It's Vicky's story.
| Birthdays and milestones.
It was a tiring day for Rebecca at the Medical center, where she worked as a pharmacist. Her job was to dispense with the medicines prescribed by the patient’s doctor. It took all her concentration to read and check for the medicines in the shop.
At 5 in the evening she got off her duty and hurried to the bus stop. She was thinking of and looking forward to a fun evening.
Rebecca and her husband Neil were excited to celebrate their son Vicky’s sixteenth Birthday tonight. After Vicky, short for Victor, had gone to school, they had hung the line of balloons in various colors in the spacious dining room. She collected bunches of flowers from the garden and put them in vases and placed them on tall stands in the corners of the living room.
As she stepped into the foyer of her sweet simple home, she noticed that the orders she placed were in the hallway.
The cartons of coke and ice cream arrived. The large double layer chocolate cake was sitting in the center of the dining table. Neil, who had a law practice in the main street, had already come home. He took care of the food, Chinese mostly, because Vicky loved it. After dinner they planned to clear the dining area for the kids to dance around and enjoy some board games as well.
At 7 pm sharp, Vicky’s friends Liam, James and Jacob walked in. The couple welcomed them.
“Where is Vicky guys?” asked Rebecca, smiling at them.
“He went away in the last period itself Ma’ m,” replied Liam.
“Well, he‘s not here yet. Perhaps he wanted to do some last minute shopping,” surmised Neil.
In the meanwhile the boys engaged themselves in some board games and were having fun. Another hour passed. Neil and Rebecca started ringing up their family friends and relatives inquiring after their son. Vicky didn’t visit them, they said. Rebecca was now truly alarmed. Tears started welling up in her eyes. Neil looked puzzled. What could have happened to Vicky, he wondered. Fear slithered up his spine imagining the worst possible conditions in which Vicky might have been caught.
After a while, unable to bear tension, Rebecca said, “Neil! I am going around the neighborhood finding out whether anyone of our acquaintance has seen Vicky.”
She went in to get her car keys. As she hurried out her eyes accidentally fell on a piece of paper fluttering under the time piece in the living room. She pulled it out and unfolded it and as she read her eyes registered shock and she started crying again. Neil came in to find out what had happened. She gave him the letter with trembling hands.
“Dear Mom and Dad,
I am sorry I worried you. But I have no option. My annual exams are nearing. My preparation for Math and Sciences is not up to mark. My teachers have been warning me to gear up my studies further. But I am not able to concentrate on studies. My mind drifts and I keep listening to music by different artists. I should have told you that I don’t have what it takes to be an academic.
I can’t face you now and disappoint you about my future and your dreams about my entrance to college and University. You have been saving money for my tuition working very hard. I am sorry I cannot help what I am doing.
I want to find out what I have inside me.
Please understand and do not waste time in searching for me.
Love you both.
Rebecca, who was stunned, let out a scream calling, “Vicky!”
“Oh, Vicky, we wouldn’t have objected to whatever you choose to be. Why have you decided to go? Oh, Neil, my heart is breaking, my mind reels. Oh, no, Vicky, please come back. We are with you. My darling son! Come back to your parents. You are our joy and meaning to life. Oh, Vicky….” She went on sobbing.
Neil and Vicky’s friends stood there witnessing the heartbreak and sorrow of a mother. Her tears were endless. She just lay down and pleaded with God to return her son back to the family. Sadness sat like a dark veil on the family and the other boys. They had no inkling of what was on Vicky’s mind.
Outside, darkness thickened. Clouds gathered. The moon was obliterated by thick clouds. The streets were deserted. People locked themselves in their homes preparing for a peaceful night.
Silence ruled the house. Vicky’s friends were quiet with sympathy for his parents. They too tried to get the whereabouts of Vicky by ringing some of their friends. Still there was no ray of hope.
Rebecca was lying on the floor of the bedroom listlessly, thinking of where he could have gone. Her son, the apple of her eye, couldn’t just walk out on his parents.
She closed her eyes that still overflowed with tears of anguish, worry and anxiety. Half an hour passed.
Then, she sensed someone stopping by her side.
“Mom, why are you on the floor? Let me get you back on the bed.”
She sat up and stared in utter disbelief. Vicky! It was as if she was dreaming.
“Oh, Vicky, is that really you? Thank God you came back,” said Rebecca as she got up and put her arms around him. Vicky stood there with downcast eyes that were on the verge of tearing.
Neil and others surrounded him and rained questions.
“You don’t have to think that we’d force to study further. If you know what you want out of life, then there is nothing to worry. There is no need to hide your interests,” said Neil with his arm around his son.
“Mom and dad I am sorry to have acted on an impulse. Half way on the train, I remembered mom would cry for me and you would feel sad at the way things turned out. I started missing you guys.”
“So you returned. I hope you understood the how strong our ties are with home,” observed James sagely.
“I think you have reached age of wisdom at sixteen dude,” laughed Liam, slapping Vicky’s back jovially.
Suddenly, the atmosphere changed from being sad to happy. Outside the cloud cover cleared letting out the moon shine in full glory.
“Alright guys. It is not yet midnight. Time enough to celebrate,” Neil hurried them all to the cake and later to enjoy the dinner still warm in the microwave.
Three years later,
Vicky was home for his nineteenth birthday. He had followed his heart and dream. He had successfully completed the graduation program in Music at Saint-Mary’s-University-of-Minnesota. He earned his tuition fee with scholarship and a little help from his parents.
Tall and handsome with dark curly hair, Vicky made an attractive presence as he circulated among friends, cousins and teachers as well.
His friends including James, Liam and Jacob were present. They recalled the incident of another birthday, which decided his career.
Happy laughter and tinkling of toasts were heard in the open air. Slices of Birthday cake, again a large double layer of chocolate and cream were served along with other delicacies that his parents have ordered.
Vicky was heard talking to his friends, “guys, this is significant for me, my Nineteenth Birthday, a milestone, so to speak. Thanks to my parents and friends like you guys and my teachers who helped me indirectly to come upon the career choice I made. What a difference it makes if we follow our heart!”
There was clapping and hooraying around .
Once again, the silver moon sailed along shedding light and spreading joy.
Word Count :1283
Written for Rima's contest "When we are NINETEEN"