Fri, 23 Feb, 2024

Photo Courtesy He waited for his mother by the window on the first floor. That day was just another day. His neighbor had dropped him home at 5 pm as usual. He had locked the door and had taken his usual seat to wait for his mother. His mother usually came home before 6 pm. But today she was late. It was already 8pm. Soon he dozed off in his seat. His mother was a working woman who worked two jobs to support her family. She always boarded the 5.15 bus to her home. There weren’t many passengers and she moved to the last seat of the bus. As the bus moved on, she suddenly lost consciousness and fainted. When he woke up, it was afternoon already. He called out to his mother. When she didn’t respond, he went out of the house and called out her name again and again. No one answered his calls through the locked doors of their houses. No one was there. The children were all in school and the adults in offices. He was all alone in his neighborhood. So he went back in. He was Seul. He was 4. He had lived with his mother all his life and now his mother was gone. And he was on the verge of crying. But then he remembered Superman, how Superman had saved a kid’s mother and told her little kid not to cry but to be brave and strong. He had seen it on TV so it must be that Superman was a hero. But Superman lived far far away. He had learned in school that a father was every son’s hero. So, every father must be Superman. With that thought he ran up the attic where he had seen a picture of himself as a child with his father and mother. The father’s face had been ripped off by his mother in anger and in pain. But one could still see the father’s clothes and his shoes. So he picked up his Mr. Teddy as “every hero needs a sidekick” and went out the doors in search of his father in a white t-shirt and blue pants. After walking for an hour, he spotted a man with a white T-shirt and blue pants. He had found his father. He ran up to this man and said in a rush, “Father, mother didn't come home yesterday and you have to find her for me. You’re a hero right? And heroes don’t let little boys cry. I have been brave and strong like Superman said. But I want to see my mother now. Let’s find her together.” ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- She woke up in a hospital bed. She didn't have the money to pay the fees. So she ran home to her son whom she could visualize waiting for her by the window on the first floor. ----------------------------------- That poor man was perplexed. He didn’t know what to say. He certainly wasn’t a father. He was single man living alone and now this boy wanted his father and search for his mother? He was scared now. What would the passer bys think? Would they believe the boy? Would he be forced to be a parent? He couldn’t handle raising a child. Plus he didn’t have money for himself let alone for a child. So he did what he thought was best. He took the child home with soothing words and false promises. Then he packed up a suitcase with some clothes and all the food and water he had in his fridge. Then he looked the child straight in his eyes and said something he’ll regret everyday for the rest of this life. He said, “My son, I’m afraid, your mother’s far away and to get to her, we have to board a train. We are going to a train station now. There the train will take us to your mother.” Then he held the boy’s hand and took him to the station. It was rush hour and there were many people around. But everyone was busy and had their eyes fixed of their watches or their cell phones. He took the boy to an old railway track that was out of function. He told the boy to sit down and put the suitcase down beside him. -------------------------- Seul heard his hero of a father say, “I’ll be back in a short while boy.”, while he was showing Mr. Teddy the patterns of the railroad. When he looked up, he was alone.