The gift.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Sometimes expectations can cause so much. Innocence and misery can change your life. But when things start getting the way Dickory wanted and every moment that life offered surprises him, he did feel things have at last fallen the right way. But then, life took away all the joys he had but he remained waiting for someone who would never return.

Submitted: May 14, 2017

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Submitted: May 13, 2017

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In a corner of the porch of the little, fragile shelter, he sat quitely, anticipating when his father would return. The weather was hot, though he felt a bit humid. The street looked deserted, noiseless as it would on a summer day. It seemed the atmosphere was calm, however, his mind was crowded with so many thoughts of anxiety. He sat there, motionless, waiting for his father, but this wait seemed endless and agonizing to him. It was already afternoon, and by now, his father should've returned. This young boy was Dickory, yes Dickory, an eleven year-old boy, who lived with his father in this little shelter at the end of Francis Street. He had no mother, well he had never seen his mother. She had passed away due to Brain cancer. He never understood who a mother was, and when he saw children holding hands of 'women', as he would call them, walking along the street, he would long to hold the hands of his father, who played the role of both his parents.

Leaning against the wall, Dickory closed his eyes out of impatience. He could not wait any longer; the heat was pricking him, his torn shirt was drenched with sweat and his patience was declining. No sooner had he thought of moving inside, than the rusted door made a crackling sound. Dickory's eyes shone with joy. He ran up to the man who'd opened the door. It was his father- a young man, though aged by years of struggle and impoverishment. He hugged his child affectionately and Dickory grabbed his hand to hold, for which he had been longing for. He knew his father was back from work and he would not go anywhere then.

His father, who was called Morgan by his fellows, worked in a factory which manufactured candies of ice. The job was hard to get, as Morgan was illiterate and inexperienced. But, by God's grace, he was fortunate enough to get the job after much pleading. He was grateful to Him for giving him another chance to raise little Dickory, after his wife's death.

Dickory and Morgan sat on the tattered, second- hand sofa with torn covers and springs which sprung out from the sofa pillows. This didn't bother them , until the sofa provided them a place to sit, instead of the place the cold, hard floor provided them. 'Would you please close your eyes, Son?', said Morgan. ' I've got something for you.' Dickory was excited. He hadn' t expected anything from his father. Holding Dickory's hand, Morgan placed something on his palms. Immediately, Dickory felt a cold sensation and quickly opened his eyes to investigate what his hands had embraced from his father. It was a sort of long, metal bottle with the logo, "STATE ICE FACTORY". Morgan prompted, ' Its a Vacuum insulated flask or a Dewar Vessel.' Dickory couldn't understand even a fragment of what his father had just told him then. And why? Because he'd dropped school due to their financial incapability. Morgan looked at him and said again, ' Son, this bottle keeps hot things hot and cold things cold. In easy terms, you may call it "Thermos".' ' Ther..mose..', spelled back Dickory. 'Now, wouldn't you open it and see whats there for you?' nudged Morgan. Dickory immediately rotated the "cap" and peeped into the dark continer. To his surprise, he saw two ice cubes or in his words, "ice crystals", cold , shiny and transparent like glass. He was amazed as he'd never seen ice as cubes before. 'Take them out and eat them, Dick.' Dickory wasn't ready to do so; they looked so precious and- beautiful to him. But, when they started melting on his palms, he quickly threw them into his mouth. It was a cold, refreshing sensation which made him feel joyous. He wrapped his arms around his father, who hugged him with the same cheerfulness.

The entire day, he kept on thinkning about the ice cubes, holding the Thermos. Morgan had begun to receive his salaries, and so, Dickory joined a local school, provided by the factory for its workers' children. He met boys and girls like him, made friends pretty fast, learned varied things and so on. Along with that, he bunked classes, stole guavas from the school graden and drew "art" on the blackboard in the teacher's absence. Our Dickory was indeed a naughty child!

He was quite proud for possessing the ' Thermos'. He would go round the school, showing it to all those wide, curious eyes and calling it "Valour inculcated Flast " or " Desire vessel", as far as he could recollect what his father had told him a month ago. And soon, he had become famous for it. His father would take it from him everyday after school and fill it up with ice during the night, when Dickory was fast asleep. In the morning, Dickory would open it and relish the cubes, since they never melted inside the Thermos.

