“Good Bye son, do take care.”
“I will. Good bye.”
As the train slowly began to move, I mounted in and waved goodbye. Sitting in the cabin, all alone, for the first time, I was travelling away from home. Born and raised up by a single mother, I was the only child and her only hope in her old age. I was 17 years old and a graduate from one of the finest high school in my town and travelling for further studies in the city. Being the only child, I got certain privilege and much love and care but I always missed my father. Whenever I saw my friends with their parents enjoying their leisure time in the park, I also desired to have the same. I could never ask my mother about him and she also never told me whereabouts of him.
Since youth, I had been questioned by my friends and teachers, about my father. I could never answer their questions, even his name. I remember, one night while having dinner, I asked my mom about my father and she didn’t respond anything. It was always painful to know that I didn’t know anything about my own father; I didn’t know whether he was alive or dead. I even fought with one of my classmates when he called me an illegitimate son. Even during that incident, though young but still it hurt my sentiments and again I dared to ask her, but she remained quiet and went inside her room. I knew mom was hiding something from me but I never knew and time just passed by.
“Ohhh! Here sir.”
“Travelling alone, son?”
“Yes, for further study to South Town.” And he departs.
Through the window, the whole new world was welcoming me, particularly the changing pattern of the greenery field to buildings, rightly a “concrete jungle.” Studying further after completing my high school wasn’t my choice but my mother always insisted me to go beyond the world where I have been living all my childhood. Watching the moving scene, passing through meadows, towns and villages, I didn’t know when I felt asleep until…
“Hope you don’t want to travel more?” Said the conductor.
Stepping out to the new world, nervous and finding no known people around, I hesitantly stepped outside and waited for a coolie. Eyes went on to every direction, looking at every person who has no time to spare. It was really a hustle and bustle life which I just read in the books and heard from the friends who have been to cities before. Amid the busy crowd, a smiling gentleman, with bald head and a moustache came straight towards me and asked.
“Mr.Kac from East town?” questioned me as he gently clean his forehead.
“Yes.” I replied with surprise because neither I knew him before nor heard about him.
“I am Robert, from University of South Town.” He said forwarding his hand for handshake.
“From the University?” I wondered silently. I didn’t know that someone was coming for me. Did mom send him for me? But she never told me about anybody she knew and lived here. I thought of asking but I was too reluctant to ask any further question to him at the moment as all I needed was someone to take me to the University of South Town.
We remained silent all the way, he was busy in his own whole world and I was fascinated by the scenario of the town. Reaching to the college, he took me to the room and arranged my luggage. I couldn’t even thank him properly for all his help but later I knew I had enough time to thank him as he said, “By the way, I am your warden”. “if you have any problem, call me,” he said as he closed the door as he went out.
University was a whole new world to me, all new faces and new surroundings. I took lot of time to adapt to their style of living, even the food. In every meal time I missed the food of my mom, eating together. Departed from dad and now from mom, I was alone, but Mr. Robert always paid me a visit and helped me feel homely. He was a guide for me in this new world, always helpful.
One night I was seriously ill with high fever and was sweating. The next morning when I woke up I found myself in the hospital, a nurse and Mr. Robert nearby. Then he took me to his home where I saw Mrs. Robert and their 10 years old daughter. Robert’s family always made me to wish that if i could also have the same family.
Days passed by and the bond between me and Mr. Robert grew stronger. We were no more like a teacher and a student. He always tried to be my friend and I accepted it whole heartedly.
I was enjoying the very best days of life until one morning I received a call that my mom was sick and was admitted in the hospital. In hurry and worry, I immediately left the room and went to the station to catch up the morning train to East. I even forgot to tell Mr. Robert about it but I thought I would inform him when I reached there. Ten hours journey seemed like a whole life journey, neither I could relax nor enjoy the beauty outside. All I did was prayed and missed my mom.
Upon arriving at the hospital, I was late, just by an hour. The nurse on duty tried to comfort me but I couldn’t. The whole world had fallen upon me and like a fast flowing rivers, my tears meandered down. Looking at her as if she was sleeping and in any moment, she would rise up and hug me, I wished.
“Your mom left this for you,” said the nurse handing me a paper and an envelope.
“Thank you,” replied in very low voice not able to control the tears.
It was a letter for me written just before she left me and it read:
“Son, I am sorry that I am leaving you alone. You always have been a good boy and I know you will always be the same. I was a proud mother because of you and I know I couldn’t give you all the happiness that you deserved but I always tried my best. Today, I want to tell you something which I kept hiding from you until now and it’s about your dad. He is still alive but he’s away from us. He called me every time to know about you. He cares about you but he couldn’t be with us. Your father and I met during our high school and we fell in love and decided to live together. When I was carrying you in my womb, we decided to marry but your father’s family didn’t allow us to marry as I was from the low rank family and your dad was rich. I am sorry I couldn’t tell you anything about him but today as I take my last breath, I want you to know about your dad and I am leaving you his photo in the envelope.
Sorry for all the pain you went through because we couldn’t have a complete family. Your dad always wanted to be with us but he never could. He is a good man and I hope you will know him. I am happy that you were my son. Wished I could have more time to be with you.
With the envelope in my hand, I opened it with all the mixed emotions surrounding me and after opening it, the person in the photo to my surprise…
After the funeral, I went back to university to complete my studies. While moving into the campus, I met Robert.
“Where have you been all this time, almost a week?” he asked me with his face showing all the worries for me.
“Busy with the funerals of your first wife,” I replied looking straight into his eyes.
“So, she told you about it.”
“Yes dad.” I replied and walked away.
I always desired to be with my dad but when my wish was granted, I lost one. If I knew that I would see my dad only in the exchange of my mom’s life, I wish I never desired. I could never have a happy family.
Source: Kinley Zepa (3rd year, Eng-EVS)