A family comes together to have fun or is there any other purpose?
|Mrs Dorothy’s kitchen is brimming with the smell of cinnamon, vanilla essence, roasted chicken, oregano, parsley. It is a boiling pot of flavors and a paradise for foodies. Even at her 70s, she has retained that same mastery of culinary skill; she was the top chef at JW Marriot.
It is around 9 in the morning. Soon her folks will arrive. Sons Jamie, Alan Patrick are coming from downtown. While her daughters Elizabeth and Dory are coming straight from the airport. The day is more than family reunion today; she has got to get rid of that thing today.
Last year, she was detected with soft tissue cancer. Her age and stamina won’t permit any modern treatment. A fighter since her teen, she has accepted the fact that her days are counting now. Although today’s chores doesn’t reveal the loss of stamina she is suffering from, yet clinically she is ill enough to skip all these jobs.
“Hello my superheroes!!”, her sons gave her a huge hug. The door was left open as her daughters were to arrive soon.
In less than an hour, her daughters arrived.
“Here are my princesses. Come come my darlings”. Mrs. Dorothy purposely didn’t do her eye makeup today; she knew the tears of joy would often shed today.
The silence of the room changed into the humdrum that was missing in the house for the last 6 years. This is the first complete family reunion after the demise of Stephen - Dorothy’s husband.
One by one people started to dig in as food made its way to dining hall straight from the oven.
“Ummmm. Heavenly mama. Your tossed veggies and crispy chicken still have that spark”, Alan said with his mouth full.
“I will have a slice of pie. It was always the piece de resistance. Remember?” , Dory said while helping herself with the pie.
Sound of chomping, munching, slurping mixed with intermittent appreciation and recalling of past memories. The day kickstarted exactly the way Mrs Dorothy wanted.
After the family lunch, Elizabeth was the first to open up,”Mama. You mentioned about a treasure in your email. Can we expect that we just had it on the table?” The post-lunch laziness suddenly vanished as all the curious eyes focussed at Mrs. Dorothy.
She wrote a mail to everyone saying that she wants to relieve herself from the family treasure, she is still protecting.
“Oh no. I told you all about a different thing. Let me give you a brief. I hope you all remember that my parents worked at the office of King George IV, before the World War II?
Everyone nodded with, “Hmm”.
She continued, “Once they had to travel to Hungary with some letters from the King. But they knew little about the heinous Holocaust. It was a trap. They had to escape before it was too late. None of the roads to safety led them to Britain. And thus we all are luckily and happily Americans today.”
“Sorry to interrupt mum but we heard this story during our early days. What has this gotta do with treasure.”, Dory asked with a frown eyebrow.
“You missed a point here honey. They went there with letters and official papers from the King. Those are still with me.”
In a flash there was a drop in noises in the room. All that could be heard are the squealing and screaming of the children.
Dorothy got up and lumbered towards her room. She opened the elizabethan wooden box to fetch those letters and gasped. Since she didn’t return to the living room for almost half-n-hour her son Patrick called her aloud.
“Hey mama. Is everything alright in there?”
“No no no.”, a trembling voice of Dorothy replied back that panicked all.
Her daughters and Patrick rushed inside the room to find Mrs. Dorothy sitting on her bed with teary eyes and constantly rubbing her forehead with the right hand.
“What’s wrong mum?”, asked Patrick.
“I can’t find those letters anywhere. I kept them here last night. And now poof. All vanished!”, Mrs Dorothy exclaimed.
“Its okay mum. Don’t let it bother you. Those are just pieces of paper right? Why don't you think it that way?”, Patrick tried to calm her down.
Except Mrs. Dorothy, everybody looked at Patrick with awe. Their eyes clearly spoke, “What a dork you are Patrick”. Soon all other people in the living room got the news and found it difficult to shrug it off from their mind. The euphoria in the air disappeared in a jiffy and people found it hard to kill the time. Patrick was the only one trying in vain to bring some life in the room.
“You are the only dropout from mid school Patrick. I know it's not your cup of tea to assess the valuation of those pieces of paper”, Dory retorted after Patrick cracked a joke about those lost letters. Finally, he fell silent too.
The farewell time came a little too early when Alan remembered he has a client appointment. Everyone followed suit with believable excuses. The only one to stay back was Patrick.
“Do you mind mama if I stay tonight. How about a dine out with your superhero?”, Patrick asked his mother with a boyish smile.
Mrs Dorothy agreed and took a short visit into her room to change for the dinner. She sat on her bed for a while and her eyes caught something under her pillow; the bunch of papers and letters. Last night she decided to skim through those treasured papers for the last time. She smiled and picked them up silently. Looking at Stephen’s picture on the wall, she spoke with a tiring voice.
“I didn’t intend to dear. But a family reunion made the decision so easy.”