Dear Johnny

posted in: Short Story - English | 1

Little Johnny woke up amidst his parents earlier than light, and like any other child he climbed upon his parents to wake them as well. Mr.& Mrs. Peter didn’t have kids for a long time and then decided to adopt, which presented them Johnny boy. Johnny’s unruly behaviour was thoroughly enjoyed by the Peters and they took no effort in disciplining him, as they loved his raw self and couldn’t bear the thought of breaking his heart.

Waking up, Mrs. Peter was instrumental in running Johnny through his routine. She will brush him, give him his favourite chocolate milk which he savoured every morning, and of course he was spoiled with all the treats today’s corporate can muster. Mr. Peter was well employed and always yearned to give Johnny a better life.

The clock work life of the Peters had an extra cog, who was Sabir, a local help, a kid who struggled to earn a living. Sabir was a constant presence at the Peters, and his chores included everything except looking after Johnny, as Mrs. Peter didn’t want to let go of that. However, little Johnny didn’t want to let go of Sabir, as he loved to play with him, but Sabir was off bounds, as the Peters didn’t allow Johnny to be around with Sabir. More than Sabir, Johnny was off bounds for Sabir.

Sabir started working at a very young age, not because he had a family to support, only because he had no one to support him. The Peters have never shown a paternal affection towards Sabir regardless of being childless, as he always remained a servant and they were always puffed up with conceit on being opulent or to be more precise being the Peters.

Johnny having no siblings always wanted Sabir to be a part of his life. Johnny would always get hyper excited when Sabir shows up for work, but he knew the ruling and hated every minute of it. When the family sits for lunch at the table, Johnny watches Sabir having lunch outside alone on the backyard bench, and he always ponders why the Peters are making him stay away. When the Peters showers Johnny with treats, Sabir watches them, not with envy, but with expectation. The sight of constantly being avoided made Sabir numb over time, as he was at par with acceptance, acceptance of who he is and who he can never be.

Sometimes Johnny breaks out of his confines and tries to go to Sabir, which mostly ends up in a tug of war, obviously won by the Peters. Johnny was unaffected by the stubbornness of Peters to create a divide, as he was relentless in pursuing his will to go to Sabir. However, Sabir cared less for the same and didn’t want Johnny around, as he was highly disruptive and made his life miserable at times. Sabir was constantly blamed for matters where Johnny was solely responsible, regardless of facts being otherwise. The broken vase, inhouse spills, food theft were the usual’s and the Peters would blame Sabir for it, they liked to blame him.

Being unsympathetic is one thing but being blind made it worse. Sabir stayed for money alone and the Peters being good paymasters, he lingered around enduring the insults. Sometimes he pondered on the price he paid for being shameless but consoled himself as he constantly saw Mr. Peter being harassed on his laptop during work. The Price for being shameless was actually excellent he thought, the higher you get paid, you get to hear insults from the elite class, the question for him was not when to leave the Peters, the question was, when can he get promoted to earn more of both.

His thought collapsed when Johnny pushed him down when he was running, for which the Peters laughed with pride, which fuelled Sabir with vile. The harsh nature of the Peters grew day by day, but Johnny remained the same unaffected, innocent and bratty. For some, patience is like a bubble, it will pop for sure, same was the case for Sabir.

 Once he was having lunch in the backyard, for him it was the first meal of the day after long hours of toil. His hands were trembling while eating, as his limbs were exhausted from labour. He ate slowly as that was the only way he could, and while he was at it, he saw Johnny playing in the backyard at distance. Sabir changed his gaze as he didn’t want to invite trouble, nevertheless Johnny came towards him running and took a bite of the food Sabir was having.

Sabir was enraged and he slapped Johnny right on the cheek with all his might, Johnny squealed like a pig and got to the house as Mrs. Peter witnessed this in awe. She was furious and showered abuse at Sabir, who was in utter shock. Thin curtains of pretentious tolerance came down this time and banished him off his job vowing to ensure the same in perpetuity among their peers. Sabir fought with Mrs. Peter and reasoned his acts as fairly as he could but was in vain, since an act of momentary aggression had a huge price to pay.

Retribution was not a choice for Sabir, as he was in dismay and famished at the same time. The sheer act of foolishness took his life for a toss, which crippled him in his chances for getting a job elsewhere. Sabir took his belongings for leaving the place and could hear Mrs. Peter shouting over the phone taking care of Sabir’s future. Even the immediate future gave him chills down his spine and made him throw up what he ate for lunch. Sabir saw Johnny playing gleefully in his world, and he resumed packing.

Sabir made sure that he was leaving inconspicuously, as he didn’t want to raise questions from the neighbours for which he didn’t want to lie. On his departure, he met with Mr. Peter who came back from work on notice and for which Sabir expected a detailed trial, but surprisingly he didn’t even bother to look at him, as he dashed for his wife’s aid. Sabir wondered about the years he has put in this house and understood that he was invisible till now, may be now literally.

Unlocking his rusty bicycle, Sabir struggled to open the heavy iron gates and saw Johnny rushing towards him from nowhere, Sabir managed to get out of the gates and looked at Johnny in disgust and heard the Peters calling him in. Sabir took rest of his lunch from his backpack and hurled at Johnny, to his surprise Johnny barked and he barked profusely – May be for the first time.

Name – Sankaran Ramadas

Company – EY Kinfra – Trivandrum

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