Can Black Turn White?

Sudha Vishwanathan posted under Flash Fiction QuinTale-49 on 2023-02-17

I was not a black sheep by birth. My fair complexion defied that. I had my first puff and tasted liquor when I was fourteen. Thanks to my friends' circle of spoilt brats. Vanishing notes from dad's wallet and untraceable metal articles from the house exposed my felony. My mother's intentions were straightforward, no doubt, as she strategically coerced her brother's daughter,  to marry a scoundrel like me. She thought marriage would transform me into a responsible man. Nothing changed!!! At twenty- four I only contributed an extra member to the family but soon the statistics went back to the same as my better half passed away leaving the infant. Ananya, my daughter grew up under the auspices of loving grandparents and an uncle, my younger brother who was a paradox to me in every aspect. The death of a spouse gave me extra liberty to trounce my sorrow in alcohol and search for a fair bosom to spend cozy nights. My coffers were never empty. The money lenders filled them. But the salary that I earned as a clerk in a printing unit was too modest to repay them. Soon they began thronging the threshold. A day came when I was left with no choice but to flee. And so here I was back after two decades, having had an adventurous life, roaming about, doing odd jobs, bilking, and running away from one place to another.  In these two decades, I had not heard from my family and I am sure they might have given up searching for me, even if they had made an effort. A good part of a decade must have gone into repaying my debt. I was welcomed with dazzling lights and music. Wedding bells!!! "Where were you all these years son?" My mother's hazy eyes carried those unshed tears. Her bare neck and bare forehead screamed about her widowhood. Father must have died of a broken heart. "It is Ananya's wedding tomorrow. I am happy you have come." She smiled. Ananya gave me the cold shoulder. She had never known me as a father. My brother welcomed me despite all the troubles I had given him.  If only one of them had asked me the reason for my return!!! But I doubt I would have disclosed the truth of my dwindled repository and my tarnished image in almost all places I had been.  I doubt I would have told them that I had come to replenish my coffers. But I didn't have to put that extra strain, my brother's wife whom I was meeting for the first time thought it was her sincere duty to show me all the jewelry and gifts they had amassed for Ananya's wedding. The town was abuzz with the news of a broken wedding the following day as I sipped the costliest whisky heading towards the harem of the prettiest lady in a new town hitherto unknown to me or I unknown to folks there.   Penmancy gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!