My high-pitched wails permeated the humid, grey-walled hospital room. Loud, angry protests of being rudely thrust into the crap of life. My mother shed bitter tears of regret. Not the coveted son my father wanted. A second daughter. A woman who could only deliver girl children. Useless. My mother gazed indifferently at my face in curious scrutiny – a replica of the man, my father. She traced the handsome lines of my cheek bones, locked eyes with my strong, defiant gaze and absent-mindedly tapped my crooked, prominent, quivering nose. My father did not show up at the hospital for two days. Only a girl. Why bother? Finally, my grandmother dragged him to the hospital at 7 pm on Saturday. Reluctant. Bitterly disappointed. Disinterested. Father stood at the foot of the bed, his arms folded. “Sharma, my boss, says he can adopt this girl.” His shrill voice carried out to the main hallway. My grandmother spat disgustedly on the ground. “Chi chi. This girl is the goddess Lakshmi. She will bring you wealth. Money. Money!” My father snorted noisily and marched out of the room. My mother held me up to her lips and whispered softly in my ear: “A girl’s life.” They named me Kanwaljit. Lotus flower. The one that grows out of crap. Little did they know how I would defy and rebel against the injustice of my birth. My deafening, inconsolable cries reverberated around the tiny cubicle, and no one could console me.
“Lotus Flower” was previously published in Short Edition – Calgary Library Short Story Dispenser.
Kelly’s poems and works have been published in Sanscrit, West Coast, Singa, CBC, Mothering Anthology, New Asian Short Stories 2015, Short Story Dispenser (Central Library), online YYC Portraits of People, Time of the Poet Republic, Canada, WordCity Monthly, Best Asian Short Stories 2020, Blindman Session Stories, Anak Sastra, The Rucksack Project, The Contemporary Canadian Poets Program, Namaashoum and Understorey. She has completed her first novel, Letters to Singapore.