PART two: omli
Chapter 10: Three Words
OMLI and his SKIMMA sat under a tree one night, talking about the things that were on OMLI’s mind, as they looked at the stars in the sky. OMLI had been trying, rather unsuccessfully as usual, to stop thinking of his mother for the last few days. A female OSZA had found him after he had passed out all those weeks ago, and had somehow nursed him back to health. She hadn’t had much to share with OMLI, but she’d taken care of him for a few days. From her actions, it had seemed like she’d wanted to keep OMLI around after he was able to walk again, but her husband had chased OMLI out of their hut the second he was able to do so. It had all confused OMLI, but he had simply ignored the ramblings of his mind, and had forced himself to not think much of it at first. He was simply thankful to be back on his feet. All he wanted was to never face the hunger in that way again.
OMLI’s mind, however, had refused to let go of the incident. It kept quiet for a while, but eventually, it began to pound OMLI with all kinds of questions. The female OSZA who had so kindly brought OMLI back to the world of the living had reminded OMLI’s mind of his mother. And memories of OMLI’s mother had brought other things to the surface, things that OMLI kept trying to ignore, things he wanted to run away from and never think about, things that his mind brought up periodically anyway, things that it refused to forget. OMLI went through this ritual every few months. The questions popped up as they always did, and he tried to suppress them until he couldn’t anymore.
The number of questions OMLI had about that fateful day only increased with each passing year. The older OMLI got, the more questions he had. Why was he taken to that room? Had he done something to deserve it? Had he eaten more than his share of food? Had his parents thought that he had done something really bad that he had not confessed to them about? Were they angry with him about something else? Was it possible that his siblings were making contributions to the family that he wasn’t? Had he not been working hard enough at the job he went to every day with his mother? Had his siblings been working harder at theirs?
These were but some of the questions that flew around in OMLI’s mind whenever the past came back to remind him that it still existed, and couldn’t be gotten rid of so easily. However, the question that bothered OMLI the most, the one that he always did his best to suppress, the one that he never wanted to find an answer to, was also the simplest and most direct. Did his parents, especially his mother, simply not want him? Everything he had been through recently certainly hadn’t done much to refute such a suggestion. Perhaps that was why the female OSZA’s husband had chased him out of their hut so promptly as well?
This question always made OMLI wonder if everything that had happened could have such a simple explanation. Perhaps he was the problem. Perhaps he was unlovable. That was why he was sent away, instead of his many siblings. They had mouths too, after all. They ate too. And yet, he was the one who had been thrown out of the family. He was the one who had been sold off to those scary OSZA. He was the one who had been put in that strange room. Had he been more lovable, had he been more worthy of his parents, had he been the kind of child his mother wanted, he would have never found himself in this situation.
OMLI often observed, with equal amounts of rage and envy, the mothers in the slums he lived in caring for the children they had. They hugged them. They kissed them. They fed them. They played with them. They fussed over them. And most importantly, they never let them out of their sight. He usually looked away whenever he saw such occurrences, because he knew that watching would only bring the question he dreaded back up again; but sometimes, he simply couldn’t help himself. And when he did look, the tears were always followed by the same three words popping up in his head. Why not me?
OMLI didn’t understand it. What had he done to be so unworthy of his mother’s love? Was he that ugly? Had he been that bad or naughty? What made him so undeserving? He didn’t see that much of a difference between himself and the children who had their mother’s love. And as far as he could tell, he hadn’t been that different from them when he had lived with his mother. So what was it about him? What had he done for her to shun him in that manner?
Nights such as this were always hard to shake off. The questions, once they resurfaced, were hard to bury. OMLI often cried for days whenever the past returned to torment him. This time around, however, things were a little different. He wasn’t alone anymore. He had a friend to share his sorrows with. His SKIMMA wasn’t like his parents. It would never abandon him. It would never cast him aside. It would, instead, love him forever.