(seeing a short story in the blog, I wanted to try one while in travel and to make it fun for me I will try not to think beforehand and let words flow without form or purpose)
The bus slowly dragged along the clogged streets of the wretched city that once again let him down in that god awful interview. The same question, why did you leave your previous job and why such a long break. The same evasive replies that as usual got him nowhere. The bus picked up speed rocking him back and forth. It suddenly lurched throwing him against the roof and his bag was thrown down hard. Story of his life.
He had a small bladder a doc once said. What ever it was he had a difficulty holding it in, and now he needed to go very badly. The story couldn’t get any sorrier. But he wasn’t his old cringing crybaby self anymore. He had grown up, he had toughened, one little thing had made that happen, his daughter.
Right when he thought he couldn’t take anymore, the bus stopped at a hotel for a break. He got down, stretched his legs and after taking care of his urgent need, he came out and lit up a cigarette. His wife was the rock of the family. It was on her earnings that the family ran. She had become demeaning in her behavior towards him. They used to have a lot of fights. Nowadays he grudgingly had began to do as she says, all for the sake of his daughter. He also had to admit that she a woman, has taken the role of provider of the family while he could do nothing.
He was too lost in his thoughts that he had ended up smoking one too many a cigarette. Gathering himself, he went in search of his bus, only to find that it had left without him. He wasn’t worried about his bag, he can collect it from the travel office later. But he had to reach
his home by tomorrow. It was his daughter’s birthday. Her 8th birthday. The gift he had so carefully bought her was in his bag. But it didn’t matter, he can get one later in his hometown.
He enquired in the hotel if any other bus would stop by and got a negative reply. Yet he was told that if he could somehow go to the next town, then he could get buses to his hometown or he could stay at their hotel and travel the next day. He went to the highway in hope of hitching a ride to the next town. He had already missed the last three of his daughter’s birthdays. He didn’t consider himself an alcoholic but he had lost wonderful time with family and a job because of the party life. The job. He had to find a job soon. Not to gain prestige from society, not to escape the cribbing from his wife, but if his daughter is not to experience hardships he faced then more money is needed.
After lots of accusing glares by people inside the cars and outside on the road my patience was rewarded as a family finally stopped taking pity on me. I got in the front seat and in the back were the gentleman’s wife and cute daughter. I told them the story of how I missed my bus and am going to see my daughter. We laughed heartily. On hearing that I was looking for a job he offered a job in his firm saying it might not be up to my standards but the pay was good. I thanked him profusely. He said they had money but no child for a long time before their daughter came along and made them realize that love and not money is important in the world. They dropped me by a fork in the road saying the bus stand is right ahead and they had to take that turn.
I thanked them and started walking thinking of what gift to buy for my daughter. Suddenly from behind a tree jumped a man with a knife. He asked for my wallet, watch and chain. Today I was in no mood to take on this vagrant, even otherwise I don’t think I am man enough, to take him on, hell I was not even the man in my family. Seeing me hesitate, he also hesitated, then with a resolve shouted, “if you don’t give it I will kill you, its for my daughter man, tomorrow’s her birthday, I got no money to get her anything man, just give some money, you keep the wallet and chain”
At that moment a police patrol Jeep passing, stopped seeing us. The guy in fear grabbed me and held the knife to my neck. But he was such an amateur that he gave them a clear shot and the officer took it. After checking they pronounced him dead. They escorted me to the bus stand and helped me board the bus.
On reaching my hometown, I was in a real rush as I was already very late and forgot to get any gift. I realized it only as I was pressing the doorbell of my house. The door opened and standing in the doorway was my wife and behind her my daughter. My wife glared at me and started a tirade on how I was late and had come without a gift. My wife was scolding thus, but I don’t know what came over me, I hugged her, then my daughter and started crying. At that moment I realized that the greatest gift I can give my wife and daughter was being alive and being with them.