With the note out of the way Pia was back to her happy self. She didn’t seem too concerned about the kid she had fought with. Now that she had realized there would be no punishment, her guilt had disappeared. I let it be. Whatever it was, she had to anyway face it tomorrow with the headmistress.
That gave me something else to think about; the meeting with the headmistress. I had always been a teacher’s pet, so had my sister. I didn’t have any idea how the parent was supposed to react in such matters. Was I to go there and apologize for Pia’s behavior? I spoke to my mother about it and both of us decided that it would be better if she came along too. Just to help me get used to it. To the whole being a parent thing.
The evening passed quickly what with Pia’s homework and assignments and I couldn’t help but wonder whether my life had reduced to babysitting Pia. I would be glad to start work soon..
At night, I thought of telling Pia a bedtime story. A happy story to keep her nightmares away.
“So once upon a time,” I started. Pia smiled a little and turned sideways to see me better. I smiled back. I used to tell Pia stories every time I visited and I could tell she was pleased that the change in our relationship hadn’t changed that aspect.
I told her a story of fairies and princesses, of happy days and happy thoughts. I thought I had done a pretty good job.
I was tip toeing out of Pia’s room when Pia, who was still awake, asked me “Why do only fairy tales have happy endings?” I considered answering her question but I really, didn’t have any appropriate answer for it.
“Goodnight Pia..” I was hoping Pia would forget all about her question. Pia didn’t answer, she was already fast asleep.
I heaved a sigh of relief. You always had to be on your toes while raising kids. You could never predict what they were going to ask next. I smiled to myself as I heard my thoughts. Already, I was thinking like a parent. That night, after a long time, I slept with happy thoughts in my head.
Pia did not come into my room that night, but I knew she had a nightmare from the sleepy look on her face. Clearly, bed time stories were not the answer to her nightmare problem. That morning, I took charge of getting Pia ready for school. Pia was an organized child and I didn’t have to do much except remind her to hurry up once in a while.
We tried to maintain a conversation while walking to Pia’s school but all of us fell silent once the school building came into view. All of us probably thinking about what was coming next.
We were made to wait outside the headmistress’s office till the morning assembly got over. After a while, the headmistress came, apologizing for making us wait and ushered us into her office. Pia followed, with her head down.
A few minutes passed as the headmistress went over Pia’s records. Occasionally, she would shake her head in disapproval. I was getting nervous; I could only imagine what Pia was going through.
“This is a very difficult situation.” The headmistress finally started. “She’s a bright child, but her behavior is too unpredictable. We are lucky; the child’s mother didn’t create a fuss about this incident.”
My mum and I remained silent. We knew what Pia had done. What we didn’t know was why and how to stop it.
“Pia.. can you wait outside? I’d like to talk to your..” she hesitated, “guardians alone.”
Pia nodded and left.
“Have you seen Pia’s recent paintings Poonam?” Clearly, the headmistress knew my mum from somewhere else.
My mum nodded. I was missing something here. What was wrong with Pia’s paintings?
The headmistress continued, “I got a chance to show them to my colleague in the city and he agrees that they are disturbing.” She hurried to continue before my mother could interrupt. “I’m not saying there is something wrong with her. I just think you should ensure that she’s dealing with her parent’s death the right way.”
“Can you recommend someone?” I asked.
The headmistress scribbled a couple of names and numbers on a piece of paper.
“You can try these people. The school has worked with them before.” She handed me the paper.
“May I see the paintings?” I wanted to know what was so disturbing about them. I was sure, that they were all over reacting.
The headmistress picked up a file and passed towards me. I opened it and a gasp escaped from my lips as I flipped through it. Pia had drawn vivid pictures of accidents. And she had colored it.. The car, the tree, the people and the blood; everything was red.