Tribulations of a Guilty Father Short Story
by Rehana Ferdinando
Mr. and Mrs. Somapala are lamenting over their son’s demise. “Son, what did you do to yourself?” cried Mr. Somapala, looking at his Son’s corpse.
It was 12 noon Saturday when Mr. Somapala found his son lying flat in the garden facing the sky with a bottle of kerosin in his hand. Mr. Somapala who could not believe this sight, cried out to his wife who was cooking in the kitchen. They carried their son and rushed him to the nearest hospital. A trishaw parked by the road side drove the three to hospital.
Chamath was immediately admitted to the ICU; where his condition was examined. “Doctor please do something to save our son”, cried Mrs. Somapala. The doctor very patiently comforted her and went inside the unit. Mr. and Mrs.Somapala cried desperately and awaited the doctor’s return. The moment he came
out, Mrs. Somapala ran towards him, “Doctor, can our son survive?” “Take a seat”, said the doctor. “Chamath’s chance of surviving is uncertain. However, we will do our best”. Hearing this, Mr and Mrs Somapala pleaded to their God for a miracle.
The doctor consoled them both and handed over a letter which he had found inside Chamath’s pocket. The letter said “Dear Chithra, I know I quarreled with you this morning. I don’t know what to do with myself.” Having read this Mrs. Somapala ran to Chithra’s home. Chamath and Chithra have been in a relationship with each other since they met at the university a year ago. When Chamath’s mother reached Chithra’s home, Chithra was out in the garden planting a tree. Mrs. Somapala with tears in her eyes disclosed the sad news to her intended daughter-in-law. Chithra was stunned. She couldn’t endure what she just heard; so she fell to the ground weeping. No one was able to control her loud cry. Her parents were terrified as they heard the suicide attempt made by Chamath. They quickly raised their daughter back to her feet and rushed her to see Chamath.
As they reached the hospital, they saw Mr. Somapala lying motionless on a couch next to the Emergency Care enit. “I want to see my boyfriend”, said Chithra to the doctor. So she was allowed inside the ICU;. She couldn’t bear what she saw. She immediately ran out of the unit. “There was no reason for Chamath to have committed suicide. We argued over very minor issues. How can I live without him? Doctor please do something and save his life”, cried Chithra in desperation.
However, Chamath survived in hospital only for two days despite the doctor’s effort. “You are the one who tried to take away your life when things didn’t happen the way you wanted. You were the one who spoke of suicide several times in front of my son. You made him think that suicide is the greatest thing one can do to get away from troubles”, said Mrs. Somapala to her husband.
Mr. Somapala has been a weak character. Whenever, he had minor arguments with Mrs.Somapala, he spoke of suicide. Even though Mrs. Somapala tried her best to prevent him from saying such things in front of their child, he never listened.
The father’s stubbornness and weak character lead Chamath in the wrong direction. Chamath thought running away from life was the only available option at times of trouble.
Malee and the fawn
by Rehana Ferdinando
Somapala and Somalatha awaited the birth of a daughter as their eldest was a son. When Malee was born they were filled with tears of joy. But, this joy did not last long. Two months after Malee’s birth Somapala was knocked down by a truck. This accident made him partially paralysed for nearly five years. Somalatha had to then take the initiative of being the sole breadwinner.
She toiled hard to earn for her husband and two little children who were now dependent solely on her income.
The family lived in a village by the forest. The misfortune that struck the Somapala family turned the villagers against Malee who was then only a toddler. The cruel villages turned away from Malee whenever they saw her. She never understood why the ‘aunts’ and ‘uncles’ in the village never spoke a word to her.
The truth is that the villagers considered Malee as having brought upon misfortune to the family. Malee was five-years-old when Somapala was able to walk again and return to his job. It was only then that Somalatha was able to stay home once again to care for her two children.
Every morning during the school holidays Malee and Sanu used to run to the forest to catch butterflies. Malee was a mischievous child now. One sunny morning Malee ran to the forest before her brother. Sanu left to the forest a few minutes later and was unable to locate Malee. So, he ran home to tell his mother that Malee was nowhere to be seen.
Hearing this Somalatha ran to the paddy field to call her husband. All three of them walked along the forest in search of Malee.Suddenly, Somalatha caught a glimpse of her daughter. She began to run towards Malee. Her husband and son followed her.
As they reached closer, they saw Malee pouring water to a dying fawn with a coconut shell in her hand. They ran to Malee and fell by her side. They too were shocked to see their four-legged friend lying on the ground with its eyes half opened. “Mother, our friend is dying, I just couldn’t leave it. See the way it’s breathing today.
