The Homecoming

It was yet another Sunday.

Every day was the same since his father died two years ago. He just puffed out like a genie. Poof!

Again, it was the same when such thoughts assuaged his mind. He couldn’t complete his homework. Swearing to himself, he threw his pen on the table and got up hurriedly as if the memories would swallow him right then. The pen fell with a little clank, quite enough to wake up Gorgeous, his red tabby cat, who purred and then toyed with the pen distractedly.

At the moment, she was the only ‘gorgeous’ thing in his life. As a teenager, he felt as if several ‘calamities’ had hit him all at once. He had to join Berkley High, a new school where he couldn’t fit in. His mother didn’t have a steady income to fulfill his needs, which left him deeply embarrassed. He would go time and again to his old school. His teachers there encouraged him to make new friends and take part in extra-curricular activities. But the kind shower of their words only caused the waves of gloom to submerge him, like now.

Lost in thought, he stood by the window when he heard his mother call out desperately, “Sam! Quick! Come right here!”

He wanted to ignore her weak screams, but a pungent odour invaded his nostrils which forced him to turn towards her.

If anything was worse than his situation then, it was the smoke billowing from the storeroom. The fire had the agility of a sprinter and was racing to swallow everything that came in its way.

The situation was beyond reason and assessment. He ran out like a madman and banged on the neighbour’s doors relentlessly.

But where’s Mom? And I am in my church clothes. I must get my backpack and uniform.

He was about to rush in when he felt a pair of strong arms pulling him back.

“You better stay put here, young man. We will get your mother out.”

Perhaps the neighbours had called the firefighters.

His mother came out carrying a trunk full of documents, pictures, and whatever little cash she had. She was about to go back in when he pounced on her. She swept him into her embrace and they both cried. He did not want to lose her too. He waited to see Gorgeous but it was futile. They had no time to lose. He only wished she was alive and safe.

They both sat in a cab, wrapped in thick blankets, looking at the fire as it slowly ate up the place that was once their ‘home’.

“It’s just a house, Sam,” Mom said, “I will try to rebuild it.”

Will it be the same again?


They decided to stay at his grandparent’s place for a while.

Two days later at school, he cringed and sat in the farthest corner in class. He didn’t go to the lab or library lest someone laughed at the pointed shoes of his aunt. He seethed at his mother’s obstinacy to send him to school. But he couldn’t bring himself to launch an icy attack of words.

As the day drew to a close, he heard his classmates calling out to him urgently. This was strange.

“See you at the gym class.” They had disappeared before he could say ‘no’.

He could sense the excitement in the atmosphere when he peeped in.

“Look, Sam is here!”

Several hands eagerly pulled him in. He gaped at the attention he received and something else…

The table in the center was full of books, stationery, clothes, shoes, and even a new backpack.

Ms. Joanne, the gym instructor came up to him and said, “Sam, we heard about it from Mr. Bret, your neighbour. I know how you feel, but we are here for you. These are some small things your friends and teachers have collected for you. Please accept our humble gifts.”

He couldn’t see who was hugging him or shaking his hands in the next few moments. He was lost in nothingness when the world was around him.

Sometimes the answers to all the complicated questions were just so simple. He only had to ask.


The next few weeks passed in a jiffy. After school, he went with Loisel and Ben to see his house being rebuilt. They sat on the curb in silence. Sometimes, Mr. Bret invited them in for a coffee and they talked about school, amongst other things, which was a refreshing change.

One day, Mother came up to him and said, “Next week, we will be shifting into our home, Sam.” He hugged her, happy tears staining his T-shirt.

Yes, my home!

So many things had helped rebuild his house into a home apart from bricks and mortar. But a tiny sadness crept into him.

Gorgeous, where was she?

One Sunday, as he was shifting things into his home with his friends, he heard a purr at the door. No sooner than he turned, she jumped onto his lap, licking him ecstatically.

“Gorgeous, my pretty, how did you find me?” he asked after he could catch his breath.

“I found her a street away, a few weeks back,” said an elderly voice. He turned to face a woman in her fifties. “I am Adrainne. I stay a few blocks away. It didn’t take me too much time to find that Gorgeous was sorely missing her owner. She would hardly eat or drink and stayed aloof. I tried calling the number on her collar. Now, I know why I couldn’t reach anyone.”

Gorgeous played with his friends while he went in to get a drink for the kind Samaritan.

“Anyways, I have been coming here for the past few days as I thought to take a chance if I could meet the owners,” she said good-naturedly and got up to leave.

He realized that life had come to a full circle.

Everything was back and so was he.


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