stayed put as she dragged the comb through my hair.

I knew she secretly took pleasure in these moments, perhaps because they took her back to her younger days and it was the closest she could be to me

and so I sat still as she dragged the comb through my hair.

She never liked to talk as she sectioned my full head of hair into eight different sections and applied the pomade to it, Instead, she quietly hummed a tune under her breath

But today was different, she didn’t hum.

Today, she told me to be strong

She told me never to underestimate my ability to stand on my own

She told me to take care of my father. Even though all he did was drink these days, she warned me never to leave him alone.

I could hear the crack in her voice, like she knew this would be the last time she said these words

But still, I stayed put as she dragged the comb through my hair.

I remember what she was like a few years ago and sometimes I pretend that she hasn’t been replaced by this tired version of herself

It’s selfish, but those are the only memories I wish to keep. I want to hug her and cry

But still, I stayed put as she dragged the comb through my hair

Today there is no time for small talk. Today, for the first time this year she does all the talking and it feels so final.

She finishes braiding my hair, kisses my forehead and sends me off to school.

I hug her goodbye and I let myself exhale deeply although I am careful not to put all my weight on her

I tell her not to leave today, knowing fully well the extent of my wishful thinking.

She laughs and suddenly, I realise I can’t remember the last time she made such a sound.

I smile too, and I leave her promising to come back home as early as possible

she smiles, and I can almost see the hope in her eyes.

“Goodbye babygirl!”

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