I stayed by its side to give water”, said Malee to her mother. “We can’t let him die. We have to save him. Let’s go and call the Wild Life Department”, said Somapala. Leaving the fawn, they quickly ran out of the forest and disclosed the sad news to the villagers. The villagers informed the Wild Life Department who immediately rushed to the forest to attend to the fawn.“We cannot let this fawn die”, cried the villagers. “He would have been attacked by another animal last night.
If not for this child we wouldn’t have found the fawn lying here this morning”, said one villager to Somapala, who was now carrying Malee in his arms. All the veterinary surgeons were grateful to Malee.
They carried the fawn carefully and took it away. After a week an officer from the Wild Life Department visited the village and informed the villagers that the deer will return to the forest very soon.“The drops of water you have given the deer helped us save its life”, the officer said to Malee. Malee was happy to hear that; the villagers too were extremely grateful to Malee.
This fortunate incident softened the hearts of the cruel villagers who once considered the little girl as having brought misfortune to the family.
Greedy Gertrude and Stubborn Tim
by Rehana Ferdinando
“Fanny, you have to marry Tim. He is rich. He will look after you very well,” said Gertrude to her daughter. “Mama, but he is stubborn. You know he never had his father’s love. Everyone just hates him,” replied Fanny. “Well, if you don’t marry him I will not talk to you again. And I will not write anything in your name,” answered Gertrude vehemently.
Fearing the loss of her mother’s love and the loss of her possessions, Fanny decided to marry Tim. Tim’s father was an alcoholic who spent much time at casinos and pubs. He seldom had time for Tim and his mother. So, Tim grew up to be a disobedient boy. Fanny married Tim in the early 1990’s and lived in a wealth of comfort with their little daughter Rosy. The ball rolled from Gertrude to Fanny. Now, money became Fanny’s only means of measuring people. Fanny began to move with the high society.
Rosy was 10-years-old when everything changed in her life. “Madam, your husband has been very naughty
these days. He is right now sipping coffee and flirting with another lady at the Minutes Coffee Stop,” said an unknown caller who rang up Fanny one evening. Fanny at first did not believe it. But, the calls continued. So, one day she decided to go to the Minutes Coffee Stop herself. As Fanny stepped into the Coffee shop she caught her husband red handed. Fanny’s world collapsed in front of her eyes. Her smart, rich and handsome husband was now flirting with another. Endless tears began pouring down her eyes. She couldn’t believe her eyes. She became a green-eyed monster when she saw her husband flirting with another. She recalled memories of that red letter day in 1990.
Guilty Tim admitted his weakness and pleaded forgiveness. Fanny was perplexed. Should I divorce him? Or should I forgive him and accept him back to my life for Rosy’s sake, she thought. She decided to go ahead with her second thought. Years went by and Tim did not change. But, Fanny continued to be a good wife hiding her sorrow.
Rosy was now 15-years-old. Clubbing became her sole interest. Fanny tried hard to advice Rosy. But, Rosy asked Fanny to correct her father instead. Rosy’s stubbornness was now overwhelming. Soon, Rosy started a relationship with Mark Gilbert whom she met at the Club on Friday nights. As young as 17, Rosy decided to run away as she knew her mother wouldn’t grant her the consent to have a relationship at such a young age. So Rosy dexterously executed a plan to run away with Mark. One evening as Fanny left to church, Rosy crept from her house. Only a letter did she leave behind for Fanny.
Once Fanny returned home that evening she began to search for Rosy. “Rosy where are you?” asked Fanny, who was now searching for Rosy high and low. Rosy was no where to be found. Fanny’s temper rose at the point of looking for her daughter who was now her sole companion.
Fanny ran up the steps to Rosy’s room, shut the doors, cuddled the pillow and began to weep. She could not control her sobs. As she moved to the corner of the bed she found an envelope. It said, “Mother, I have been in a relationship with Mark. I know you will not approve of this as I am only 17. So, we decided to run away. He says he can look after me.”
The only person Fanny thought would remain in her life was Rosy. But, Rosy too had now forsaken her. Fanny had to go through life without the love of her darling daughter. Hence, Tim’s stubbornness passed on to Rosy.
Who was to be blamed for the misery Fanny went through? Is it Gertrude? Was it Gertrude’s fault to have given Fanny in marriage to Tim because of her greed for wealth? Or was it Tim’s stubborn nature?