by Dunu Iruoma
As I trudge down this windy road, I pause at intervals to take long cleansing breaths. I have a mild breathing disorder which had been triggered by the tragic loss of my only child, Molly. I am on my way to the cemetery for my weekly visit to her grave. I’m alone today. As I get there, I kneel silently before her tombstone and I feel my mind helplessly go on a walk down the memory lane. Back to that fateful day, the day my entire world had come crashing down.
That fateful day had dawned bright and promising, the first day of February 2000; the day Molly had turned thirteen and was also killed. As a big fan of birthdays, Molly had woken up so excited; she practically walked on air. Without much ado, her dad had given her his present – the long-awaited new bike she had always wanted and she couldn’t wait to try it out. Back in the kitchen, I had been making her my famous special Dublin, cheeseboard-stuffed, appetizer bread I am renowned for – I own a catering business and had won the Pillsbury Bake-off competition three consecutive times. It was its recipe that had first brought me to limelight.
Molly had gotten hooked on it from day one. I had bent over the oven, my favourite apron in place as I added a splash of oil to the pan. I had some homemade pigment –red wine flavoured with honey, garlic and rosemary – inside the icebox, but I had also picked some lemons alongside ribbons from the mall; lemons for lemonade and red ribbons for a birthday surprise I planned for Molly. She had been my biggest fan. To her, I’m an icon in the cooking world, a force to reckon with.
Danny went in to shower and I was still knee-deep in baking so none of us knew when Molly walked out the front door to try out her new bike. We only heard a smashing sound indicating maximum impact. Little did we know that our daughter was breathing her last during those seconds. We rushed out and the sight we both beheld was so heart wrenching, to say the least. It scarred me for life. We quickly got in the back of the ambulance, cooking promptly forgotten, as she was rushed to the neighbouring hospital.
She was pronounced dead on arrival the physician. I was inconsolable.
To the people of New Haven, it had been a news splash, featured on the cover page of the dailies, narrating the tragic demise of a teenage girl on her own birthday. To my family, it had been devastating, still is.
Presently, a fly perches on my knee, bringing me back to the present. I gradually become aware of my surroundings and realize that tears are running down my cheeks. I swipe at them, half-heartedly.
I miss my Molly so bad!