“Oh Amma, Let Me Cry!” A Short Story by Pavi Raman



Shh..shh..don’t cry, baby girl. I’m here, darling. I’m right here.

I stop bawling and blink at your face. The world is blurry; the air leaching any semblance of warmth from my body. A thousand sounds ring, clank, and beep around me. I smell you and burrow into your chest. You are familiar. You are my home.

Oh, Amma, let me cry.

Why are you crying? Are you still hungry? Does something hurt? Why won’t you go to sleep? I’m tired, baby girl. 

I’m not hungry, Amma. Nothing aches, and frankly, I feel pretty great. I’m crying because I love you. I miss you when you’re away, and nothing makes sense anymore. If only we could snuggle under my favorite blankie all day.

I’m crying because I don’t have the words yet.

Oh, Amma, let me cry.

She’s been like this all day, doctor. The kindergarten teachers complain about her loudness, and she disrupts and yells if they intervene. How can I help my daughter, doctor? 

I remember the books we read together of brave queens and fiery princesses who ruled the world. You wanted me to be like them, Amma. To question everyone and have a strong voice. But my teachers don’t see me as a queen-in-training. They shush me all the time, make me sit in the corner. And if I object, they put me in time-out.

Why is it wrong to sing in class, Amma? Do I have to “share” all the time? Why must I respect adults when they don’t respect me? And why am I surrounded by people who think I’m a nuisance?

I’m crying because I don’t feel like a queen.

Oh, Amma, let me cry.

She’s usually a sport about such things. And that boy was just teasing her. She escalated the situation and made it a big deal. Please advise your daughter Ma’am, because we don’t condone such behavior!

They called me a loser. I didn’t care. They catcalled every time I walked by. I didn’t complain. I minded my business, just like you told me to, with my back straight and head held high.

But today, one of them tried to kiss me. He didn’t ask for consent; he didn’t give me a choice. Was I supposed to laugh it off? Was I supposed to be ok with a stranger in my personal space? And why didn’t a single adult at school support me? They chided me for slapping the boy.

You stood up for me, yet I feel so angry.

I’m crying because I was assaulted. 

Oh, Amma, let me cry.

You’re going so far away! Why didn’t you choose a local college? Won’t you miss us, darling girl? 

I love Dad and you. But I need to forge my path into adulthood now, Amma. Make my mistakes without the cushion of your presence. I want to spread my wings and soar into the unknown. I’m scared, I’m excited, and I can’t wait.

But I will miss you.

Oh, Amma, let me cry.

Congratulations on the baby, my darling girl. I wish I were there with you.  

Amma, I’m exhausted. The baby is beautiful, healthy, and everything I wanted. So why is it hard for me to bond with him? He looks up at me with his green-grey eyes, and I feel…nothing. Am I a bad mom? Does it get better? Can you come here?

I’m surrounded by family, but I’ve never felt more alone.

Oh, Amma, let me cry.

We’re so proud of you! CEO at 44! That’s some achievement, darling girl! 

I’ve worked hard to get here, but this job suddenly got a lot harder. Do you know, I’m responsible for the careers and livelihoods of more than a thousand people?

It’s exhilarating, terrifying, and I’m more than ready!

But I haven’t seen my children in days. I miss their smiles, their smells, their tears.

Oh, Amma, let me cry.

Darling, is that you? Where am I? Why are you in tears?

You’re at the hospital, Amma. You had a heart attack last night. The doctors say your heart isn’t working too well. Why didn’t you call me sooner? What if you die?

Damnit, after 65 years, how am I supposed to live without you?

Oh, Amma, let me cry.

You die at 7:17 am on a regular Sunday morning, when I step out of the hospital room to get a lukewarm cup of coffee. The weak sunlight caresses your face, wiping away the wrinkles and keeping you warm until I can catch my breath. Doctors sombre, and nurses harried; everyone is a blur as I retract into a motherless haze.

I sign the paperwork, they nod with glassy sympathy. And we’re alone again.

I don’t know a life without you, Amma. I don’t want to.

But when I burrow my head into your chest with thunderous grief, you say,

Shh..shh.. baby girl. I’m here, darling. I’m right here.

Oh, Amma, let me cry.

(Note: If you enjoyed this story, then please like, share, and let our guest author, Pavi Raman, know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Would you like to write a guest blog for ‘The Tina Edit’? If yes, then please send a mail to thetinaedit@gmail.com. )

About Pavi Raman

Pavi Raman celebrates her life as a proud wife and a warrior mom. She’s an avid coffee and guacamole enthusiast. A physician in another life, her hobbies include reading and writing, then nitpicking what she writes. She also loves running, online shopping, and micromanaging her kids’ bedtime routines. When she gets a break, she daydreams about the zombie apocalypse and getting more sleep. Most of the time, she can be found laughing at her kids’ wacky sense of humor. Pavi has recently won the Orange Flower Award 2020 in the Parent Blogging category and Finalist in Short Fiction category. 2 of her short stories are part of ‘Sharing Lipstick,’ a Women’s Web anthology. Visit her site: http://wittybean.com/

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Tina Sequeira
Tina Sequeira is a marketer and moonlighting writer. She is passionate about tech, creativity, and social justice—dabbling in and writing about the same.

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  1. This has been so Beautifully written ! Loved it ! Reminded me of a piece I had written some time back .Kudos !

  2. This piece resonates at many levels. I wanted to read on….the voice is both brave & vulnerable, it’s constantly seeking comfort while getting on with its life yet crying on, asking questions & shaking its fears as it must plod on. Such a profound tale of so many, many of us. I enjoyed the style & it made me shudder at its uniform truth…superb!

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