You read my silence and withdrawal as insolence towards your age, wisdom and seniority. In fact, you misread it. Just like you’ve misread my entire life. I’m now past caring about the latter but the former stings. I scold myself, punish myself but your callousness rankles.
You refer to me as a child and berate my mother for not being stern enough with me. At the same time, you insist that it’s high time I got married and kept house for someone. It’s easy to let this pass.
You point out that I can’t cook to save my life while conveniently ignoring the fact that I can do everything else besides that. It’s easy to ignore because you did not tell me this directly. Neither did you give me an opportunity to retort back in defense.
You say that my lifestyle worries you and that I should eat more. But it did not worry you that night when my share of the food was kept aside for a male cousin and I was asked to shut up when I threw a fit over it. You complain that my bag to work is a tad bit heavy for my tiny frame but you negate my tears, fears and insecurities.
You realize that I do not have the kindest words for you. But I understand your compulsions. Therefore, I remain silent. Call me hot-headed if you will. But I do not seek reassurance or comfort. Neither does my happiness lie in a shiny new gadget available over the counter in exchange for some cash.
You probably sought a son in me. You hoped I’d redeem myself with an engineering degree, maybe an MBA if not that. I let you down on all three counts. But I’m not going to be apologetic for any of that. Silent I will remain. Because that might be the only way you’ll feel my presence.