He sat there on his wheelchair all by himself, so frail and lonely. He looked at the calendar for the umpteenth time to make really sure of the date. It was 2nd December indeed. It only seemed to make him more depressed. Back in the day, he was a jovial and friendly guy, a loving husband and father who would go to any lengths to keep his family happy. But time hadn’t been so kind to him. At 55 years of age his muscular legs of yesteryear seemed to have lost their strength and he now needed a wheelchair to carry him around.
He watched her enter the living room and walk around without a care in the world. He adjusted his black rimmed large spectacles to get a better look at her. At 22 she could afford to strut around with that devil may care attitude. He saw her look at him and turn away without a greeting as if he didn’t even exist. He closed his eyes unable to bear the pain. He ran his hand through his receding hairline which also plucked out a few of the remaining strands. What was it that had driven them apart?
He remembered the day she was born and how his world had changed in an instant. Carrying her for the first time made him feel like he had been blessed for some great deed he had done in his previous life. He remembered those sleepless nights where he would carry her in his arms until dawn humming every tune he knew & somehow putting her to sleep.
He could still picture her 1st day at school where she just refused to let go off his hand, her teary eyes pleading him to stay without saying a word. “Ill be right outside” he had promised her and sat the entire day in the veranda where she could see him. From then on dropping & picking her from school had become a ritual which lasted right until she finished her schooling. She would fling herself on him, the moment he would arrive from work and ask him to solve all her math problems. Once the homework was done, he would lift her on his shoulders & they both would do a victory dance together which would roll in a fit of laughter. He would then put her to sleep by reciting stories most of which were made up but she loved them all nonetheless. He was her hero and she was his world.
He didn’t know when things changed.What was it that had driven her away from him. She seemed so distant now. He sometimes felt like she was ashamed to be seen around him now.
He saw her friends arrive one by one. Soon there were about 15 of them but not one them acknowledged him. Looked like they were having some kind of a party in his house without informing him. But he didn’t mind. He didn’t mind anything she did. He loved her so much. He rolled the wheelchair into the next room.
“Where are you going papa?” She asked gently.
“To the next room, so that you youngsters can enjoy” He said with a fake smile.
“But we youngsters have gathered for you papa” She smiled.
He looked confused not knowing what she was saying.
“Happy birthday papa” She said with a big smile on her face
“SURPRISE UNCLE!!!” Her friends screamed in unison
His eyes grew moist. He couldn’t speak.
“I…I…I don’t know that to say beta, THANK YOU! ” He managed to say somehow
“You thought I forgot, didn’t you? How can I forget the 2nd of December, the birthday of the best dad in the whole wild world, I love you Papa” she said and hugged him tight.
“I love you too beta” he said and began sobbing in her embrace
Author’s Note : Its not just enough to say you love your parents. Sometimes you need to show them the love too.