“Honey,” Mom asked at the other end. “ Are you coming home this Christmas.”
I looked reluctantly at the phone in my hand. I had no intention of going home.
There could be no better way to ruin a holiday than to go to my hometown, a
remote hill town far off in the north. People say its a beautiful place, may be.
But in this season, at the end of December, when whole town will be covered
under tons of snow and with the sub zero temperature it does not look like a
dream holiday to me. Further our own house was miles away from the main town,
making it even more remote. I tried to remember the winters, the snowstorms and
the occasions when we were trapped in our houses for days before the roads were
cleared and I could get a chance to move out of house and to visit the town. I
could never figure out why my parents decided to build their house at such a
remote place. Throughout my childhood I dreamt of the day when I would leave
that place, never to return. And when I got admission to a college at a far off
city, I was the happiest guy in the universe.
Now my mom was asking me to spend my Christmas holiday with her. The place I
left one and half year ago. No way, I can’t go there, I had already made my
“Honey, are you there?” Mom voice was anxious. I came out of my reverie.
“I would love to, but!” I did not want to hurt mom so I lied. “ You see mom,
I’ve already fixed my programme with Carla and I can’t say no to her now.”
Mom knew that Carla was my girlfriend. She had met her during her last visit six
months back. What she did not know that we had already parted our ways and I was
living alone for last one month.
“I know, you must be having your own engagements,” Mom seemed desperate. “But
can’t you come for only one day. You know, your father is also away and he’ll
not be here for next two weeks. I am all alone this Christmas. Why don’t you let
me talk Carla? I’m sure she’ll agree for you to visit me for one day.”
“She is not here right now,” I again lied. “ But I know she is not going to like
the idea. You know her nature mom. I am sorry mom I will not be able to come
this time. Perhaps next time…”
“Last year also you said the same thing,” Mom’s voice was hoarse, perhaps she
was crying. “Anyway, if you don’t want to be with you mom. It’s ok. I’ll not
I put the receiver back. But I was not happy. I loved my mother very deeply and
I wanted to be with her. Only thing I didn’t want to go that place which I
detested. I knew that mom would also not come to me, as she will never leave her
home during festivals. She believed in celebrating the festivals at home with
family and friends. I felt pity for her.
I tried to concentrate in my work but my mind was not into it. I was still
thinking about mom, her sad voice still reverberating in my ears. Mom was the
only thing that mattered to me in my entire family. Ours was a small family mom,
dad, my elder sister Carolyn and myself. Carol was two year elder to me and she
was now in England with her husband. Though I had very good relationship with my
sis and but I never felt for her in the same way as I felt for my mom.
Throughout my growing up in that small hilly town it was mom who was always with
me. In my every moment of triumph, every moment of sorrow it was mom who cheered
me up and consoled me. She was there when I had my first heartbreak. She was the
one who encouraged me to be a good athlete and an equally good student and she
was one who initially sponsored my admission to college and supported me
financially till I was self-sufficient. Dad was never there. He was too busy
with his business and his hunting and booze parties. Mom always had a special
place in my life and it was unbearable for me to see her hurt. I knew she was.
I put down my pen and paper. I realized I couldn’t stick to my earlier decision.
It might not be a bad idea to celebrate Christmas with mom. After all I was
alone here and it is better to be with mom rather than being alone. I can very
well be back in three days and then I will be free to celebrate New Year party
with other friends. I dialed her numbers. She responded immediately as if she
was still near the phone.
“Mom! It’s me, Ted.” I had to lie again. “I have talked to Carla and she has
agreed. I am coming home on Christmas eve.”
“Are you?” She was thrilled, her voice resonating with excitement.
“Ya, mom. But I’ll be there for only one day and in any circumstance I’ll return
“I am more than happy son,” Mom voice was beaming with delight. “I promise that
I won’t ask for anything else. I’ll make arrangement for your journey.”
“Don’t worry mom,” I smiled at her impatience. “I have sufficient money with me
and I’ll reach home by twenty-fourth afternoon.”
“I am looking forward for your visit, son.” Mom replied. “ I have a nice little
surprise for you.”
“I’d love to see it. OK mom, bye.”
“Bye son, I love you.”
“I love you too mom.” I cut the phone.
When I reached my hometown on Christmas eve, it was already snowing. Patches of
snow were falling and I had a gut feeling that weather was not going to improve
in coming days. The snowfall seemed to be heavy this year as the whole town was
covered with thick layers of snow. I was little afraid if weather deteriorated
further I might not be in a position to return on the planned date. I left the
bus and took a cab for my house. In the way to my house everything was covered
with heavy snow. The only exception was the roads that were seemingly cleaned
regularly, but I knew that in case of very heavy snowfall or an ice storm it
would be very difficult to maintain the roads in clean condition, especially the
roads leading to remote areas away from town that are not frequented by most of
the drivers. My house was also located in such an area and I had seen in past
when it had taken more than forty-eight hours before the roads were cleaned
again. I again had a hunch that this year is also going to be the same.
Cab was approaching to my house, as I was able to see some lights coming out of
the windows. I looked at my house, which was not clearly visible due to bad
weather. Whole roof and front yard was covered with thick coat of snow.
Cab dropped me at our driveway. I took my bag, paid the driver and went over to
the front door. Before I could push the doorbell the door flung open. Mom was
standing at the door beaming with delight and with her old infectious smile. But
there was also something else. My mother appeared to be completely changed. She
was thinner, much thinner since I last saw her and she looked much young and
“Oh, honey.” Mom hugged me and kissed my forehead. “Can’t say how much happy I
am today. You made my day.”
“Mom!” I could not hide my surprise. “You look so thin, so young, I can’t
“That’s the little surprise I was talking about on phone.” Mom smiled with
“I’ve lost almost thirty pounds in last six months.”
“That’s great mom. You really look very thin and I must admit very beautiful.
Dad must be paying special attention to you nowadays.”
“Thanks, Ted.” There was a mild change in her stare, but she immediately
controlled herself. “Now lets go inside. I am freezing here.”
She took me inside and locked the main door. The temperature inside the lounge
was very comforting and after having such a long journey in extreme cold it felt
wonderful. Mom led me near the fireplace and asked me to sit on sofa. I removed
my jacket and gloves and sat near the fireplace trying to warm up my freezing
“You just relax. I’ll get you some coffee.” She walked towards kitchen.
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