Determination – Part 15
By Thiyam Ningol Dr. Nalini
Grace decided to keep their mother-son relation intact with Arnold. She continued phoning and giving advice as before. She avoided mentioning about Alex and his family.
Lucy had visited Grace several times, sometimes with the children. Grace maintained her status. She treated Lucy the same as before. Her love for the children were not faltered. She was not sure if Lucy had the same feelings towards her.
One day very unexpectedly Lucy asked her:
-You two are seeing each other?
-Lucy, please try to understand me. He is your husband. We were never friends or acquaintances. I do not intend to change my way of life.
-Even for Arnold’s sake?
-We are not enemies. I cannot stop them from being together.
One year had passed since Arnold left. As his mother advised, he agreed to stay in Australia during the summer holidays and get a temporary job. He got a job in a restaurant. While he was schooling, during the holidays, he used to help his mother to roll the chapattis and he quite liked it.
The cooks of the restaurant where he got the job, teased him to offer some African cuisine and he wanted to test his old skill of chapattis. It turned out perfect. His colleagues liked it and later it became a popular menu item of the restaurant. Grace was very proud to hear about it.
Lucy had not stopped nagging Grace.
-Grace I want my old husband back, the husband who was cheerful, caring and understanding. These days Alex comes home late, sometimes drunk. The children have started noticing the change in him. I request you to meet him at least once and see if you can become friends at least. I feel he is tormenting himself for being irresponsible to Arnold and you. Indirectly it is affecting all of us. Why can’t we try to be a family together?
Grace realized the truth in what Lucy was saying. She was not sure whether she would be able to control herself when they meet. One had to take up a starting step and she knew Alex was not the type to take the first step.
Grace restaurant was turning 10 years exactly since it was first opened. Grace took this opportunity and invited some friends including Alex for a dinner party. Alex was reluctant to come. John had to drag him along. Lucy declined Grace’s invitation.
Grace looked elegant and stunningly charming. All her friends either shook hands or gave a light hug. John gave her a big hug as usual and patted her. Nobody except the satellite noticed the light kiss Grace gave Alex. Everybody’s eyes were on Grace and John’s eyes were on Alex. He noticed Alex had become relaxed and started enjoying the atmosphere.
-John, I wasn’t really prepared for this. I think I need a Champaign bottle to toss. Can you please get one now- Alex requested John.
John was happy to do anything to make the two of them compromise. Within 10 minutes, he came back with 2 bottles of Champaign. John took permission from Grace and announced his happiness to congratulate Grace on her success. He and Alex opened each bottle, filled the tumblers for each one present and tossed with everybody and celebrated the long awaited moment.
While everyone was preparing to leave, Alex approached Grace and apologized to her for not being there for her and Arnold when they needed him most. Grace wanted to tell him not to because the fault was hers as she did not inform him about her pregnancy and he had no way of knowing about it, but she could not utter a single word. She remained motionless with her wet eyes staring at him.
Her manager rescued her. He announced the closure of the function, thanked everybody and requested to leave.
When Alex came home, he looked different. He did not smell of alcohol. He was cheerful. As usual he said good night to the children and came to the kitchen to help Lucy. Lucy realized immediately he had spoken to Grace. He had unloaded the burden he was carrying in his heart. They prayed together that night.
Lucy had accepted her position. As Grace pointed out, she was the wife of Alex and Grace would remain as the other lady in Alex’s life. She did not consider Grace as a challenge. She was rather thankful that the other lady turned out to be Grace whom she still adored and their son, Arnold who had proved to be well groomed by the mother.
Lucy’s efforts to make the two families unite together were proving successful.
Arnold had successfully completed his university. He was coming back home with the degree he promised to his mother and Alex.
At the airport, when he saw the most unexpected scene, he felt his dream fulfilled.
He had engraved that picture as the most prestigious, everlasting portrait in his mind –a portrait where Alex stood in the middle, Grace on his right side and Lucy on the left; the two girls standing in front of their father-all waving at him frantically gesturing their warm welcome of the homecoming Arnold.
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