I woke up to the lovely rhythmic noise made by my mother’s silver anklets. But I did not move a muscle, for if I moved, mom would get me off the bed. Peeping through the pinhole in the blanket, I found her mumbling while searching for something, what was it?

I continued playing a statue, but my tummy was not in the right state of mind. Was it because my nose picked up the scent of freshly grounded groundnut chutney or was it last night’s food? Whatever was the reason for my discomfort, I twitched.

‘Will you get out of bed? It’s already 7! Your school bus will come in 30 minutes,’ she had spotted me twitching, Ms Eagle Eyes.

Out of options, I rolled off the bed and looked at the clock, 6:20. ‘You again lied to me!’ my complaint was meek. If I were any louder, my mother would have turned into an angry goddess and threaten to enrol me into the military. Would they be so strict with their 5-year-olds in the military too?

Yet, she was a sweet person on mornings that had no school. She even allowed me to stay in bed longer. Adults and their weird rules!

Then, I noticed my elder brother sitting on a stool in the corner. Served him right for waking up early! But he had to get ready before me right? Sitting idle at 6:20 was unusual.

“Why are you not getting ready for school?” I asked him.

He gushed, “Mom is unable to find the toothpaste, If we do not brush our teeth, we can’t go to school.”

OH MY GOD! I had left the tube somewhere after eating from it last night. Where did I leave it? It was the secret to my strength. Mom should not know I was eating toothpaste, again. If she does, she would make dosa on my rear end and parcel me to the military.

Leaving my brother on this throne, I tiptoed around the house trying to find the tube before she could. My luck in finding the tube did not click, but something in my tummy did, and I had to rush to the bathroom.

After 3 visits in 15 minutes to unload, my mom understood something wasn’t right and caught me outside the stinking loo. I always believed eating toothpaste made me stronger, the habit had now come back to bite me.

Like a puppy caught sneaking out, there was no escape for me. So naturally, I started crying, and it succeeded in getting her benevolent side out. She solaced me. This was my chance to come clean.

Assuming she had realised what I had done, I blurted out the secret along with copious amounts of tears. To my pleasant surprise, she burst into laughter, ‘What made you think eating toothpaste would make you stronger?’

I wish she had remembered that advertising on TV, “Strong teeth, Strong people.”

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This is an entry for #TheLie #Five00-8, a room8 writing event –in 500 words.
Check out the event guidelines here: https://artoonsinn.com/room8/thelie

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