Days passed, turning into months, like a raw fruit transforming into a ripened beauty. Autumn had stepped in, with leaves shedding and crunched under the feet of men. The days were pleasant and serene. It was the month of October, and days of October never passed without excitement for Dickory. Because, his birthday was fast approaching

Every year, his birthday would pass without any celebrtion. For years together, Morgan had struggled to earn a penny. Throwing even a small party for his son was supremely unthinkable, unimaginable and impossible. His son , a small child as he was, would expect a lot but never demand anything. He would cry , though never before the eyes of his father. Morgan would, every year, console him by saying that life on earth without dying is a gift itself. And Dickory would never question him back.

But this year, Dickory was to turn twelve. They had financially improved and he expected his father to gift him something at least. Like a trip to the amusement park, or a lunch at hotel Soireé. Anything would make him happy.

As days passed, it was finally his birthday, and a Sunday too. Our young man of twelve was rejoicing in his little home, waiting for his father who'd gone to fetch groceries. He was full of mirth, joy and-- expectations. As soon as his father returned, he rushed to him and pulled him inside. They sat on their ever- loving sofa and Dickory started ranting his list of gifts, ' Father, you may take me wherever you want, a toy train ride or a meal at Soireé. Or to the movies. Anything will do for me.You'll take me, won't you?' Morgan turned away his face nervously. Though he earned, hee didn't have that much money to finance a trip to parks or hotels. Or to movie halls. After a long silence, he replied with a choked voice, ' I cannot take you to these places. I can't, son.'

Dickory was shocked with grief. This day had to be his most special day and his father had helplessly replied him that he won't get what he wanted. This time, Dickory did not console himself. He yelped back, ' Every year, you do this to me. Don't you have any love for me? Or is it that there's no place for me in your heart.' Dickory ran away from there to the same, familiar corner of the porch and sobbed endlessly. He wondered what was wrong with his father. He wept and wept, until he became quite. He controlled his tears and thought about what had happened just some time ago. He felt a strong guilt in his heart; a painful, throbbing sensation which made him feel restless. He rushed to his father, wiping all his tears. There he saw him, his father, on the cold floor, his face covered with his big, rusty hands. Dickory knealt down, held his father tightly and whispered, 'Please forgive me. I was wrong.' Morgan held his son and wiped off the fresh tears Dickory's eyes were shedding. 'I'm sorry, son. I haven't been a good father. I'm unable to give you things you want.' Dickory was full of emotions. He replied, 'I won't mind if you can't take me to places. But if you could bring the ice cubes?' Morgan felt hopeful. He could do this. Easily do this. Till this day, he'd never told his son that he he actually he had stolen the ice cubes and the Thermos.Well, he was never going to reveal that to anyone.

So, Morgan stood up, took the Thermos from Dick and set off. He pledged to himself that he wo'nt steal again, but would do for it for the last time for the sake of his son. While he was gone, Dickory sat in the corner, waiting anxiously for his father to return with the gift.

Morgan had reached the factory and found the door locked. But, as fate would have it, he had a duplicate key in his pocket. He quitely opened the door, bolted it from inside and made his way to the "Coolant Room", where all the ice was stored. When he reached, he wore on his thermo-regulating uniform to prevent his body temperature from declining. He entered quitely and opened the huge, mechanised refrigerator , where millions of ice cubes lay untouched. Hardly had he grabbed one, when the door of the Room was pushed open by a man. Morgan was horrified. He dropped the Thermos but remained still. Shame, pain, desperation, anguish, shock----- everything was pictured and etched on his face.

This man, tall and authoritative a he looked, was none other than the factory owner. Morgan was unaware that the owner had Sundays reserved for a Gerneral Inspection. And this inspection had paid off; he had found the factory thief--- Dickory's father. The owner growled at him, 'You pilferer! You dare steal in my factory! I knew you illiterates commit mothing but crime. And, you have even stolen a Thermos!?' Morgan had no words in his defence. Fighting for something wrong held no victory. He stood there, his head hung in shame. The owner shouted again, 'You got to be behind bars and I shall waste no time to arrange it for you!' Despite all pleading and prayers, Morgan was hand- cuffed and thrown inside the police van. In no time, he found himself inside the jail, where he would but rot and wait like prisoners to find his way back home.

But, there sat our young boy, Dickory, waiting till time could exhaust him. It was already dark, but he had not given up on his father. He had not given up hope. He closed hie eyes, this time out of sleep and not impatience. He knew his father would be back soon and they would be together again. And, as he dozed off to a deep slumber, we wonder what would dawn on this poor boy, when he would finally open his eyes again..............


© Copyright 2017 jagruti sharma. All rights reserved.

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