Short story

---- Amin Ahmad Chaudhury
- ³I don¶t understand´ - ³Understand what ?´ - ³Our white convertible.´ - ³Is it sold or got rid off ? Anything wrong in the deal ?´´ - ³No, It is neither sold nor got rid of. Wrong is with Uncle Edward.´ - ³What wrong´ - ³It is a junk now, why does not he agree to sell it.´ - ³I too do not understand. It should be sold much before, it drinks much petrol. Uncle Edward is working for long. It is nearly eight pm.
The young brother Richard and sister Raquel were sitting in the lawn in the evening and were talking of their age old white convertible after yesterday¶s theft attempt. They were watching Uncle Edward washing the old convertible with much care and occasionally taking a hammer and beating to repair the dents in its body. Their mother Elizabeth was standing at the door and watching Edward working on the old white

convertible. Richard has just entered into a university and Raquel is in the tenth grade. They were watching Uncle Edward taking care of their father¶s car and passing their opinion on it. Elizabeth looked at her children. Richard is a grown up boy now, Raquel also trotting to womanhood. A happy family, she thought. Suddenly past days flashed like cinema slides in front of her eyes.

It is five years since Richard¶s father died leaving behind her and two children. Bob and she loved each other so much. It was an unbearable loss. There was none to look after the family and Bob never allowed Elizabeth to join a job. After just a week of Bob¶s death Edward came to visit the family. Being a friend for long the family knew him well. Edward held the children in his hands and led them to the drawing room, and asked Elizabeth to follow. They sat silent for some time, and then Edward looked at Elizabeth and asked, ³Did Bob left any means that can support you.´

- This house only - ³Nothing more that is in your knowledge.´ He was holding the boy and the girl at his sides and was playing with their hairs. - No, nothing.

- Is there someone who can support the family till this brave big boy master Richard can take over the charge - None we know. - Then how the family will run. These are hard days. - I am not sure. We have few thousands with the bank; I think we can run at least a one or two months. Within this time I¶ll find job and put the south portion of the house on rent. I hope we can at least survive. - Good to know. But I came here to inform you that Bob started a business with one of his friends. Though there is not any written deed they started a business together and that fetches more or less two thousand a month. I think you can get the money back if you wish. It may be that you sell your part or receive monthly turnout. But it will be wise to receive the turnout every month. - That is very good news, much assuring. But nobody turned out yet, so I am in doubt if that friend will come forward. Richard interrupted. - Look big boy, don¶t lose faith on people. May be he is giving you time to accept your loss of a lifetime. - I am sorry Uncle Edward, I did not think that way. You are right. - May I say something, said Raquel

- Sure my young lady, open your heart - I am sure that friend is you Uncle Edward. Dad had no such close friend as you were to him. We too love you so much. Dad told us many times that he has no other person whom he may call a friend. He had much trust on you.
Mr. Edward remained silent for a few minutes, and then suddenly he grabbed Raquel to his heart and kissed her forehead.

- You are right my young lady. I am that friend. I too love you all so much.
Richard and Raquel knew Mr. Edward since their childhood and that Mr. Edward loved them much. Since their father¶s death both the brother and sister did not oppose his frequent visit, and their mom going out with him. Elizabeth took much time to observe her children¶s reaction to frequent visit of Mr. Edward. At last one day she decided.

- Richard, I have to talk to you. - Who forbids you - Don¶t be funny, it is somewhat serious
Richard lifted his face and looked straight at his mom¶s eyes.

- Shall I call Raquel - No problem, if you wish to

Richard called Raquel and she came running

- What is it ? Let me be clear, I am not going to share with you any more chocolate that Uncle Edward gave me yesterday. - I don¶t need your chocolate. Mom says she has to say something to us and that is serious. - Mom and serious, the two do not go together - It is serious, said Elizabeth, ³I really have to discuss something to you.´ - OK, say it, both the brother and sister said together - Would you mind if I marry again ?
The children remained silent for a few minutes. The brother and sister looked at each other.

give my mom¶s hand to someone who may not love her and us too.

- What took you so many days to decide ? Said Richard - I was thinking about you two, I love you two and your happiness is my happiness. - And who is that lucky chap to get my mom¶s hand,³ said Raquel. ³I have a reservation.´ - ³Reservation ?´ Elizabeth surprised. ³What is that ?´
Again the brother and sister exchanged eye contact. Richard nodded. Raquel said, ³We make the choice. If it is Uncle Edward, we are happy to know, if it is any other person it is out right NO, we are not going to

- ³I understand.´ Elizabeth stepped ahead to leave the scene - Hey mom, why are you leaving, say something. Said Richard - What great thing you find in your uncle Edward that only him I can marry and none else - He is a good man, a better friend and the best guardian, cried out Raquel, and you love him we know. - He loves us and he loves you too, and you love him we know. You made no wrong choice. Said Richard - How do you know he loves me, he comes here to see you and to pay the money from your dad¶s business. - Please, mom, don¶t be so cruel on him. He could easy grab the business, but he didn¶t. He is honest and loves us. Don¶t you see how good he takes care of us. - And you too, said Raquel. But if you do not believe, we will ask him when he comes. - No problem, ask him if he loves me or you more - This is not a question of more or less. He loves you and he loves us. That¶s all.

