Joseph Henry

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Emotional journey to the past.

Submitted: March 03, 2013

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Submitted: March 03, 2013





Joseph Henry, aged 72, is sitting in a wheelchair at the garden of a nursing home, reading a newspaper where he finds the image and the name of his son printed on the front page, ‘Andrew Henry, multi-billionaire, now a proud father.’

“I remember the day he was born, Andrew, my son, who I vowed to love forever since that day. That little bundle of joy and warmth, my handsome little boy. How I proudly wrote his name, Andrew Henry, on the hospital form. Marking the date 24th October 1980, which since then became my favorite date.”

He spots a small kid with his family, visiting some elders there.

“Happy Birthday my dear son, how I sang to you on your very first birthday thinking how it was just yesterday when you were born… Guiding your soft little fisted hand to hold the plastic knife, pulling your arm to reach your football themed cake and making you slice it… Oh how you swatted my hand when I tried to feed you the cake and how Katherine, oh my darling Katherine, had to clean the splattered bits.”

A nurse enters the garden and hands him a pill and a glass of water. He takes them both obediently.

“You were seven and had a cold, and a bad cough. I brought you a cough syrup that was bitter and I remember how you always fussed before drinking it. I made you promises of ice-cream for dinner after you get cured and every time you used to take the medicine with a gleam in your eyes, dreaming about that sweet delicacy for dinner.”

Another nurse asks him to go to the hall for his lunch, which he has and comes back to the garden with the newspaper still in his lap.


“You had just turned eighteen a month back, and started growing distant from us. That day I brought you fries and soda as you had called me at work and demanded for them… No, you demanded for fries and milkshake… I was tired and sick, was working overtime, yet I went to the food joint to get them for you. Upon reaching, I saw they were out of milkshake so I thought maybe you would like a soda to go with your fries and got soda for you instead. I remember how you shouted at me calling me useless and throwing a temper tantrum. Son, did you not see the love I brought? Did you really only see the mishap in the order? I wonder if it was your age or you really did not know love. You slammed the door to your room, ignoring how your mother… oh dear Katherine… how your mother kept calling out to you…”

“You turned 19, and asked me for money that day so you could take your girlfriend out to a date. I remember how I asked you what you had done with the money I had given you earlier that day. Oh how that simple question earned me the title of a non-caring nosey father who always cares about his money… How you broke the vase on the dining table, the one your mother… oh my darling Katherine… loved so much.”

He spots a man in a business suit, walking down the pavement.

“Mom, Dad, I got a job. Those words, son, those words filled our hearts with warmth. Our son got a job, which was such amazing news. We were overjoyed. Then you told us how it was in another city. Away from home. Away from us. Our son leaving us? How can we live without him? Will he be able to live without us? Who will take care of him? So many questions, yet no answers. You left us alone, wondering, worrying about you. You called us once every week in the first few months, then the number of calls declined. Did we become so less important? Didn’t we deserve to know how you were doing? My dear Katherine, she cried for days and days. Waited for you to come home some day. Some day when you would show your face, the face we starved to see. You called us one day with the news of your marriage. Married? My baby boy married. It was a shock at first. Why did we not know anything about this? Who was the woman? You got married without us. Oh my dear Katherine, how heartbroken she was.”

Joseph wipes his eyes with trembling hands.

“I had to retire. I couldn’t work anymore. My dear Katherine suggested we go live with you. We thought you would be so happy to see us. So happy that we would all be together again, just like before. However, you frowned when we went to you. You hated seeing our suitcases. You told us you had no place in your home for us. We just wanted a corner to live in son, just a little shed on our head and food to survive. Were we so bad you couldn’t do that for us? When did we become so unwanted? Where did we go wrong, son? Son, let us stay, we begged. You gave us the attic. We were content in the attic. Your attic; our shelter. Our shelter…”

Joseph starts crying silently.

“My dear Katherine left me that day. She went to the God. She left me son. She left me here in this cruel world. My legs gave up son, my legs gave up. The legs I used for sprinting, they gave up; their life went with my dear Katherine. After Katherine left, I just needed you son. My dear Katherine. How sweet. Just beautiful. Radiant, my Katherine… You sent me to this place son, after my Katherine left, you sent me here. Never came back to take me. Never came back… I hope your son is the best son a father could ever ask for. I will always love you son. Always.”

Joseph wheels himself back to his room, the newspaper on his lap.


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