I Feel Alive Again
A Long Lonely Christmas
“I love you, see you in three hours darling” was the message in the voice mail of Patrick and he had rewound and played it for the umptieth number of time. It was Christmas morning but for Patrick it was the saddest morning of his life. The voice message was sent by Anne when she had called from the airport to tell Patrick as to how much she was missing him and how much she loved him and will be meeting him in just three hours time. It was very rare for them to be away from each other during the holiday season.
They had been married for almost eight years now and had never celebrated Christmas alone. But there are exceptions to each and every rule. And unfortunately the exception came this year. Patrick had a last minute board meeting which could not be cancelled. His boss was expecting him to be in office for this meeting which was supposed to be held just one day before Christmas. He had promised Patrick that this meeting will be a life changing event for him and he would be happy that he had attended it.
Patrick had no choice left but to cancel his Christmas plans and stay back. Anne was not very happy with this decision and also wanted to cancell her ticket but Patrick did not want her to spoil her vacation plans for him. And that was the first time Anne and Patrick had a fight. Anne was totally against the trip and Patrick was in no mood to spoil the Christmas plans. She had planned to spend this Christmas with her parents and her parents were looking forward to her visit. He did not want her parents to wait for one whole year to celebrate Christmas with their only daughter. Her last words were still ringing on his ears,” Patrick. You are the best. I am very lucky that I chose you as my husband”. And she had given her beautiful smile and hugged him tight. In the airport she caught hold of his hand for one last time and asked “ are you sure about me going alone?” Patrick just hugged her and kissed her cheek. He could not say anything to her as he knew that it was going to be equally tough for him.
After dropping his wife at the airport Patrick decided to go to office directly as he knew that the empty house will be killing him and it would be tough for him to spend those few hours all alone in the house. On his way to the office he stopped in a Burger King and ordered a chicken burger and Pepsi from the drive in to make sure that he does not feel hungry in case the meeting goes more than the expected hours. The drive to the office was smooth as there was hardly any traffic. He actually enjoyed the drive as he was able to enjoy his favorite chicken burger and Pepsi and his favorite morning chat show in the radio. He reached around an hour before the stipulated time of the meeting and as expected the office bore a deserted look. Patrick took out his laptop and thought of utilizing this time to work on his mails and a few reports that were pending from his side. He thought that if he drowned himself in his work then it would be easier for him to pass through the day. It was difficult for him to start as although he was physically present in the office mentally he was with Anne and was thinking about Anne. But slowly his interest in work started gaining momentum and he got engrossed in his work.
A phone call from his boss made him realise that it was time for the meeting. He took his laptop and joined the conference room. What he saw actually surprised him. He was expecting only a few people to be a part of this meeting but contrary to his thought it was a full house. All the whos who of the company were present in the meeting and were smiling ear to ear. “What can be more exciting than a Christmas holiday”? was the thought that was going around in his head when he entered the room. As expected the meeting started with the complimentary introduction of the board members and achievements of the company. Different graphs and charts and presentations were shown to prove the company’s achievements over the year. Patrick tried his best to stay enthusiastic all through the session, but he could hardly understand the reason for him being present in the meeting. The first half of the meeting got completed and Patrick thanked his stars that he managed to keep himself awake and he felt that it was a great achievement in itself. During the coffee break his boss called him and introduced him to the other board members. They were very enthusiastic to meet him and were showing a very special interest in him. Patrick had no clue as to what was going on but he planned to go with the flow. The last thing he wanted was his boss to feel offended. The coffee break ended and all the people rejoined the conference room to continue with their meeting.
