Her gaze moved from Mel’s eyes to the top of his body. When she saw that his left arm was gone, she recoiled in shock. She struggled to find her voice. Should she say hi, how did you find me?” or “what happened to your arm?!”.
Her eyes moved from his arm and downwards. His running shoes were so old and worn that his left big toe was sticking out. Finally, she said, “Mel? Long time no see”. Why was he here and why now, after all these years? A part of her wanted to slam the door in his face. Another part felt sorry for him.
Slowly but steadily, small but persistent waves of sadness, anger and self -pity beat against her memory. They were followed by sadness and pity for Mel and maybe some guilt and regret.
“Your mom is dead. She died last week. We didn’t know how to contact you. But eventually, I got to your friend, Emily and she gave me your address”. Mel’s voice was soft and devoid of emotion.
She strained to hear what he just said and because he sounded so matter-of-fact, she almost thought she heard wrongly. “Mom is dead. What happened? If she was already ill, you had so much time to tell me”.
Mel pursed his lips and indignation flashed in his eyes for the briefest of seconds. “You didn’t want to have anything to do with us. I didn’t know if you wanted to know and we didn’t even know where you were”. He paused for breath and continued, “She had cancer, cervical cancer. It was late stage so there was not much we could do”. He sighed.
She felt a lump in her throat that was about to explode and she wanted to scream. She wanted to scream and slap him and finally collapse on the floor. But all she did was stare hard at Mel, frozen.