Determination – Part 7
By Thiyam Ningol Dr. Nalini
He drove for two hours looking for Grace Restaurant. Arnold had not given him any hint of the location. His frustration and anxiety increased. It was already 4 P.M. The streets had become less noisy and deserted. He decided to come back home.
The children greeted him but he did not hear them. Lucy had gone out for marketing. He went to the bedroom straight and told the children not to disturb him.
When Lucy came back, the children told her that their father was angry. Alex heard them. He did not like his past mistakes to become a cause of unhappiness to his children.
“Who said I was angry? I was just tired. I wanted a little rest before we all go out for dinner at Boabab village”.
The two girls jumped on their father, one in front and the other on the back. Alex did the monkey dance with the two children hanging on him.
In the Boabab village restaurant, the children were more interested in the games; the swings and slides.
The younger girl complained to the father that her elder sister had refused to push her in the swing. She wanted Alex to come and push her.
“Papa, push me higher like Arnold kaka.”
Alex had purposely come with his family to forget Arnold. He miscalculated the impressions left by Arnold in his family.
Vicky, the 5 years old elder girl had brought up the name again.
- Papa, when is Arnold kaka coming back?”
Lucy noticed Alex did not like Arnold’s name to be mentioned. He was not playing with the children freely on that day.
She distracted the children and Alex from the playground, asked them to sit on the table and wait for the food.
Food arrived; everybody was busy munching the roasted chicken. Vicky and her younger sister Rosy were to share one plate. Each one of them fought for the chicken thigh.
- It is my turn today, last time you got the leg when we went with Arnold kaka to eat at his mother’s hotel. You remember? Arnold kaka told us to do everything in turn”- Vicky was trying to justify her demand.
Silently without argument Rosy handed over the chicken leg to her elder sister.
Thank God, so she is alive- Alex prayed silently.
Alex was very impressed. Within that short time Arnold had managed to teach discipline to the children.
- Papa, when is Arnold kaka coming back”-Vicky repeated the question.
- Vicky, you did not tell us that Arnold took you to the hotel, Lucy quarried.
- We went there many times, Rosy answered.
- So, it seems there are many secrets with you and Arnold together, isn’t there?-Lucy continued asking the children.
- I love Arnold kaka.
- I also love him. Papa, when is Arnold kaka coming back?
- He is not coming back. He has gone for studies.
Lucy was surprised.
- How did you know?
Alex did not like to continue the dialogue anymore. He had to cut it short for the benefit of the family.
- That envelope you gave me in the morning contains his certificates and letter for his scholarship to study in Australia. Don’t ask me why he came to work in our house. When I find it out I will tell you.
- Topic closed. Let’s go home.
Alex had managed to stop from more questions but he could not control thinking about Arnold. He could not stop either the thousand questions popping up in Lucy’s mind. He could not know either the decision Lucy had made- a decision to find out about Arnold.
From that day life became uncomfortable and more artificial in the house. Lucy was by nature a fighter and argumentative. She would not give in easily without arguing. But of late, she obeyed Alex’s requests and orders without arguments, without fights. Alex knew the reason of the changes but he did not know the depth of the impacts.
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