The Journey The Journey 2017 - 18 - Page 21

R Namitha Soju 9 C April woke up rubbing her eyes and blew her tousled hair out of her face. She grinned, remembering that today was her eighteenth birthday! Right on cue, her dad waltzed into her room, singing “Happy birthday” off-pitch and holding a chocolate cake that made her stomach rumble. “Happy birthday sweetheart!” her dad wished merrily. He took a good chunk of the cake a smeared it across her face. April laughed heartily and gave her goofy dad a panda hug. “Your mother would have been very proud of you”, he said lovingly and April replied in a strained voice, “If only she were alive to tell me this herself.” Then her dad did something he had done countless times before. He pointed at her heart and said, “But she’ll always be in there.” And April sighed, “Yes, I know.” Then, as though to lighten things up, he said mysteriously, “Come along, I have a special gift for you,” and led her outside. He handed her a small box that looked older than her. April opened the box with anticipation and found a letter inside. It was frayed along the edges and was starting to turn yellow with age. “This is your mother’s eighteenth birthday gift for you.” April’s heart leapt at the thought of a gift from her mother. A person she never missed because she never knew her. A person fate snatched global public school away before she could even be etched into her memory. She opened the letter with trembling fingers and read…… “Dear April, If you are reading this you must be a big girl now. I’m sorry I’m not there to celebrate it with you, but I want you to know that I love you more than I have ever loved myself. I don’t think I have a lot of time left, but all I can leave with you is my heart full of love. Love, Mom” April slowly folded the letter, her eyes filling with tears of joy. She managed to say between sobs, “It’s beautiful.” Her father smiled and whispered sadly, “You don’t get it do you?” April gave him a puzzled look. Then, she gasped as it all came crashing down. She reread the letter and started crying uncontrollably. But this time her heart bursting with sorrow. Suddenly the scar near her heart had so much more meaning than a simple childhood accident. That heart beating ever so strong, keeping her alive each day did not belong to her. It belonged to her mother. And her mother will forever be with her…. inside. 21