Amma – by Anoushka Panganamamula (High School)

She was a prick against my skin, constantly bombarding me with demands that made my head turn inside out. Her shrill voice, competing against the whistles of the pressure cooker, drowned my world of comfort and luxury on the couch and hauled me into the kitchen where tough duty called.
“But why?” I pleaded.
“Because,” she answered simply. “I’m tired.”
And thus I began my surge of rebellion, turning and clanging pots in a fit as a strident voice of my own escaped from the swelling lump in my throat. It’s annoying, I thought as I washed a mountain of dishes, I’m just kid. A kid who knows nothing, a kid still growing, a kid just trying to milk out every last drop of brattiness from her bottle of youth.
From the dishes, I was taken to the garden out back, squirming as I was reluctant to be anywhere near where bugs might ravage under the surface.
“No,” I whimpered.
“Then time I say no too.”
I knew well what those words meant. I sighed shakily as I cut through wet black soil infested with pill-bugs. I potted and planted until streaks of purple, orange, pink, and red began to melt together like dripping wax crayons.
As I wiped salty sweat off with my dirt-stained hand, I turned behind to see Amma watching from the window, her chair forward and earth brown eyes dead set on me. Her eyes softened with approval, smiling as fireflies dotted the sky and moonlight tumbled off the black-shadowed trees. Amma, whose smile was a halo against the dark wonders of night, a warm figure against the chill of fright.
Now as I look from the window again, I see clouds of white explode across, their petals as soft as pillows full of dreams. They watch me as I sip a cup of bittersweet coffee and pray to Amma on the altar.
As I pray, I wonder if Amma’s watching me from a white cloud above, or maybe they have chairs up there, too.
Or maybe through a baby’s breath from beyond.
Learn more about the contest which inspired this story:  Nutshell Narratives 2019-03
Scroll to Top