Months passed. Neither the children asked anything, nor Elizabeth said a word any more about this.

A loud call broke the silence of Elizabeth. It is Edward.

you two close to me I feel my friend is close to me. That is why I try my best to take good care of you two. Don¶t I ? The children looked at each other. Raquel nodded her head. She pulled Richard closer and whispered onto his ears, µThis is right time to hit the nail´

- Hey boy, bring me a bucket of water.
Richard ran into the house and took a bucket full of water and reached Edward.

- Hey Lady Raquel, bring me the pack of detergent and some pieces of old cloth.
Raquel went into the house and took the pack of detergent and some pieces of old cloth and went near the car.

- What nail ? Whispered Richard back a little surprised. - Asking him if he loves mom and will marry her. - Grand idea. Shouted Richard
Edward was surprised to hear Richard shouting. ³What grand idea ?´ Asked he.

- Uncle Edward, you could have asked Richard to bring all these. - Yes, I could, but wanted you two to be with me and take care of the lady. - Which lady ? We don¶t see any lady here. - This lady. Edward pointed to the car. Your dad loved this lady so much. I know it. That is why I take good care of it. It reminds me of your dad. We were very good friends. I love you two so much, you two also remind me of my good friend. Both of you resemble his face. The more I get

- We want to ask you something, it is a serious matter. Said Raquel - Serious matter, what is that, any problem ? - Serious problem. Quipped Richard - Proceed, I¶ll do my best to ease any situation, but only if you two be at my side when I face the problem, I may need your help. - We promise every help, but the decision is yours. - No, if it is regarding you or your mom we must decide sitting and discussing together. - Why pull in mom, we are grown up and we can decide our good. - Then, it is nothing about your mom ?

- It concerns mom and us, may be you too are involved. - Then we must sit together and discuss the problem in depth and find a way out. - Ok ok, let¶s finish with this old lady, then we sit and discuss now.




It is nine at night. They all sat together in the lawn under moonlight.


³Yes, my Prince and princes, shall I call the Gene out of the bottle ?´ Asked Edward when they all sitting in the lawn and sipping cup of coffee. Uncle Edward, this is serious. Said Richard Yes, this is serious, said Raquel. Proceed please.


Raquel pulled Richard¶s head closer to her lips and said, ³Play the trick´ Richard nodded, ³I will.´

You do know we are grown up, we have our friends and circle, and we cannot give mom that much company she needs or likes to have. I do This is very natural that mom feels lonely and you do understand that she needs a good company I do You love us uncle Edward I sure do You know mom is a fine lady with all the best of qualities I do You love mom as much I sure do, but children, where you are pushing me to ? Not, pushing, just pulling the Gene out of the bottle. Answer our questions Ok, proceed You are willing to marry mom.

You do know our dad left us this house, that convertible, and two livings- mom and you Yes, I do You know it is long five years dad is no more with us I do

Edward turned silent. He got the trick. Raquel went close to Edward and whispered, ³Take mom now in your arms and kiss her the bridal kiss. We want it. Do it now.´ Edward looked at Richard. Richard nodded.

Elizabeth understood, turned shy and looked at her two children. Richard got closer to her and whispered into her ears, ³We love to have him as our dad. He will find him a loving caring and understanding husband. Accept him, we want it.´ Raquel held Edward¶s hand, whispered ± ³Mom is my dad¶s lonely convertible, still fresh and youthful, waiting to be converted into best of designs. Treat her well.´ So saying she pulled him up.

- You are fully grown up I see.
Raquel winked. ³Uncle Edward, do it now, whispered Raquel, you will find her a loving and caring wife. Edward went close to Elizabeth, his arms around her. He lifted her in his arms. Their lips touched each other and kissed. Edward proceeded to the house taking Elizabeth in his arms. They engaged in deep wet kisses.

- She wanted it, could not say for her love for us. We spoke her heart. Said Richard - Yes, Uncle Edward loved our dad¶s junk convertible, always fixing it to keep it going. Now he will find a new love to fix - our mom ever fresh ever youthful lonely living convertible. She is a wonderful lady. Said Raquel

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