The Last Love Letter
You know those silly fairy tales we all grew up listening to; like Snow White, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, Mother Carey, Bawang Merah Bawang Putih and all those other stories? What do they all have in common? Yes, that’s right.
Personally, I hated all these stories. For if they were all true, it would be as if all stepmothers in the world are evil. If that is true, do explain how is it that I, Gautham s/o Chandran grew up just fine? After my mother died after giving birth to me, father remarried. The only thing I remember about him is when he kissed me goodbye and left for work one morning. He was killed when a lorry hit him down as he was coming home.
Ever since that, my stepmother was my world. I even hate the term stepmother. Sure she was not my mother. She was my mum. After all, any woman can be a mother. But it takes more than womanhood to become a mum.
Mum worked as rubber taper like most local Indians of that era. We lived simple lives. She was considerably young when she married father. She was twenty years his junior. Being an orphan and an immigrant from India, father married her to care for her. She could not bear any children of her own, but never complained for she felt that was for the best for she never wanted to love me less than her own kids.
I left my hometown for boarding school in Johor at the age of 13. I only could come home twice a year, and not even for Deepavali. Then, I managed to secure myself a good scholarship to further my studies in England to study English. Mum was so proud she went around our estate bragging about me becoming a teacher one day. It was only after six years did I return to Malaysia. Even then, I had to report on duty at a school in the interior of the west part of the country to begin my practical. My only mode of communication with mum was through letters. No phone calls, nothing. And back then, we had no internet and e-mails. Mum had someone read those...