The doorbell rang. The fourteen year old boy ran towards the door. He knew it was his dad. He spread his arms to embrace him. But his father was too preoccupied. He waved his son aside and throwing his office bag on the bed, he sank into the sofa.
“What happened? You look so tired,” enquired his wife, in a low yet concerned voice.
“Nothing. Had a real hectic day,” came a short reply from the other end.
“Oh, I see. Okay, freshen up a bit and I’ll serve the dinner. Sam, give the towel to your dad…
“I have already had my dinner,” interrupted the father, “I had a meeting with a client at the restaurant. I am full.”
“I know where you have been,” the little boy mumbled.
“Huh? Did you say anything?”
“Okay, do me a favor then. Put my mobile on charge.”
Sam plugged the charger and opened the phone’s message inbox. A message dated a day before read:
I am so excited sweetheart. I have already asked for the keys of the flat. Can’t wait to be in your arms baby…
His mind echoed.
Dinner… flat… keys… arms…
He did not know what his father was up to. The only thing he knew that his mother, oblivious of everything, was being cheated.
“Mom, what if, one day you find dad cheating on you? What would you do?”
The boy was so amazed to find his mother instilled with such confidence on his father that he could not go ahead. “Your dad loves me like crazy. We may fight, but we love each other a lot. He would never ever do anything of that sort.”
Sam was eleven years old when he first discovered something that he should not have. One fine afternoon, while his father was taking a bath, Sam happened to receive a call on his father’s phone. It read, Mr. David calling… He took the call to tell that person to call back later, but was taken aback to hear a female voice at the other end:
- Where are you honey?
- Who’s this?
The line went dead.
Casually, Sam took a look at the telephone number. He was good in remembering telephone numbers.
Sam has now grown up into an adult. All these seven years, he was well aware of what was going on behind his back. He kept a track of the phone calls and the messages regularly. The messages ranged from cheesy to explicit. During this period, his father had learnt the know-how of texting, and he was quick at it. Sam could only watch his father from a distance. Yes, he loved his father, but hated him equally. There was an unseen wall between them, which was supposedly termed as ‘generation-gap’. Whenever his father fidgeted with his phone, he wondered, It’s got to be that bitch!
Sam was growing frustrated and helpless. He called up the number and took a few information that he wanted, under the garb of a salesman. The woman was married, with two children; her husband worked with Sam’s father. Whore, he thought.
Sam felt claustrophobic. It was something he could not share with anyone – neither his friends, nor his mother. His friends would have made fun of his father, which he could not allow. He could have told his mother, he had enough proofs – the messages and the call lists were enough. But deep down, he knew that his mother would not be able to bear this. He feared she might do something drastic. He thought of talking it out with his father. But that would be useless, since he himself would be accused of sneaking into his father’s phone, and his mother would believe her husband more than him.
I can’t let it go on like this. Mom has devoted her life to this man, and he has taken her for granted. He’s out there banging other women, having his share of fun, while mom craves for his love. How can he do this?
He had learnt long back – ‘Change it, or change yourself for it.’
He knew he could not change it, for it would change the lives of two families as well. I guess I will have to learn to accept the reality as it is. But I want to know how he felt like keeping a mistress. No, rather I want myself to be kept.
The car screeched to a halt. A man and a woman got out.
“If you please me tonight, you’re gonna come back tomorrow,” the woman said.
“I’d love to. You’re beautiful. But I’m afraid I have another appointment tomorrow. The next day may be…”
The doorbell rang. The little boy ran towards the door. He knew his mom had come with his dad. He flung open the door – “Hi dad!”
“Hi sweetheart! Sorry darling… but your dad won’t be able to return tonight. He had to go to some office work. It’s quite late now. Go to your room and sleep or you will be late for school tomorrow. Oh, and I want you to meet a friend of mine who will be staying here tonight.”
The man came forward and extended his hand towards the child –
“Hi, I’m Sam.”