The Imp4 mins 167 4 mins 167
A book flew across the room. In close succession flew a shoe, followed by two socks. Ronen was indulging in one of his temper tantrums. He eyed his mother Patsy defiantly. As he saw his mother getting flustered and trying to pacify him with all the endearing terms in her vocabulary, in a fresh bout of anger, he kicked the book on the floor and looked on with satisfaction at the torn scattered pages. His mother duly concerned put her arms around him, saying, “What has upset you Darling?” only to be pushed back unceremoniously. This was the regular scenario at 14 Wellesley Street.
Ronen was born to Patsy and Roger after ten years of marriage. It was after a dozen unsuccessful rounds to the infertility clinics, that they were blessed with a baby. It is needless to say that the couple treated the child as a precious gift from God, and did all in their power to keep the baby happy. At the age of four, he had been given to ride an electric toy car, costing a fabulous amount. He wore the most expensive clothes, and the parents gave in to all his demands. Slowly the boy got the impression that he was the boss in the family, and that he could twist his parents round his little finger. So a sweet, beautiful baby became gradually a monster, a veritable fiend, who became a problem child, and was to be avoided.
The teachers in school started complaining. His results showed that he lacked interest, and his marks reached rock bottom. His parents tried to coax him into studying and promised rewards if he put his mind to his work. But nothing worked. The parents were heart-broken. They had planned great things for their only child. They had dreams which they felt would never materialize. They had sleep-less nights but Ronen could not care. Somehow or the other he completed his schooling, but not before his parents had to shed torrents of tears. Then he started to keep bad company. The more his parents objected, and advised him against the reprehensible association he was keeping, the more adamant he became. He defied them and blatantly did everything which his parents told him not to do.
Then the Corona Virus struck. It was as if God had had enough. Both his parents became critically sick. He saw his mother groaning in pain with a terrible headache. He had never seen her in this state. Previously, even when she had a fever, and he had selfishly demanded that she should massage his legs, even at midnight, she had done it without a protest, but now, she could not even raise her head. She lay unaware of the world, overwhelmed and immersed in acute distress. His father too had been taken to the hospital in an ambulance. He had fallen in the toilet and had become senseless.
Fear gripped him. He was going to lose both his parents whom he had taken for granted. He realized he loved them very much, and without them, he would not be able to exist. It now occurred to him that he had been very unfair to them all his life. He regretted his actions. Remorse and self-recrimination made him despondent and demoralized. What was he to do now?! He prayed to God to forgive him. He took a vow that he would turn over a new leaf. He would make his parents proud of him, only if he could have another chance. He prayed earnestly and with fervor.
It seemed God had heard his prayers. It was a day for celebrations when his parents came back home. They were overjoyed to be greeted with warmth, and affection, by their son at the doorstep. Ronen embraced them and said, “I love you two very much. I will never hurt you ever again”. Patsy and Roger felt their cup of happiness was brimming over. In that moment of ecstasy, they forgot the past as if their son had erased the unpleasant memories with that one sentence of his, expressing his love for them. They were simply overwhelmed.
Roger held him tightly to his heart, wrapped him in a close embrace, and uttered, “Son, Corona has taken toll of my heart; I can feel I am leaving you two, for the other world. I am relieved that now you are there to look after your Mother. She needs you.”
Gradually Roger’s body seemed to become limp, he let all his weight fall on his son, and in garbled speech, he took the name of his son, smiled with an expression of contentment, and closed his eyes forever.