Something to Cheer up At Last
As Ptrick was preparing himself for the second round of the same stuff something unusual happened. His boss called him to the stage and asked Patrick to join him. Patrick was not at all prepared for this turn of events. He joined his boss and even before he could set himself up for the big occasion of standing on the stage near the big guns of the company something strange happened. He was announced the CTO of their company. Patrick almost chocked and skipped a beat. Was he dreaming or was it really happening? Yes he had worked very hard to take the company to the next level but he had never imagined to reap the benefits of his hard work so fast. He turned towards his boss and heard him whisper” didn’t I tell you that you will be happy that you attended this meeting?” There were claps all around he was greeted with a round of applause as the new CTO of iTablets. Just then there was a buzz on his phone and he knew that Anne had messaged him to tell that she reached Dallas safely. He was dying to share this great news with her but knew that he had to wait for a few more hours before he could do so.
Patrick’s boss was right, his life was going to change from now on. He was able to visualize his long lost dreams getting fulfilled now. It was not that he had to live in a shoestring budget or have a hand to mouth existance up till now. He was able to fulfill the physiological, and safety needs of his family but was somewhere in the middle when it came to the self esteem level. He owned a Honda Civic but wanted a Lexus. He owned an apartment but wanted to own a condo. Now he was able to see his dreams coming true. Suddenly the most boring meeting became the most interesting meeting for Patrick as was a part of the big league.
He was happy that the day which started with sadness became very interesting by the afternoon. He was desperately waiting to reach home so that he could share this wonderful news with his wife. But that would have to wait as his boss wanted him to have lunch with him as he wanted to discuss the future plans with him. He could not say no to his boss and he joined him for lunch in Hilton. A table was already reserved for them and they were welcomed with a drink each. They discussed everything about the business and the future plans of the company and where they plan to go in the next five years time. Patrick was seeing a dream in his boss’s eyes and he could see that he will be playing a big role in fulfilling that dream. He was both excited and tensed. He was expected to take up a bigger role in the office and although the perquisites attached to this roles were higher he knew that the road ahead will not be an easy one. He will have to face many challenges and road blocks and there will be no room for complacency. There will not be any second chances and he will have to be successful fromteh word go. There will not be any honeymoon period for him and the smallest mistakes could prove to be the most fatal mistake of his life. So he has to put his heart and soul on this new job. But he was ready for the challenge. He knew that with a little bit of hard work he will be able to succeed. He had been presented with various challenges in life and more often than not he has been able to end up o the winning side.
It was an extended lunch session and Patrick had expected it to be the same as he knew that there will be changes in the work life balance that he was so proud to have maintained till now. He was making a mental note of all the points hat he was going to discuss with Anne tonight. This was the best Christmas present he could have thought of getting this year and maybe for a long time to come. At last the lunch got over and it was time for him to spend some quality time with his wife.
Christmas Could not Have been Better
He drove back as fast as possible and luckily the road was empty and he was able to reach home in twenty minutes. As soon as he reached home the first thing he did was call the love of his life. He was desperate to share the most important thing in his life with the love of his life. It was as if Anne was desperately waiting for his call. Even before the first ring ended she picked up the phone. Her voice was enough to draw out any fatigue that was there for Patrick. His voice had an excitement of a five year old child. He shared the whole event of the day with Anne and told her about the big news. She gave him a patient hearing and once Patrick finished she said “ I am missing you a lot” and started crying. “ Do you know that I have not talked to you for the whole day? Can I come back please?”
“I love you a lot and i am missing you too”, said Patrick. “ But how do you plan to come back? All the flights are booked.” “No there is a special flight from Dallas to Charlotte which still has a few seats left and they are selling it off at a discounted rate. If I catch the 2 AM flight then I will be with you on the morning of Christmas baby.” The offer was too tempting to resist. But there are some decisions which are made too suddenly without thinking about the consequences of those decisions. Patrick did not want to take any decisions which might spoil someone’s Christmas. He decided to talk to her parents and when they said that they are also planning to join her and instead of celebrating Christmas in Dallas they were planning to celebrate with him then it did not take him long to say yes. But he was worried whether it would be too late to book the ticket on the eleventh hour of the day. That is when Anne gave him the surprise of the day. She had already booked the tickets and was waiting for him to agree to her plans. He could not stop from being proud of his wife. He was happy that he had married a lady who loved him so much. He saw the watch and the time was showing 11 PM so he had exactly 6 hours in hand to do the basic preparations.
