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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: June 19, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 19, 2017




By Austin Naidoo


“I haven’t lived the best life while I was younger. I only blame myself. My parents, as you would know, are the most caring people you will ever meet. They managed to put up with me for all these years. I blame myself for falling for the desires of this world. I was always told I could achieve anything if I just try hard enough. But for me it was easier to take shortcuts. So, cheating at school came easy and joining the wrong crowd seemed right at the time. I know, how ironic. Still no matter how many detentions and suspensions I went through, it did not at the time seem relevant. I did not really care if I was throwing my life away, I enjoyed the rebellion, I felt more alive. High school was an absolute blast. Of course I can say that because I was not the nerd or geek and like most high school movies are these days, they portray high school as an absolute nightmare. I experienced the ‘popular kids” side to it. I was the class clown; I wasn’t the bully but I was part of the same crowd. I remember one afternoon, in my final year, a week before exams, we decided to bunk the later half of school. We were completely out of it in the morning anyway and school just seemed extra boring that sunny day. During break my friends and I just stayed a little bit longer. When everyone else went to class we found a climbable tree and we smoked and drank the day away. All I remember from that day was disappointed teachers, angry parents and friends who were not loyal.Oh, high school changed me. But it was my choice to make. Do I regret it… well of course I do but all of that leads to better moments.

Those high school moments did not change me. I went to an average university and studied a mediocre course. The high school behaviour carried over to university. You would think I would make better friends but I always found myself with the ‘yolo’ crowd. University was none the better it was a miracle how I got in. Wait, no it wasn’t, I did mention cheating right? I was never caught in high school but uni was a different story. Not only was I expelled I was not able to get accepted anywhere else. My education was down the drain. I was never a fan anyway but my parents always knew best. Good parents always know best - keep that in mind.

Finding a job without an education was as hard as it gets, but I was not a quitter, I learnt that from my mother… I eventually moved out of the house, I could not take another day being a disappointment to my parents. I stayed with a friend for the time being and found a job washing dishes at a five-star restaurant. I know it sounds horrible but my whole life changed in the following months. I was 25 at the time steadily working.  The pay wasn’t great but it would suffice. My friend and I 'agreed' that I would only pay for a quarter of the rent. Sometimes good people also come with a price for being so good. You could say that I paid the rest through buying weed and occasionally some hardcore narcotics, I was always the one taking the risks. 

Life was just great at the time, it was fantastic, awesome, absolutely splendid or at least that’s how it felt when I was high. Every other moment was complete emptiness and living life that way was not the way to go forward. But it was the only way I knew. I could have phoned my parents for help but every time I attempted to dial their number, I felt guilty. How could I phone them when their only child, who they poured out complete love and care for, turned out to be a complete failure. So, I never did call.

I am truly grateful for May 17; this was the day I met the woman who would change everything. Since where I worked was a five-star restaurant, staff would change regularly as people could not take the pressure. So, it was no surprise when they announced the newest members of the staff. And for once I was not late for the early morning announcements. They were introduced one by one until finally the last person announced was my soon to be wife. Firstly, it wasn’t soon but time never existed when I was with her. She was a chef in training and by far the most beautiful woman I ever saw. I am sure you can agree, it was not just how she appeared, everything she did just radiated gentleness with hints of elegance. I remember the first time we met, it was a crazy evening, tables needed to be cleared and dishes needed to be cleaned. As usual I went out for a quick smoke before the stress got to me. When I was back inside the dishes seemed to have multiplied exponentially. Since I always looked for shortcuts I tried to clean them as fast as possible but with as little effort. That did not work out, at least twenty plates fell and came crashing to the ground. I knew I was most definitely going to be fired. I was not irreplaceable by a long shot. I screwed up before but I could always cover up.

I needed this job, finding another one was close to impossible. It was quite a busy kitchen and only a few people heard but they couldn’t care less. She was not one of them, she was walking past and stopped and said ‘I have a plan’ with a smile that would bring hope in the most unlikely of situations. I don’t remember her plan as I was infatuated with everything she said and did. I am not the type of person that believes in love at first sight but she was that type of person who would make you believe anything if you spent the right amount of time with her. I know I did.

I felt like a failure but with her those feelings did not exist, in fact they disappeared. She had such a profound effect on my life. I couldn’t be the man I was anymore. I had to change. I wanted to change. She deserved a person who was a million times better than I was but she chose me, therefore I had to change a million things about me. Yes, I know they say never change for a person and just be who you are. But who I was, is not who I wanted to be. Therefore, change. I had quit every negative aspect of my life and I decided to phone my parents.

