Savithri Sundaram



Savithri Sundaram


The Reunion

The Reunion

7 mins

MOMM. . . YYYY. I am going to the old age home and will be back in a couple of hours. Kyle took out his bicycle and raced away , even as he shouted out to his mother.

Though he was only eleven years old, Kyle was a very sensitive and compassionate boy. When the pastor at his church had asked for volunteers to adopt a grandparent at the old age home, his had been one of the first hands to go up.

He bad been visiting the home for a few months now. Every weekend and on holidays, he would go there and spend a couple of hours either talking, or reading or playing cards or board games with his adopted grandfather, Luke Higgins. He was instinctively drawn to this man and over their many meetings each had grown quite fond of the other.

It was not as if Kyle had no grandparents of his own. He was extremely fond of his paternal grandparents and looked forward to their yearly visits. Christmas at their house was a riotous affair, with the extended family also being present.

His mother was an only child. She had never met her father. She only knew that he had met her mother at the pub where she worked. A few months later, he simply failed to show up one day and there was no way she could let him know that she was carrying his baby. So Kyle's mother had been brought up single-handedly by her mother Unfortunately, he had no memories of her as she had died soon after his birth. He felt though, as if he knew her very well as his mother often told him tales of her strength and resilience.  

Luke was a man in his late sixties or early seventies but he appeared to be much older. The sadness in his eyes belied his otherwise cheerful demeanor. .  

As he saw Kyle enter the room, Luke's eyes lit up with joy.

Hi Gramps, how are you today?

Okay. Now. I thought you had forgotten about me . Why are you so late?

Sorry Gramps. Met an old friend and was talking to him, Kyle said as he hugged Luke.

Shall I set out the Chinese Checkers board game or shall we play Ludo, he asked. They loved to play both these games.

How was school?Luke asked, as he pulled out the Ludo board.  

Super Gramps. Our Englush teacher has asked us to write an essay about our family.  I have do much to write about my paternal side but not much about my maternal side . Mummy never knew her father but I can write about her mother . She has told me many stories about her. You know what, I am going to write about you, Kyle said excitedly. You too are my grandfather.  

If I had got married, I would have had a grandchild about your age. Perhaps, even more than one . Luke sighed, a faraway look in his tired blue eyes.

Gramps, did you never fall in love?Never met a girl whom you would have lived to marry?

Oh, I did meet one but I knew her for a very short while.

Why?What happened? Did she get married to someone else? The board game lay forgotten on the table between them.

Noooo. . .

Please tell me, Gramps.  

One day, as I was making my way home from work, I heard someone screaming and shouting for help. As I rushed into the alley from where the shouts came, I saw a couple of men attacking another man with a knife. As soon as they saw me, they panicked and ran away. Another passer-by saw me kneeling beside the victim with the knife in my hand and called the police. Despite my protestations of innocence, I was put in jail after a trial that was nothing but a farce.

Oh Gramps!Kyle had tears in his eyes. Bur how did you get released from prison?

A fellow prisoner who was released from jail told my story to lawyers from an organization called "Justice for the Innocent "They filed for a re-trisl and I was released two years ago. They were slso kind enough to admit me to this home as I have no family.  

Do you feel sad at the turn of events in your life, Gramps?

Yes. In the early years of my imprisonment, I used to get very angry. Sometimes , violent too. The prison chaplain counseled me and I gradually came to accept the inevitable. . I studied and got my degree in psychology. I worked in the kitchen, the garden, the workshops and whetever help was needed.  

Do you like it here now?

What is not there to like. I have made friends amongst the staff and other people here. We are all very well looked after. And I always have your visits to look forward to, Luke said, as he affectionately ran his fingers through Kyle's curly, blond hair.

Kyle was very pensive as he made his way back home. And all of a sudden he knew just what he had to do. He couldn't even wait to park his bicycle. He jumped off it and ran into the house calling excitedly for his Mama and Papa.

Can we bring him home. . . next week. . . for my birthday. . . my birthday present. . . please, please please. . .

His parents exchanged rueful glances. They had dealt with injured cats, homeless strays and a wide variety of feathered creatures. Kyle could not bear to see anyone or anything in distress. Fortunately for him, his father was a vet and so was able to deal with all of them. But getting Kyle to re-home them. . . thereby hangs another tale.

Ok. So what is it , this time? Tom asked, resignedly.

It is not a what , it is a he and he lives in the old age home and he is my Gramps and he has no family and may I please invite him to our house?. All this in one breathless rush, the words spilling and tumbling over each other.

His mother patted his head in an attempt to get him to calm down but to no avail. He wanted an answer and that too pronto.

Thus it was that Martha found herself calling up the old age requesting permission to bring Luke to their house for a couple of hours, the following weekend, On Sunday, Kyle and she drove up to the old age home to pick up their guest. The car had barely stopped and Kyle was out. He raced ahead of his mother, barely able to contain his excitement. Martha followed him more sedated into the room and the old man who had extended his hand to greet her took one look at her and . . . froze.

How was this possible?Lucy, his Lucy. . . as he remembered her. No, it was not possible.  His eyes were playing tricks on him.

When Martha greeted him, he muttered something quite unintelligible.  He followed her to the car and sat down but he was functioning on auto-pilot. All the way to the house, he struggled to get his thoughts together.  Was Martha his daughter? Was it possible that Kyle was his grandson?In fact, and not because Kyle had adopted him as his Gramps?How was it possible?Lucy had not told him that she was pregnant. Lucy, his Lucy. . . was she alive?Was this his chance at happiness , or would Fate cheat him again?He felt absolutely shatteted when he remembered Kyle telling him that his grandmother was dead.

Even as these thoughts tumbled around his head, they had reached home. Kyle took his arm and led him inside and introduced him to Tom. Luke mumbled something in acknowledgement.  His eyes were wandering feverishly around the room. They seemed to be searching desperately for something. . . proof perhaps, that he was not living in a fool's paradise.  

As his eyes settled on the framed photo of the mother and daughter on the mantelpiece, the only word that escaped Luke's lips were Lu. . . cy. His eyes closed peacefully and he crumpled lifeless into his daughter's arms

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