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A Lost Toy

A Lost Toy

4 mins 19K 4 mins 19K

“Jerry!! Come on honey. It’s time to go home.” He gave me a reluctant glance, hoping the day didn’t end so soon.

It was just another Sunday, and just another day out with my boys, my son, my Jerry mouse, running around the park, wrestling with his dad. And my husband Sam, who sometimes forgets that he isn’t five anymore.

I am so late for my appointment with the realtor. I need to leave now if I want to make it on time. But my boys look so happy.

“Okay, a few more minutes. But hurry up.” I couldn’t say no to him.

Taking Jerry to the park has become a Sunday morning ritual for us, since he was a baby. And why not, that’s the only time we get the whole family together. With Jerry growing up so fast and me and Sam busy with work, it feels like we are missing out a lot in our lives. So we try to steal a few fleeting moments of togetherness every now and then. I could just watch them play all day, but I need to leave now. Jerry is so hesitant to leave, but he can’t resist an ice cream bribe. On our way out of the park Jerry found a ball caught up in the bushes. He hurried to get the ball. The joy of finding a new toy is intoxicating for a five year old. He came running back to me showing his newly possessed prize.

“Mommy look what I found”, Jerry couldn’t contain his excitement.

“Salma, honey! That’s okay. It was just a ball. We will get you another one.” We heard a lady console her daughter.

“But I liked my old ball. Dad got it for me before he left.” The little girl replied trying to control her sobs.

“Mommy, I think this belongs to her.” Jerry whispered to me realising that her name was written on the ball. He looked at me for guidance not knowing what to do next. I didn’t know what to say. I was in a hurry to leave else we would miss the listing to our dream house. Besides it was just a ball, she will get over it, I thought to myself. Sam stepped in to save the day, “Monkey, would you like it if you lose your toy? I think you should return it to her.” Jerry unwillingly agreed to return the ball. Hesitant at first, but Sam was able to convince him. “I think this belongs to you!” Jerry handed over the ball to Salma. “Hi, I am Jerry”.

“Oh, you found it. Thank you!” Salma exclaimed in joy. “Mummy, look.”

Salma’s mother thanked us for returning the toy. Salma and her parents were refugees from Iraq. Salma’s father had to go back to help his brother find asylum. It’s been over six months since they have heard back from him. That ball was a parting gift he gave to his daughter, something to remember by. A silly toy to others, but it meant more than any riches to her. She was heartbroken when she had lost the toy.

“Oh no!” I just realized the time. “I am sorry Mrs. Ahmed. You will have to excuse us now. I need to be somewhere”. I completely lost track of time.

I missed my appointment. I will have to reschedule.

That night I kept thinking about Salma and her family. They have faced unimaginable hardships and yet they are so content. Betrayed by their own people and driven away from their own land, they lost everything when they left their home. Every day is a new struggle, trying to fit in into a new environment, a new culture. And with the uncertainty of tomorrow. Not knowing if Salma would ever see her father again, she holds on to that silly toy. It’s a ray of hope that her family would be reunited. That little girl must be so brave! And Mrs. Ahmed, raising a child alone in a foreign land is a tiresome challenge, yet there wasn’t a trace of pain in her eyes. I once heard someone say, “When you feel low, just count your blessings”. Dream house or not, that night I found plenty to be thankful for, to celebrate. I looked at my boys and thought to myself, I am so blessed.

The true meaning of happiness has been lost in translation. We spend an entire lifetime in the pursuit of happiness. If only we could take a moment to live instead. Our lives are spent in fast track to reach a state of absolute content. If only we could pause to realize that we already have everything we need to be happy.

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