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Chapter 27 – MY SON TERRAN

Back at home, I let him watch his cartoons while I put a call through to mom.
“Hi mom.”
“Hello Grayson. How was the PTM?”
“PTM was good. As usual, Mrs. D’souza is quite happy with his progress. But Terran seems a little put off.”
“Why what happened?”
“I don’t know. He was good till we reached school.”
“Nothing that I can point out has occurred. He was all of a sudden sad and quiet.”
I had begun to feel frustrated myself.
“He cried and wouldn’t leave me.”
“Outrightly something is on his mind son.” She sounded worried too.
“What do I do? I’ve asked, but he just doesn’t want to talk.”
I was feeling totally lost.
“Hmm. Give him the phone, let me have a word with him.”
“Please see what you can do. He’s upset mood is bothering me.”

I went to Terran and gave him the phone.
“Champ, mama wants to talk to you.”
I said cheerfully.
I was hoping he would talk freely to mom. I tried not to pry and moved away.
“Hello. Hi mama…… I’m okay……. nothing……..no, I’m okay…….. nothing.” He was talking in one syllable only. He was listening quietly for sometime and then said,
“I’m giving the phone to dad. Bye.”
When I took the mobile again, mom said,
“Grayson, something is biting him inside and he’s not willing to tell. I tried every possible way, but……”
She sighed defeatedly.
I puffed and ran my fingers through my hair. “Huh.. I’ll let him be for a while and later coax him again.”
“Keep me posted. If you want, I can come over.”
“Thanks mom. First let me try. I’ll take him to the park in the evening. Let’s see.”
“That should work. Hannah comes to the park right? She’ll be able to cheer him up.”
“Hmm yeah maybe. Okay catch you later.” I ended the call and went and sat next to Terran.

I pulled him close and took him in my arms. The air was thick around us and silence kept us company for a long time. His sad state had completely knocked me sideways.
Very gingerly and tentatively, I began.
“Terran, sweetheart, please tell me what is bothering you. I promise we will try our best and solve the problem.”
He cuddled into me, started crying and shook his head.
“You can’t. Nobody can.”
“Baby. Don’t you trust dad? You’re my best friend Terran. Dad can’t see you like this. I’ll do anything for you.”
“No dad, you can’t.”
My shirt had become wet with his tears and his unpredictable state of mind was gnawing my insides.

I was filled with despair. We were always so close knit. He never kept anything from me. What had ensued now? What was pinching him so much?
“Okay relax. Take your time. When you are ready to tell me, do so. I’m always there for you. You know that, right?”
He nodded.
“We’ll go to the park in the evening. You can play and spend some time with Ms. Hannah.”
He gave me a long thoughtful look and said softly,

“Are you hungry? Let’s have lunch.”
“What is there?”
“Your dear finger licking grilled chicken and baked chips.”
I said cheerily. A smile broke out on his face.
“That’s my boy!” I hugged him tight and kissed his cheeks.
“Why don’t you feed the fish while I set the table?”
I had to divert his sadness to something different and constructive.

As expected, it was a very quiet lunch. I asked a few questions, so he would talk, but either he just nodded his head or spoke in a word or two. I never felt so incapable before.

He had been too agitated through the day and I wanted him to take some rest. Post lunch, I told him a story and cajoled him to take a nap. While he was sleeping, I called up Justin.
“Hey. What’s up? Coming to the bank?” He jested.
“Hoof. No man.”
I just took a long haggard sigh.
“Grayson. You are off.”
“I’m not. Terran is for sure put off.”
“Why? His teacher said something at the PTM?”
“No.” I repeated what I had told mom.
“Did you try talking to him?” he asked.
“I tried everything, even mom spoke to him. But he’s too upset and we are clueless as to what it could be.”

“It’s so unlike Terran.” He pointed out.
“I know. He’s never been like this. He always shares everything with me.”
“There must be a bully at school.” He was thinking of possible options.
“I asked, he says no.”
“Grayson, now you don’t get all worked up. Give him some time, he’ll come around.”
“I hope so.” I was  seriously praying for the same.
“Or take Hannah’s help.” He suggested.
“Yeah. Let’s see.”
“You can come home and he can spend some time with Meera. That should cheer him up. What say?”
That sounded good.
“Thanks Justin. He’s having a nap now, but when he wakes up, I’ll ask him. And if we are coming, I’ll text you.”
“Okay. See ya.”

I sat back and stretched on the couch, with my legs crossed at the ankles and my fingers interlocked behind my head.

What could it be? Where had I slipped?

After having Hannah in our life, he was always only happy and nothing else. Today was strange. My eyes pricked with unshed tears. I closed them and thought of Hailey. What would a mother do in a situation like this? I would never know. I did some backpedaling and flinched. She hadn’t got a chance to spend a single day with him. It was so unfortunate and disheartening.

-Shamim Merchant

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Chapter 27 - MY SON TERRAN

Back at home, I let him watch his cartoons while I put a call through to mom.“Hi mom.”“Hello…
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