I was sitting scared in my room with police detective Ms. Agnes. She put her arm gently around me to assuage my fears and said softly “Sujitha, I have a daughter of your age. I think you are eight and realize your shock and grief. Don’t fear. I have come to help you to find your mom’s killer. Nothing has been stolen. You were the only one in the house then and should be able to throw some light. Nothing is missing”
“Tell me, Suji, do your parents quarrel frequently? Were there any issues between them?”
“There were occasionally petty arguments on what to make for dinner or where to go for weekends or house being unclean. Nothing major” and I added “I am having splitting head ache. Can we talk tomorrow please?”
“OK, I will come tomorrow morning. I need your cooperation to find the killer, Suji”
The events in the last few days passed through my mind very clearly.
Both my dad and mom loved me much. They never denied anything I wanted. In fact I was the sole bonding factor between the two. My dad, a travelling salesman was out for half the month. He kept my mom and me in great comfort. My mom felt bored with nothing to do and started learning painting at our home from a master who lived nearby. That uncle came almost daily and frequently gave me chocolates and toys but I hated him for some inexplicable reason. I never liked my mom being jovial with him and not with dad.
Whenever my dad was in town the master never came. May be he came when I was at school. One night when I got up to drink water, I heard my parents arguing in anger and my mom telling something about the master and that she was not happy with dad.
The next day around 3pm I was in my room at first floor doing home work when I heard dad’s car unexpectedly drawing up. My mom was learning painting in the rear room of the ground floor. I heard two gunshots. I ran down only to see my dad’s car speeding away. My mom lay dying amidst blood in disheveled clothes on the couch and the master was not to be seen. When I shook her, she opened her eyes and in whisper requested me not to betray dad for my own good. She died in a few minutes before I called relatives.
When the flashback ended, I was in great turmoil as I knew I may blurt out under pressure.. I loved my dad and could understand his anger though faintly. I loved my mom very much and did not want her name sullied. I went to my mom’s medical chest and swallowed all the sleeping tablets. Poor Agnes, she will be disappointed, I thought with a wry smile. Assured that was the only way I could save my dad and mom’s honor, I slept peacefully and happily.