The Lantern Carrier: A Short Story by Manatita
“A Mother’s bond is beyond parallel.
Silent; yet strong. Service incomparable.
An inner cry pushes her soulfulness;
Bleeds her heart to the point of sacrifice.
God smiles on Mother’s Love,
Inundating her Soul with matchless Fortitude.” – Manatita.
Shaynani went down on his knees and sobbed intensely. He was frightened, and his body shook with guilt and turmoil.
It was a mad dash from his schools re-union to his mother’s house and then unto hospital, where he had found her on Level 4, in Bay 12, Bed 2, at Frinton Hospital. He was too late.
Shaynani was vaguely aware of the man in the white coat speaking to him in a sombre voice. It was to tell him that his mother had just passed, and to express his sympathy to Shaynani, in an effort to console him and reduce his pain. It didn’t help.
Now helpless, broken and in a penury of darkness, Shaynani lifted up his voice and offered his Soul to God:
“O God! Take me, but spare my mother!” He beseeched, with all his breath.
“Forgive me, for I have sinned. Take me, Lord, but please, please, spare my mother’s life.”
Funny how God can come to us when we have lost capacity. Shaynani had never prayed before. Either he did not care, or did not know how. When I was a child my mother always told me that God answers prayers, and it is quite possible that Shaynani remembered this same meaningful message, in this his hour of need.
Whatever the origin of his prayer, this otherwise immaculately dressed and proud young man, was now on his knees, sorrowful, offering up his life to God, in order that his mother Ramona, could live.
Somewhere between prayer and supplication, Shaynani passed out, and, as if in a dream, began to relieve his past. As a kid growing up and going to school, he hated his mom. For as long as he could remember, she wore a patch over her left eye, and he never knew why. Indeed he was more accustomed to the many teases from his school-friends, who laughed at him, and told him that his mother was very ugly, and had one eye.
Ramona had never complained. She was a loving mom who did her best, always sending him to school; giving him food and shelter, and supplying all his needs. He was her only child. As Shaynani grew older, so did the teasing, which gradually turned to bullying and name-calling, embarrassing poor Shaynani even more.
He began to believe – like his friends – that his mother was in fact very ugly with her eye-patch, and swore to himself to study hard, go to University, get married and vanish from her life. And so he did. Soon after he graduated with honours, Shaynani got himself a nice job and left home without a single goodbye.
One day his mother came home only to find that Shaynani was gone. Wardrobes cleaned out, suitcases missing, and not a note. It nearly broke her heart! Not long afterwards, he got married and started a successful law-firm in an entirely different country, with his new bride.
As time flew by, Shaynani thrived and prospered. Things were going well, and he completely forgot about his mother. Until some years later, that is, when Shaynani got a letter from his former Headmaster, who had found him on line, asking him to come to a school re-union. Shaynani cherished the idea of seeing some of his old friends, and so, armed with a return ticket, he decided to attend the function, to see some of his old acquaintances.
Shaynani was enjoying himself, like most do at all re-unions, when the Headmaster came up to him, and handed him a letter. He opened it and began to read.
“My Dear, Dearer Dearest Son,” it began, “I have always loved you, and I will continue loving you, even in the Land of The Beyond. I pray God that you forgive me for my mistakes, and I pray our Lord to look after you; to grant you prosperity and good health.”
For some unknown reason, Shaynani felt his heart began to soften. After all, his mother had tried, and she was his mum any way. Perhaps it was time to forgive. He continued to read the letter.
“When you were younger, you had a serious accident, and was in a coma in hospital for some time. One of your eyes was damaged, and so I lovingly donated one of mines to save your sight. That is why I have always worn a patch on my left eye. Please forgive me for not telling you this, for I was simply trying to protect you. I was wrong.”
By this time, something was happening in Shaynani’s heart, and he began to cry. Tearful, he approached the Headmaster and said:
“Where is my mother now?
“She’s sick and in hospital.” Came the reply from the Headmaster “Her heart seems broken, and it does not look as though she is going to make it.”
Shaynani put down the letter and dashed out of the school compound. He had never ran as fast as this before, and in a very short while, was at his mother’s house. Finding her missing, he headed to the nearest hospital A&E, gave his mother’s name, and was directed to the very predicament, in which he now found himself.
Shaynani suddenly woke up, or so he thought. There was now a warm and sweet sensation in his heart, and he saw an effulgent silhouette standing in front of him, carrying a strange lamp that glowed with splendour. This luminous Being smiled, flashed the Lantern over Shaynani’s dead mother, and suddenly she awoke and began to smile.
“I am the resurrection and the life,” said the Lantern Carrier. “All those who believe in me and have Faith shall live, though they are dead.” (Paraphrased from the Biblical scriptures) John 11:21.
Shaynani was overcome with joy. With a gladdened heart, he suddenly remembered the words of a passing preacher some years back:
“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18 (KJV)
Shaynani wept, and this time with tears of joy. The Lantern Carrier grew fainter and fainter, and disappeared, as in a cloud. Shaynani found himself back at his mother’s bedside and talking to her, she was alive, with lots of joyful people around her. With a swift and purposeful movement, and like the father rejoicing for the prodigal son, Shaynani embraced his mum tightly. He, too, now rejoiced for his mother’s healing, and swore never to desert her again.
Ten years later, Shaynani’s son Rahim was going to school, when he was hit by a car and lost his left eye. Once again, the Lantern Carrier appeared and Shaynani quickly understood. Like his mother, his prayer was answered with Compassion, and his time had come to make the supreme sacrifice. He did not falter!
-Manatita, The Lantern Carrier. ©Copyrighted 9th October, 2015.
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