They poured out love and care beyond what I even dreamed would happen. The least I wanted from them was forgiveness for not keeping in touch. We however spoke for hours and it was then that I decided to move back with them and work for a friend of my father's. I did all of it not only for her but for me as well. It had taken me a few years but I worked my way to the top. I became successful.

So once I knew I could sustain a life for the both of us, I decided to propose to her. I decided I wanted to grow old with her and have a family… Nothing would make me happier. She eventually became the head chef of that restaurant and when we went out to celebrate, I proposed to her. She said yes. Married life isn’t easy but trust me it was far better than any other life I have experienced. Now this is the hard part. We decided to have you...”

As I read those last words everything around me seemed to fade away. I’ve never cried so much in my life because I knew what I was reading was entirely the truth. I knew those were the words of my father. And if I continued reading, the guilt would eventually just eat me up until I would feel nothing but sorrow. I hate that indescribable feeling you get when the world closes in all around you. Lost doesn’t even seem to fit in, you don’t just feel lost you feel hopeless. That’s the worst.

I never knew how much I was like my father, we both were with the wrong crowds at school and we both didn’t seem to have a care in the world. It seemed though that he really changed maybe I should do the same, but life is so complicated, is my life worth anything.

See my mother had given me this letter when I was expelled from school. How horrible I was to her and my grandparents. I always acted on impulse. I’m currently sitting on a train going who knows where to do who knows what. People are starting to look but I know I have to keep on reading this letter no matter what.

So, I kept on reading, my hands were shaking, there was a lump in my throat. I wiped away the remaining tears on my face and took a deep breath…

“…We decided to have you, my son. Well we never at the time knew you were going to be a boy but to be honest I was kind of hoping for a boy first, so you could be the big brother. The day you were born was probably the happiest and saddest day of my life. When I first laid eyes upon you I started to cry because never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that someone like me can give life to someone as innocent as you. Your mom ended up crying too and I remember just the three of us holding on to each other for at least half an hour.

I will always remember those happy moments as if they were tattooed to my heart. After that like a meteor everything just went downhill. Son, your mother might not have told you this and most probably hoping I would mention everything in this letter but you were born with a kidney disease. I will not go into details but at the time of your birth you only had about 3 months to live with the state of your kidney.

We immediately were put on a waiting list and were told that we would most probably have a donated kidney in two months. The next two months I was just drowning in emotions. Every time you laughed or smiled I would do the same and every time you cried from the pain so did I. Your mom was an anchor that would not be moved no matter what, through those stormy times.

At the end of the two months your condition got worst, you weren’t eating or sleeping normally. So, we visited the hospital and they told us more bad news. Not only was your life getting shorter by the second, we were also no closer to getting a suitable donor. We were given a very difficult decision to make. We either had to let you go or one of us were to donate our own organ. Your mother without a second of hesitation said she would do it.

For once in my life I was not going to live for me, I would do something with purpose and meaning. I truly love you son and I decided to do the transplant. Your mom and I never fought so much before but we ended up deciding it would be me. Son, those 3 months I spent with your mother and you despite all the negatives, was the happiest time of my life. I will never regret anything I have done thus far because it all lead to spending those precious moments with my family. Son, nothing is more important than those who love you, those who truly love you. You will always find peace, joy and comfort in love and in those who give out love. Your mom and your grandparents are perfect examples of this.

There is a 1 in 3000 chance that something can go bad in an organ transplant operation. The odds are quite low for anything like that to happen. But if you are reading this, then I was that one. I decided to write this with the hope that I would still see you again but if not, to at least give you a part of me to remember as you live. Besides all the odds and statistics there was no way I would ever trade your life for mine. So son, I know you are not going to have a father in your life but your mother is by far stronger than me. If she is in need of support I know that your grandparents will always be right by her side.

I have told your mother to give this to you if you were ever in a bad place in your life. I know this letter will not measure up to the amount of love your mother has given to you all these years but I do hope it will change the way you think. I love you, I always have and I always will. Don’t think for a second that you’re the reason that I have passed away because the fact is you’re the reason that I lived, you’re the reason for me becoming more than what society would ever label me. You gave me faith; you gave me hope and above all you’ve have shown me love. Nobody can take that away from me not even death.

Son, I am sorry for not being there for you but I need you to rise. Rise above hate, rise above lies, rise above depression and rise above failure. You are not alone and you never will be because as long as these words remain with you so will I…”

When I finally read this I was able to breathe again. And I was also left with a choice.

© Copyright 2018 Austin Naidoo. All rights reserved.

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