He immediately drove to Nona’s Sweets. He knew that Anne loved the cakes prepared in Nona’s and he wanted to celebrate this very special Christmas by presenting her with a cake of her choice made in her favorite bakery. He could not ave dreamt of a better Christmas than this. It was as if Santa was making all his wishes come true. He got promoted today and he will not be celebrating Christmas alone. He was the happiest man in the world. He rushed to the bakery praying to God that his wife’s favourite plum cake should be available. He could not believe his luck as he found that they had that special cake with them. He got it packed and while driving back home he made it a point to buy some champagne and a special present for Anne. He got the present gift wrapped and kept it beneath the pillow in his bedroom. He did a bit of cleaning around the house and by the time he completed everything it was around 4 in the morning. He knew that the plan will be landing at around 5 and by the time they came out of the airport it should be around 6. Airport was just a twenty minutes drive from his house so he could afford to take a quick nap before he started. It was a long and exciting day and Patrick was feeling a bit tired. He sat on his favorite couch and within no time went to sleep.
A Sad End to A wonderful Christmas?
He probably overslept and a sharp ring woke him up. He woke up thinking that it was his alarm clock but it was his phone that was constantly ringing. He saw the watch and it was 8 in the morning. He was startled to see that he had overslept and was hurrying to get ready as he knew that Anne would be desperately trying to call him to come to the airport to pick her and her parents. So while getting ready he picked up the phone trying to think of an excuse for the delay. But instead of Anne he heard of a male voice. It was from Charlotte Mecklenburg Airport. All types of negative thoughts started running in his mind. Being a practical person, Patrick started preparing himself for the worst.
His fear came true. The plane in which his wife and her parents were coming, had collided midair with another plane and there were no survivors. Patrick suddenly felt weak on his knees. He kept the phone on the cradle and sat on the ground. The day had begun well but as there is a famous saying, well begun is half done. It was definitely not going to end well. Infact this will be the worst day of his life. Patrick did not know what to do. He was sitting quietly in his chair still not being able to believe what he had heard. He switched on the TV and all the channels showed the same news of the deadly crash. Now he had to believe it. His world had suddenly ended. He was all alone. That is when he saw the voice message light blink in his phone and when he ran the message in the hope of hearing the news of Anne missing the flight he heard “I love you, see you in three hours darling”. And he was playing the same message repeatedly. The cake was in the table and the present was in the bed. The house was perfectly decorated for Christmas but the atmosphere was sad.
Hours passed by and Patrick was sitting on his couch not knowing what to do. He then slowly got up from his chair and decided to go to the church. He wanted to spend some time in the abode of god. He knew that the church will be empty and people will be celebrating Christmas in their houses. He went to the church and sat there silently. Hours were passing by but there was no urgency for Patrick. No one was waiting for him in the house. At around 7 in the evening his mobile rang. He was not in the mood of picking up the phone. So he let it ring. But the persistant caller went on calling. The last thing that Patrick wanted is to talk to someone so he switched his mobile off. After spending a few hours in the church Patrick decided to go for a long drive. He wanted to be as far as possible from the place which would remind him of his Anne. So he drove a few miles till concord then suddenly something struck him and he turned took the bylane which leads to his house. He came home and as soon as he switched on the lights he heard the shouts of “Merry Christmas” coming from his house and saw Anne running towards him and hugging him. Her parents were standing near the dining table smiling. Patrick could not believe what he was seeing. He took Anne’s face on his hands and could not stop himself from kissing her.
When they settled down on the sofa then Anne told her how they missed the flight by a few minutes and then decided to take the next flight which got delayed due to the terrible accident. Patrick could not believe his luck. He had seen the best of the times and the worst of the times in the same day. He held her tight and told her “ I am alive again”.