The Arrival

The Arrival

“He’ll come,” she said, smiling and leaning on her walking stick for support.  It lifted her husband’s spirits, or so she thought.

“Yes, he’ll be back,” echoed her husband, just to give her the strength to survive.

And they pulled on through yet another day, half of which was spent looking outside the front door, not at the beautiful trees and flowers that surrounded their little cottage, but in anticipation of his arrival. 

But he never came.

***

The shrill sound of the morning alarm woke her up.  It was 4 am.  Another busy day had begun.

Amidst her household chores, she woke up her husband.   

Then she coaxed and cajoled her little son out of bed.

At 6 am, the rumble of the school bus could be heard as it drove up the little dirt road leading to their house.  Soon, the headlights of the bus flashed on their porch.

The boy was off to school.  A few minutes later, his father left home to begin his work day.  And she busied herself in her never-ending housework.

Life was simple in the year 1972, but busy nevertheless. 

The routine continued.  

Time flies fast and the little kid soon grew up into a tall, handsome young man with light brown eyes and an impish smile.

He went on to top his school, college and MBA results.  And then came the overseas posting.

The ageing parents bade farewell to their only son.  The resultant loneliness of an empty nest was masked by the pride of having their son successfully establish himself in a foreign land, the first and only one in the entire clan to do so.

After all, he would be back in two years.  That’s what he had promised.

He wrote every month.  They would look out the door every day for the postman.

At the end of the second year, he wrote to say his term was extended by six months.

The parents held back their tears.  After all, their son was happy.  And that was what mattered to them.

The father retired from service.  The mother could no longer run around.  The letters got fewer and shorter and then stopped coming altogether.  

Neighbours tittered behind their backs.  Relatives gloated.  But the couple never gave up the hope that their son would be back one day.

Technology made the world smaller and smaller.  Yet, their son remained an unfathomable distance away.

One night, she dreamt that the school bus was once again flashing its headlights into their house, blinding her.

She woke with a start.  A powerful light was coming in through the window.  It flashed into her eyes, then turned off.  She called her husband.  “What’s the time?”

He stirred in his bed.  “6 am.”

“The school bus has come.”

“Are you losing your memory?”  He sat up with a start.  And the light flashed again, this time into his eyes.

They moved to the window.  No, it wasn’t the school bus.  It was a car.  The latest and most expensive model.

Next to the car stood a tall, handsome man with light brown eyes and an impish smile.

He was back.

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Author’s Note:  I type on my mobile and I do not have Times New Roman here.  Please accept.  Thanks..

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Archie Iyer
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