The New Innings – #WRITEPHOTO
We saw the small child everyday when my wife and I went for our morning walk. The child had long hair and always wore the same patched flowing robe. She looked like a fairy from heaven in that robe. We were both very fond of the child. She was like a princess who was aching for her loved ones. Our hearts went out to her as she would look at us with eager eyes, hold up her small begging bowl and say, ‘Help a little child in need. God will bless you.’
I would usually drop a pound note on her bowl and we would move on. We had once asked her where her parents were. She had told us that she had no one in this world to call her own. Our hearts filled with anguish. So young and destitute! How could god and fate be so cruel?
That December our family celebrated Christmas. My son visited us with my daughter in law. Christmas was always a grand affair at our house. We put up a beautiful Christmas tree and attended church.
The next day my son and daughter in law departed for their house which was two hundred kilometers away. Usually it was a three hour journey by car. And my son always informed me by phone as soon as he reached his house. But this time I did not receive the usual phone call from him.
Initially I was just a bit uneasy. Maybe a punctured tire? Maybe some other delay? But by the time we had not received any news for more than four hours we were frantic with worry. I had tried calling him umpteen number of times but the call would not go through. Finally I filed a missing person’s complaint with the police and gave them all the details including photographs of my son and daughter in law.
After nearly four hours my phone rang. I picked it up and said ‘Hello Jackson here.’
The voice at the other end said, ‘I have some bad news for you Mr. Jackson. The car in which your son and wife traveled met with an accident. It fell down a ravine. We have recovered the bodies of a man and woman from the wreckage. Can you come and identify if they are your son and daughter in law?’
I stood rooted to the spot shell shocked. Subsequently I went to the morgue and looked at the bodies. I burst into tears when I recognized my son and daughter in law. It was been twenty days since we had buried my son and daughter in law. Myself and my wife had not stepped out of our house even once. Our friends visited us and tried to cheer us up. The only person who said something that made any sense was my close friend Reverend Father James.
He told me, ‘Jack, every ending marks the beginning of a new innings. Please bide your time. The lord never closes all the doors.’
His words did not convince me. I asked him, ‘How is that possible, Father? How can my son’s death mark a new beginning?’
Father James had simply replied, ‘You will see.’
The next morning myself and my wife went for our morning walk as most of our friends had been insisting we step out of our house. As we turned the corner we again saw the child in the flowing robes with her begging bowl. As usual she said, ‘Help a little child in need sire. God will bless you.’
I was about to reach for the usual pound note when my wife stopped me and knelt down and kissed the child on the cheek. She said, ‘What is your name, sweety?’
‘Anne,’ said the child.
‘Well Anne would you like to come and live with us in our house? There is a big garden there and you can go to school and learn to read and write. You can play with a lot of toys. Will you be our daughter?’
The child’s face filled with pleasure. She said, ‘Will you also buy me a toy train and an aeroplane?’
I smiled at the child and said, ‘Not only that but a lot of nice clothes too.’
‘Then I will come with you.’ Anne said smiling happily.
I looked at my wife and said, ‘This child will fill the void left in our lives by the death of our son and daughter in law.’
My wife nodded. There were tears in both our eyes. I later phoned up father James after I had finished all the adoption formalities and Anne was my daughter legally. ‘Father, you never said a truer word. Every ending marks the beginning of a new innings.’
Author’s Note: This post has been written in response to Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt – #WRITEPHOTO