Once upon a time, there lived a happy family, Mom- Dad, and their son. They loved him more than their lives. Dad was his son’s best friend and hero. Everyday dad drove his son to school, mom picks him up. Every evening he played outdoor games with his dad. His dad was a champion tennis player and swimmer, it was clear that he got his games trait from his dad and singing ability from his mom. He always waited the entire year for the month of June, summer vacation time for him and dad, as well as his birthday month. He loved to spend time with his family especially with his dad, who tells him so many new stories, plays with him, cheer him up in his all sports tournaments, goes for horse riding and swimming with him.
It was a big and important day for the dad, his son’s 7th birthday. He was doing all the preparations from past one month, for his son’s big day. Mom was smiling and thinking that her husband has been overtaken by a Father of their beloved son. It was around 4:00 pm, dad received a call from bakery shop “Sir, your cake is ready and you can pick it up now.”
Dad replied in excited tone “Thank you, I am on my way, keep it ready please.”
He was about to leave when his son asked “How long will you take? My friends can be here any moment.”
He smiled and said in assuring tone to his son “Do not worry son. I will be back on time. PROMISE.”
He kissed his son and left. He never knew that for the last time he has hugged and kissed his son. Son is still waiting for his dad as he promised to be back.
I am still waiting for my father to fulfill his promise. Time flies but not for me, I was counting every bit of passing time. 30 years have passed, my son is 7 years old now, and we share June birthday. I have tried my best to nurture him in the same way, my father does. It was a beautiful sunny day and special day for us as it was our son’s birthday. For my son, it was the special day because his dad shares this day with him. For my son, I always had tried to forget my grievance related to my birthday.
We were giving final touch for super-heroes party theme, and I received a call “Mr. Thomas, both the birthday cakes are ready. Please send someone to collect it from our shop. Thank you.”
I chuckled like a 7-year-old boy and said to my son “Hurray! Cakes are ready and I am going to collect them from the shop.”
Something struck my son and he said in low tone “Please come back on time.” I was surprised by the sudden change in his demeanor.
I pulled him close and asked in soft voice “What had happened to my tiger? Why are you sounding so tense and disturbed? What’s bothering you? Please share it with me.”
He saw in my eyes, his eyes were filled with tears and said: “Please, do keep your promise and come back.” I hugged him tightly, realized that his pain is not, much less than mine.
I checked the timing, it was 4:30 pm, and I had placed both the cakes in my truck with the help of one of the boys at the shop. I gave him $10 as a tip and said: “Thank you, dude.” He smiled and left. I opened my driver’s seat gate and with a loud noise of collision, everything turned black.
When I came back to my senses, I saw myself in a big room, full of white lights, surrounded by blurred images of people. I tried to get up from my bed but stumbled. Two hands held me strongly before I hit the floor. I tried to see his face but the image was blurred, I was trying to concentrate on his face to get a clear image. After much effort, when that image got cleared, my eyes were blurry due to tears. The person standing in front of me was my father, and he looks much younger than his real age as per present date.
I asked in overexcited tone “Dad, how come you are here? I mean are you for real?
He said “This is my home. We are at God’s place, my child.”
I was astounded and screamed at the loudest pitch of my vocal chords “No! I know it’s a dream and it will get over very soon.”
He said in his calm and composed voice “I am sorry, son. But we have to accept the only and eternal truth of life. We are dead and at home now.”
My voice raised a little “No! You are lying. Are you trying to tell me that I am dead? That’s not possible. I have promised my son that I will come back home on time.” I felt that he was startled by this sentence.
“I am sorry, son; I failed to fulfill my promise.” He said in the mournful voice.
Tears were rolling down on his cheeks. He wiped his tears with his snow-white robe’s flared sleeve, suddenly his face expression turned from a childlike to a determined man, and he said to the divine source facing upward “This time promise will be fulfilled. Otherwise, people will believe that ‘Promises’ has no value as they tend to be broken. We cannot let this happen, as ‘Promise’ is a divine pledge between two souls and hearts.” We both were bathed with a golden light, and it blacked out.
I came back to my senses and found myself surrounded with wrecked cars, noise, chaos, and people in white and black dresses. “He is alive,” said someone from the rescue team, doctor joined him and started examining me.
I regained full consciousness by that time and heard “Congratulations! You are a lucky man, absolutely fine with no injuries. You can go home but get yourself fully examined by your doctor.”
“Thank you” I smiled and looked towards the sky. I came to check my wrecked car, and collect my belongings if left any. As expected my son’s birthday cake was all over my car, but to my surprise, my small birthday cake remained unaffected by this collision. I carefully took it out and opened the case and burst into tears “HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY SON.”
I reached home; my son ran towards me and hugged me “Oh Daddy! You didn’t break your promise. You are back.” I turned around and saw my dad’s smiling photo. He is home too.
– Nidhi GS (Gratitude)
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