Mom fixes that stare on me. The unblinking, penetrating stare that in a split second torpedoes all the strength you have inside, making you lost for words.
Mom asks again, “Did you do it or not?”
Her voice is calm, but the effect it has on me is utterly the opposite. I feel a storm rampaging through my mind.
I surrender helplessly and let out the truth, “Yes, mom.”
My insides burn as I face it again. The feebleness. The wrecking of the mind’s defenses. The fear of the truth.
I know I have to answer straightaway if I want to sound convincing. Still, nothing passes my lips.
And before I can control myself, the words sprang out, “No. I-I didn’t do it today.”
Mom deepens her stare, as if inspecting my inner self through her eyes. My stomach quivers.
“Are you sure? Don’t lie to mom.” Her voice is rumbling.
I regret for the lie. But there’s no turning back now. I reply, “I’m perfectly sure.”
A slight furrow appears in her brows. She has her stare on me for another moment, and then turns away.
My head feels light, being able to see the storm off.
But the relief fades away soon, and something else takes its place. Something strange.
I stare back at mom and say, “No, I didn’t do it today.” The confidence in my voice satisfies me.
I expect mom to furrow her brows. But she doesn’t. She gives me a tiring look, her eyes no longer the fierce, penetrating pair of fireballs. She turns away, a sigh escaping her nostrils.
Euphoria fills my mind, and soon disappears. And yet again I have that strange, foreign feeling.
I take a sidelong gaze at mom to my right. She has her hand on her purse’s side-pocket, where she keeps her money. Her eyes are glinting with suspicion.
My heart thuds frightfully. I prepare to encounter that stare.
But mom doesn’t even call me; she just sighs in a familiar way.
The strange sensation reigns in my mind again, and for the first time, I understand what’s causing it.
I miss that stare.