The night was broken by the screams of their voices. The cold winter’s wind carried the noise through the streets. “I can come home at whatever time I want. You are nobody to question me. I am a grown man now and I don’t need you. Please just leave me alone”, he yelled back at her. “Son, what is the time? Is this the time to come home? It is 4.15 a.m? You finish work at 10 p.m, where were you?” his mother replied. “That is none of your business.” was his answer. Towering over his voice she yelled “None of my business? How dare you talk to me like that? I am your mother. ” Intoxicated by the alcohol he had consumed earlier, he arrogantly said, “Sometimes I wish you weren’t.” His words pierced his mother’s heart deep and in a fit of rage she voiced, “If you’re going to stay under my roof, you will do as I tell you.” Unintimidated, he stumbled and swayed his way to his bed and slept off his anger.
The next morning, he woke up. As the smell of toasted bread and coffee filled the residence. His ego was still alive from the night before. He looked in the mirror and in his mind he began to murmur “A man of 27 isn’t going to be told what to do.” So he decided to take action. He stormed towards the door with a suitcase and his bag pack. His mother setting up 2 plates at the table asked in curiosity, “Where do you think you’re going? Come here and apologise.” With a smirk on his face, “I’m sorry. I am sorry I had to put up with a mother like you for so long. Goodbye forever! I am going and I hope I never see you again.” The mother disoriented and stung by his words, dropped the butter knife from her hand and rushed out the open door. She tried to grab hold of his bag as he got into his car, but he just pushed her away. A deep mother’s cry from the heart resounded through the neighbourhood, “Son, please don’t do go. Come back. Please!!! Plllleaaseee!!!.” she begged. Her humble plea was drowned by the sound of his car’s engine that eventually faded into the distance. She entered back into the house, her heart ripped and torn to pieces as she soaked the kitchen floor with her tears.
He put up at the hotel for a day or two, but alas his wealth was not as much as his arrogance. He searched around for a rented apartment and soon found one that he could afford. The room smelled like a rotten abandoned dungeon, with its only companions being a fan, a table and chair to go along. He settled into this congested box of grey, whose windows had been nailed shut to block out the light from the world. From all the hardships it was the silence and loneliness that bothered him the most. He didn’t think living alone would be so difficult. He now had to do everything and it is often the smaller things that are the hardest to do. He knew he had taken things for granted but Pride convinced him otherwise. He decided to sleep it off, only to be constantly disturbed by the buzzing of his phone. They were the calls and messages from his mother and some other family members who he also hated. His pride got the better of him and he switched the phone off. Despite the hardships, he still decided to feed his ego and didn’t return home. Soon the hours turned into days and the days to months.
It was now summer as 4 long and difficult months ticked away. The air still blew dry and swift across the corridor. The mother still distraught, almost gave up on seeing her son again. She cursed herself for ever criticising him. She blamed herself for ever having corrected him in the first place. It was the 23rd day of that month, and on that dull summer’s evening, she heard the doorbell ring. She opened the door but found nobody there. Just as she begun to turn, her eyes caught sight of a crisp white envelope on the ground that was addressed to her. She closed the door behind and sat on the corner chair to read the letter. Her tears started to show again from her eyes but by now the house was no stranger to them. She knew the letter was from him. The letter read as follows:
My Dearest Loving mother,
I have nothing but regret and I thought I would write you this letter, hoping that I could get a chance to seek your forgiveness. I don’t know where to begin so I thought I would start with the first 10 things I should apologise for. And so here goes.
- I am sorry that every morning you woke up early only so that I could eat something before I started the day.
- I am sorry as you stayed up every night just so I could get a warm meal before I went to bed.
- I am sorry that even after you cooked all day I would complain about your tasty food. It was never too salty, it was just me being ungrateful.
- I’m sorry that you would be worried sick until I got home. I would intentionally criticise you for questioning my whereabouts.
- I am sorry that you had to take the place of dad and had the house looked after and fixed. You handled everything and I didn’t even care.
- I am sorry that I would always turn down helping around in the house and so you would do it yourself. I always lied saying I was busy and find an excuse.
- I am sorry that you never even slept a wink when I was ill. You saw to it that I got better and only then you would go to get some rest.
- I am sorry I always made a fuss to give you money, even though I know that you sacrificed your career so I could have mine.
- I pushed you away when you just wanted to hug me. I was embarrassed of you when I was with my friends. I would even disconnect your calls when I was with them.
- I disrespected you as I thought I was too big for being told what to do. I Took You For Granted and I am so sorry for doing that to you.
I am So Sorry Mama. I pray that my tongue but cut off if I ever disrespect you again. If you have it in your heart, open the door once again and I promise I will never leave you ever again. Please! Please! Please! Please Forgive me.
The thundering sound of her feet echoed through the house as she dashed for the door. Her heart filled with anxiousness and hope, praying that he would be standing outside the door. As the door opened, there stood her prodigal son with his head pointed straight towards the floor. His heart filled with regret and shame. The mother with tears of mercy ran to him. He found himself in the tight grip of his mother’s arms that were wrapped around him. Even before he could open his mouth to apologise, his mother lifted his face, looked him in the eyes and said. “Son, how can I forgive you? Because you cannot forgive someone who you’ve never hated in the first place. I have always loved you, I still do and will always Love you. There is nothing in this world that you could do or say that will change that. You are my Son. You are my Son. My Son”
I write this story as a reminder that in our pursuit for success and fulfilment of our desires, we forget the people who are rooting for us at the side. They could be our mothers, our fathers, our brothers, our sisters, our husbands, our wives, our family, our friends and even perhaps our pets. The selfishness of our soul chases the things that we don’t have and we take for granted what we do have. We only appreciate them when they are finally taken away from us. So if this story encouraged a sense of gratitude in you, Go now! Tell them how much they mean to you.
Let me be the first to start.
I am everything I am because of my mother, my family, my friends and because of You.
So cheers to all of us!
– Floyd S Pereira