The Letter came home on a Friday after school. The Mother noticed it first. She was doing her daily inspection of her son’s school bag.
She routinely checked through his lunch box first, noting with a sinking heart how only half of his sandwich had been eaten. She then checked if he had drank any water from his bottle. She placed his homework folder on the table. And that’s when the Letter fell out.
Sometimes a seemingly harmless piece of paper can be all that turns your world upside down. She stared at the folded paper, scared to open it. There had been a similar one. Months ago. She began to open it, but something stopped her. Not now, she thought. Later.
The Mother placed it back on the table. She could feel the onset of a dull headache. And suddenly the chatter of her children, the sheer joy in their shrieks irked her. The Letter had unfurled a bit, and she could see the school letterhead and symbol – the familiar etching of happy red faces on a yellow background. And she knew in her heart with utmost certainty, that this one bore bad news too.
Once the children were asleep, it was time to open the Letter. First, she made herself a cup off coffee. She stirred it lovingly, helping herself to 3 big spoons of sugar. She sipped her coffee slowly, tasting the bitterness, savouring the sweetness, marvelling at this concoction that cheered her up in minutes.
Then when she was done, she sighed to herself and opened the Letter. And even though she had gone through the drill, several times, the words still made her heart beat faster.
TERM BREAK NOTICE : The school will be closed from 15 March – 23 March
A week. The children would be home for an entire week. With no school. She got up to make another cup of coffee. She would need it.