Thursday, 2 January 2014

Sam’s Dilemma

by Arun Gopal

There were only a few times in his life that he did not know what to do. This was one such time. A smile crossed his lips. He wasn’t quite sure of what it meant. Was he happy?, was he nervous?, or was there a third option, perhaps an emotion that he hadn’t considered. He was sure of one thing though, today was his and nobody could take it away from him. The neighborhood was as he expected. The lanes were narrow, there was garbage everywhere and the whole place reeked of blood and vomit. But there was this one house that stood out from the rest of the neighborhood. 

The house looked clean and had a beautiful, small garden in the front. It was like a beacon of hope for this pathetic excuse for a housing colony. He was parked in front of that house. The surroundings did not bother him for he had seen worse. It was every boy for himself in the orphanage. He had to survive through drugs, pedophiles and crime. By the age of twelve he was braving the selfish merciless ways of the world. He often dreamt of this day. It gave him courage and most importantly an excuse to life. Twenty years and a significant number of millions in his bank later, he was here. Again, he wasn’t sure what to do. He decided to leave the cozy confines of his car and walked towards the front door. 
The door stared back at him as if questioning him of his next move. He decided to ring the bell. An old man in his late fifties answered the door. He had a kind face but it was his bright

green eyes that caught the visitor’s attention. “Are you Mr Pinto?”, his voice was faint. “Yes”, Mr Pinto replied, his eyes begging for more clarity. “I am Sam and umm...I...”, his mind was in a turmoil. He cleared his throat. “You are my father. I am the son that you threw away in a garbage dumpster thirty two years ago. I am here to tell you that I have lived. I wish you would think about what you did and suffer for what you have done to me.” But clearing his throat was all he did.

“Why don’t you come in”, Mr Pinto asked kindly, “Its cold outside”. The house was a one bedroom affair. It was neatly arranged and had photos of a twelve year old boy on a wheelchair everywhere. Mr Pinto bought Sam some tea. “Is this your son” asked Sam. “ Ahh Yes! That’s Mike, Are you here to check up on him?” “Why do you say that?”, Sam was curious. “ Because we don’t have many ‘suits’ come here. Only the government folks wear suits like yours.” There was significant difference in quality between Sam’s suit and the one’s the government officials wore, but this was hardly the time to bring it up. “Mike is much better now. He eats on his own and the money that you give us goes towards his medicines and school. I don’t take any of it. I feed him, bathe him and make sure that he has everything he needs. Ever since Dorothy, my wife passed away, he has been my world.”, Mr Pinto stopped to catch a breath and looked closely at Sam. “Do you have any other children ?” Sam asked. “Oh no, just the one” Mr Pinto smiled. “Sir, this is important. Do you have any other children?”, Sam paused, “perhaps out of wedlock?”. Mr Pinto said nothing. He stared into Sam’s green eyes trying hard to think. “Those eyes? they remind me of someone...”, his voice trailed off. “Do I know you?”

The moment of truth. Now would be the time to vent out all his feelings towards the one half of a reason for Sam’s existence. “No, you don’t.” Sam did not want a father. He had no love or attachment towards the idea. He was a self made man. Emotions were for the weak. Life treated him hard and now he treats back life such. He had found the man responsible. He merely wanted to meet him and then walk away victorious. He felt perturbed though. The love Mr Pinto had for Mike really surprised him. They had nothing, yet Sam got this feeling that Mr Pinto was the happiest person around. Sam was not happy. After this meeting, he did not have anything in his life to look forward to. This was really unexpected. Sam rose to leave. Mr Pinto was still confused. Sam too was lost in his thoughts. The door shut quietly upon his exit. It was drizzling now. The door shutting behind him meant something. The door was the only barrier between a lonely existence and his last chance to have a real family. Mr Pinto opened the door to incessant knocking. “Mr Pinto”,Sam was breathless, “ I have something to tell you!”

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