It was a dark night. Kala quickened her steps, and the gravels that shifted under her flappy sandals almost tripped her. She couldn’t be late. She could feel some rain drops, cold and sharp on her nose. Ah…that smell of rain.

There was a time in her life, long time ago, that she used to love that smell. Kala shook her head, and focused more on the path ahead of her. No, no memory of the past. The chill of the night stabbed her skin, and she kept walking. The wetness of the air permeated her nose, as the wind blew her hair. Kala stopped suddenly. She took a deep breath, and listened carefully. Rustling of leaves. Drizzling of weak rain. No. They couldn’t catch up with her now. Not now. Kala continued walking. She was almost there, she knew it.

Tonight, 4th of April. Every year, she had an appointment for a conversation. A short, but important, conversation.

Kala saw the house at the end of the street. The lights were not switched on. The house looked even more run down, as each year went by. Kala froze in front of the door. The ventilation opening on the steel door was covered with a mosquito net. Kala opened the door. Kala could almost hear little footsteps running around in that house. Laughter of children. Cries of babies. Bantering of servant girls in the kitchen. Smells of food & molds. They flooded her, like pictures of moving reels in her head. They came from far away, long time ago.

And she saw her.

There she was, sitting on a chair, next to the dining table. She looked as beautiful as she was last year, and the year before last. Her dark hair framed her round face, her dress was impeccable.

“Mama…” Kala’s voice quivered from the coldness of the rain outside.

“Kala… my dear Kala…” Mama looked up and gestured for her to come close. Kala came closer, and she could smell her perfume. Flowery jasmine fragrance. Kala sat down on the floor, next to Mama.

“I come, Mama… I come this year too.”

“Is everything alright with you, Kala?”

“Yes, Mama…”

Kala hesitated a bit. She bit her lips, and she softly continued, “They found a new drug for me. I don’t know, Mama. Should I take it? If I take it, I won’t be able to come see you anymore. I don’t know, Mama. I don’t know…”

Mama smiled weakly. She stroked Kala’s hair gently.

“Take it, Kala. 10 years is enough.”

Kala started sobbing. Mama held her shoulders, and whispered.

“I will miss you. But you must go on. There are so many things for you to still do. People to meet. Memories to be made. Things to learn. Learn, Kala, learn. Learn to hope once again, learn to love once again. Learn to forgive what had happened. And most of all, learn to find your peace.”

Kala sobbed.

“One more question, Mama…”

“Yes, Kala?”

“If you could have chosen that night. At that moment. What will you choose?”

Mama smiled weakly, she sighed. She looked so pale.

“I would have chosen to stay, Kala. I would…. but it is not for me to decide, is it now, Kala? Go, Kala, go home to Papa and Sasha. They must be worried sick by now.”

Kala sobbed quietly, as Mama moved slowly up the stairs. She turned around, and waved to Kala. “Go Kala, go. The rain gets heavier soon.” “I love you, Kala…”

Kala smiled softly and took a deep breath. She felt lighter. Done. All’s done. Suddenly, the steel door swung open. Two women came in. They gently sat next to Kala on the floor.

“Kala, we were worried about you. Your father and sister are waiting at the hospital. Can we go now?” one of them whispered. Kala looked to her, wiped her tears with her fingers, and nodded.

4th April. 10 years ago. Mama died when she gave birth to Sasha. She lost too much blood. Kala was 12. Afterwards, Kala plunged into a severe depression, and now, they discovered a drug to cure her completely. The only side effect of the drug: An amnesia of her past life.

Kala walked in between the two women from the hospital who came to pick her up at the place they knew she had been going every year. Her childhood home.

Kala smiled quietly, looked up to the night sky, and whispered, “I will heal, Mama. I will. I love you…”