He lay dead. Lifeless. There was silence.
I saw them taking away his body. I went to the mortuary with them.
“Please sign this. You can have the body after postmortem” said the person in the hospital.
It felt cold. Cold & numb. I wasn’t crying. I was dead; inside.
My son died an hour ago. I was informed on my way back home from office. I didn’t cry, my soul did. Walking to the exit was hard. The policemen waited for my arrival. They told me my son was high on marijuana & traces of alcohol was found in his blood. He was driving fast & got caught between a truck & road block. He died at the spot.
They said they were sorry about what happened. Were they? Their faces were emotionless. Their eyes said that he deserved it. I couldn’t say anything, I couldn’t breathe. There was a part of me which wanted all of it to be just a nightmare, other part couldn’t believe the fact about drugs.
I just walked out & got into the car.
Then it hit me. And it hit me hard. What do I say to my wife? What do I say to a mother who is waiting for her son to get home just to kiss him goodnight?
The idea of telling this to my wife brought tears in my eyes. The stoic resemblance of my character started to disperse as my heart felt heavy & I started choking.
It’s weird how men are considered the stronger sex.
I drove home with the same face. There was only one thing in my mind.
How to tell Shreya about this? She had been the lifeline for our child and he was her heart. He was the star who lightened her sky. How to tell her that the star collapsed, that he was drunk, that he had drugs in his system? How to keep her from falling apart?
The questions gave me a sense of horror.
I knocked and she opened the door. Her eyes told me she was disappointed upon seeing me. She took my bag, closed the door and brought me water. She asked about the day and I said tiring. It’s hard to hold everything inside.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
“What?” my heart pounded.
“You have that stressed look” she said pointing at my forehead.
“He isn’t home yet. This boy needs to be controlled” she was furious & anxious at the same time.
The moment of truth came. I had to tell her the truth.
“He will never come home now” I looked into her eyes. My eyes watery. Filles with tears. “He had an accident.”
Gasping she asked me fanatically “What happened? Where is he? Is he fine?”
It was hard to speak; i choked and said, “He’s dead.“
Shreya cried out & immediately fell from the chair. She was shocked & broken. She fainted. I hurried and carried her to her bed.
“I’ll let her sleep.”
I felt defeated. I was defeated.
I’d never shown any love to my son. But I loved him. I loved him as his mother does. I just don’t show it. A father needs to be strict. He needs to take harsh decisions. I didn’t remember the last time he hugged me. I used to come home & watch tv. I never asked him how his life was. I never asked him about his problems. The only thing I asked was the result. I thought I’m giving him his own space. I never thought he was into drugs & alcohol. I felt disgusted from myself. What kind of father I am?
I didn’t know about his habits not even his friends. The office frustration usually annoyed me so I used to scream at my son. Now he’s gone, there’s no reason to work.
Shreya, on the other hand knew him so much, his friends, his girlfriends, his teachers, his football team. Everything except his habits.
I don’t know why young children fall into spell of drugs & alcohol. I made sure to make an example, I never touched any of these. I taught him to stay away from this.
Shreya, I’m sorry. I cannot bring our son back. I’m sorry I cannot undo my doings. I’m sorry my son. I couldn’t say I love you. I couldn’t tell how much you mean to me. I’m sorry.
Then I cried. The cry of a defeated father. The cry of a defeated husband. The cry of a strong man.
~The Anonymous in me