The Christmas Present. Flash Fiction by Manatita
“O Forgiver of all my shortcomings,
A new hope is being born in my heart.
I shall cry from today on
To grow into Perfection’s beauty-delight." -Sri Chinmoy.
It was in the early hours of the morning, 0200 hrs to be precise, when the call came. Shaynani was in bed and fast asleep, when the loud ringing of his home telephone resonated through his ears, and awakened his consciousness. Stretching out his hand to the mantelpiece, he picked up the phone and in his sleepy voice said:
The desperate request from the woman at the end of the line, made him sit bolt upright, as he remembered her.
“Can I see you now?” She said earnestly.
Shaynani paused, and life began to take shape in his still foggy mind. It had been eight years since she left. The two girls were now 12, and doing well at school. Shaynani had tried as hard as any man could to bring up his kids, and by all appearances, they were now doing excellently. They were both kind, courteous, loving, and had done extremely well at school. Both had passed their eleven plus with flying colours, and both were in private school. Life was a struggle, yes, but with God’s most kind benevolence, somehow he had managed.
Ramona was sometimes prone to coming home late, and being the good husband that he was, Shaynani had never questioned her. His parents were a benchmark for decency, and had taught him well. He had learnt to believe; to have Faith in God; to serve humanity in need; to recognise that each Soul has its own troubles, and that its thought turns largely upon itself.
Shaynani remembered vividly the day that Ramona left. Somehow his parents teachings were of little comfort to him then. He recalled the letter that she had left beneath the pillow; how she had found better pastures and was taking her leave. She trusted him to look after the children, she said, and Shaynani did not hear a thing until six years later. By then she had gone through two husbands, as well as some broken relationships, and life was hard.
All these thoughts flashed through Shaynani’s mind in seconds, as the tears flowed copiously from his eyes.
“Yes.” Whispered Shaynani, for fear of awaking the kids. “Where are you?”
“I’ll be at your door in ten minutes, Ramona said softly.”
And so she came. Innebriated, dishevelled, a can of Carlsberg in her right hand and an unsteady swagger, she looked like she had not seen a beautician for quite some time. Yet Shaynani remembered his wife, and could see that beneath the shadows, she was still extremely beautiful.
“Hi!” She said, half-drunkenly and half embarrassed.
“Hi!” Replied Shaynani.
Summoning all her strength, and with some level of insecurity, Ramona threw the can across the street and said strangely. “How has it been?”
How has it been? Shaynani bent his head in the darkness, hoping that the woman he once loved did not see the precious drops falling from his lids.
“Fine.” He replied.
As if feeling a mixture of guilt and loneliness, Ramona turned away slowly and said.
“I’m leaving now. Please call me tomorrow.”
“Shall I call a taxi? “ Said Shaynani.
“What is your address?” And she gave it to him.
Shaynani called the taxi, and watched as she staggered into the car. Turning around, he closed the door and immediately began to cry for the woman whom he loved and gave so much. That night he could not sleep, as Ramona entered his heart between every reverie that he had, and shared his bedding.
A Forgiveness Song
Early next morning, once the children had breakfast, he told them that he had seen their mom, and would take them to visit her. Half an hour later, he was standing at the door of her Hotel with the two twins, and asking to see his wife Ramona. She came to the door, and looked at him with longing in her Heart, as her eyes lit up, upon seeing her two beautiful children. Ramona cried, and Shaynani openly cried also. “Would you like to come home?” He said.
Ramona felt a joy and a peace in her Heart, which had eluded her for many years. Smiling and jumping jubilantly, she kissed and hugged Shaynani so hard that he almost fell over. Rushing upstairs, she was down within two minutes, with the only possession she now had: One suitcase.
Putting her arms around her husband, she said sweetly: “I’m coming home, my darling. I’m coming home.”
It was a Christmas evening, as Heaven cascaded roses, and both their tears became golden carpets, upon which they walked lovingly home. Silently, the children followed in sweet fidelity, to both sources of their birth.
It was a serene and magnificently beautiful Sunday morning two weeks later, when they were re-united in marriage joyfully, for the second time.
“The age-old discovery --
Forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness –
Is the only way
To real Happiness. –Sri Chinmoy.
“In whom we have redemption through His blood.
The forgiveness of sins,
According to the riches of His Grace.” _ Ephesians 1: 7
-Manatita, The Lantern Carrier. ©Copyrighted. 13th December, 2015.
~Awakening The Inner Light ~
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