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Tiny footsteps could be heard clamouring up the narrow, winding stairway. Beaten once again. Beads of perspiration covered her battled brow. Where could she be going? Asprina half whispered to herself. It was such a pain looking after a being so electrically charged. She clutched her crinkly looking Prada tightly as she took a final gaze around for that little imp and realised that the place didn't look quite right. She rammaged for the bottle of Lorazepan in her handbag, clumsily popped two pills, washed them down with a swig from her flask, before shutting her eyes. Asprina let out a sigh so long and loud. Thank goodness for the wooden bench just outside Edgar's Groceries. Her worn out soul needed it so badly. She was sure she couldn't afford another step. Who could ever catch up with Little Anticia? She decided to call for help right that moment.

A feeble voice answered, barely audible. What? Hello? Exasperating. Before a word could be uttered, the person hung up on her. Asprina was sure she heard a vein pop in her head, triggering her migraine. Was she going to have to put up with that rascal of a grand daughter for a whole week? She could not for the life of her recall why she even consented to this absurd arrangement. What could she have been thinking. Riding on this thought, Asprina had to lie herself down on the bench. Oh how her nightmare was going to take shape was beyond her understanding. She didn't know who else to call. Who was that bitch who picked up? She heard a female voice before the phone went dead. All of a sudden, Asprina felt so defeated and fatigued, surrendering herself to her body.

Asprina was awokened by a shrilly scream. She must have fallen asleep. Oh gosh! Was Anticia in trouble? Asprina got up briskly and stopped some passersby for help. A lovely couple listened most intently as Asprina related how her granddaughter wandered off, as she always did, and why she had dozed off.
They took off quite willingly. She felt blessed. This ordeal seemed familiar. It was all Adrian's fault. Asprina felt a simultaneous wave of guilt for having failed as a mother to her only son. All she cared then was how to ensure his academic success at all costs. When Elena packed and left, Anticia was barely six months old. Adrian was a workaholic who knew not how to support his young wife emotionally. It was such a tragic marriage. As a mother in-law Asprina was helpless. Being emotionally detached herself, she was hardly a model. Perhaps the marriage could have been saved if she had had the courage to speak up. Adrian was a product of her Asian beliefs about men in the household, handicapped in many ways and matters of the heart.

A little hand nudged her sleeve...Asprina turned and was greeted by the cheesiest smile ever. The young couple had found her near a dumpster by the side street. Asprina thanked them profusely for the hour-long search. Fortunately, Anticia was not too badly hurt. She woefully related how she had missed her grip on some railings she was on. Gees! This little one bore no semblance to her dad who was such a perfect child. Asprina's lack of affection for this little girl saddened her greatly. No amount of effort could replace her own emptiness. It was not Anticia's fault. When Anticia slipped her hands into hers, Asprina felt a surge of warmth from nowhere engulfing her frozen state. In silence, they walked home.

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