Maya’s mom fluffed up her pillows and smiled down at her daughter. “You’ll be happy to know this injury will get you out of going to temple this week.”
“Why is that? Wouldn’t it be better to go and show all your friends you are bringing up your daughter the traditional, well-disciplined way?” The words were out and there was nothing she could do to take them back.
“Maya,” her mom gasped. But the shock melted from her face as she sat on the edge of Maya’s bed. “Honey, you know we haven’t brought you up in the ‘traditional’ way. You wouldn’t be learning to fight if we did.”
“So why am I? You and dad can both see how terrible I am? Why don’t you let me give it up?” Maya pouted, glad they’d moved on to another topic.
Her mom tucked Maya’s hair behind her ear; she’d always said Maya shouldn’t hide her pretty face behind her hair. “Because you must learn to protect yourself. We need to know that you have at least some ability to defend yourself. Just in case.”
“In case of what? Somerville’s probably the safest suburb in the state of California. Maybe even the whole of the western seaboard,” Maya grumbled, grabbing a cushion from beside her she began to pull at the beaded tassels. She’d been training under her dad’s tutelage since she was six years old. He’d been running the school ever since her parents arrived in America when Maya was just a baby.
“Well you just never know-” a note of hesitation in her mom’s voice drew Maya’s gaze. Her mom opened her mouth to say something, but a moment later the urge seemed to subside and she went silent. Then she sighed and said, “You should send up a prayer or two.” Maya stared as her mom pointed a finger to the ceiling. “You probably need all the help you can get especially with a black eye that bad.”
“Mom.” Maya scolded, shocked she’d suggest such a thing. “You know what I think.”
“Yes, honey. I know you don’t believe now. But someday soon you may no longer have a choice. Now, get some rest.” Her mom stood, gently patted Maya’s cheek before leaning over to kiss her forehead. Her waist length hair, so like Maya’s, swayed as she walked out of the room. At the doorway she turned and winked at her daughter. “If you don’t want the gods to help you then you better be prepared to help yourself.”
The door closed with a snick just as the cushion Maya had been playing with hit it. Maya shook her head, chuckling. Her mom always had a way with words. Although her parents had accepted she didn’t fully believe in the theology of Hinduism, her mom never failed to try her luck at convincing her every so often. Still, she was thankful they didn’t force her to perform all the rituals and customs. They were less orthodox than the other parents in the community, like Ria’s father. But they still maintained their belief in the gods.
It’s merely mythology. Not actually real.
But when her mother looked at her that way, Maya had to wonder what it really took to believe.
Genre – YA Fantasy/Paranormal
Rating – PG13
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