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Chapter : 5

[ Chapter – 5] – ALBUM OF MEMORIES

A beautiful , quiet town of Tados Santos. The weather is very refreshing and soothing just like a mother’s love. Its early March. All the flowers, trees, birds, butterflies and the whole town of Todos Santos is in a spring mood. The sky is sometimes partly cloudy, sometimes partly sunny, which is normally same throughout the year.

Miguel Vargas is a very punctual and disciplined man. Everyday he is ready by 9 in the morning to open his shop. Children are ready too. They will accompany their dad to school. Gloria Vargas, the mother of the children is busy fetching the tiffin boxes and water bottles. “Good bye honey!!” said Miguel. “ Bye mom…..love you!” said the children. Gloria is a very beautiful, graceful and happy wife and a very loving mother.

Miguel Vargas runs a coffee shop in the busy market of Todos Santos. Every day is a busy day for him except Sundays. Miguel loves to spend his Sundays only with his family.

Eduardo Vargas, Miguel’s son is a very bright boy of 10 years old. Though he is an obedient child, he is sensitive too.

Miguel’s daughter Yolanda is very pretty. She will turn 7 in June.

Since it is a small town the neighbourhoods are small too. But very friendly and cooperative. People know each of them very well. But there is a house on the left of Miguel’s house. The most weired one. People know that there lives and old lady and her son but they have hardly seen them. One day they suddenly came from nowhere and started living in the neighbourhood. Nobody talks to them, as the lady “Rosa Castillo” is not atall friendly rather too harsh. People gossip about her that she is a widow and her son has some criminal record.

One night when everyone was busy having dinner, they heard the siren of police cars. The whole neighbourhood gathered beside Miguel’s house as the cars were parked outside Rosa Castillo’s house. Police was dragging his son in handcuffs. That was the first time everyone saw the boy. He was skinny and tall. Age was not more than 18. This incident was the hot topic of gossip for few weeks but people sarted forgetting after that.

It is mid of April by now. Summer has arrived. Summer in Todos Santos is long, hot and muggy. Children are home as the vacations have started. Days were boring but were passing merrily. Sometimes they went for picnics, sometimes they visited their grandparents, aunts , uncles, cousins. Miguel and Gloria thought this was the best time to engage the children with something. And next day Miguel brought a little chicken. It was very unique. It had such a bright golden hue that it seemed as if the feathers were made of pure gold. The children were amazed, overjoyed. Miguel helped the children to build a coop for the little chick. Days passed and the little chick grew into a big fat golden hen. The hen now mingled up with the kids so well that wherever the kids went the hen went along. They were always seen together now.

One fine morning when they woke up they didn’t see the hen. Usually it used to run around in the house or in the front yard every morning. They all ran to the backyard to look for it in the coop but the hen wasn’t there too. Yolanda started crying. Miguel asked Ed to come with him to search in the neighbourhood. Sometimes hens run away if they see a cock somewhere around. Father and son searched each and every house , every corner but Alas! The hen was found nowhere. As if it disappeared just like that. Gloria then suggested to wait and see. Sometimes pets come back to their home of their own. Afternoon turned to evening and evening to night but the hen neither came back nor was found anywhere. The kids cried so much that they slept without eating dinner.

Next morning, at breakfast Ed said to his father “ Dad we searched every house except the house beside ours. That lady’s house. Can we go now and ask her for once?” Miguel looked at Gloria and Gloria nodded in a yes.

The experience was just as pathetic as Miguel had expected. Rosa didn’t help them at all. Instead, she asked them to leave, very rudely. She even threatened them that they should never ever enter her premises. Now that was heart breaking for little Eduardo. This incident lit a hidden flame in that 10 year old boy’s heart. Miguel promised the kids that he would do something about the hen. But that did not satisfy Ed. He wanted to rebel.

Next day, when Miguel left for his shop and Gloria and Yolanda left for some grocery shopping, Ed went to the attic and sat near the window from where Rosa’s backyard was partly visible. While munching his Churros he made up a plan. The 10 year old heart wanted an outburst without thinking of the consequences. He ran as fast as he could and jumped inside Rosa’s backyard. And there he saw a coop. He tiptoed and opened the small gate. And oh!!!!!...... what is that? Ed was unable to move and even breath. Their golden hen was there in front of his eyes cozily sitting on the hay bed. Ed thought “ I shouldn’t be late”. And just when he was about to catch the hen……..he felt a hand pulling him from the collar of his shirt. Ed fell down on the ground with a thud!!!! Rosa was burning on fire. She was red with rage. Before Ed could free himself or say anything, Rosa started to drag him. She didn’t stop until she reached the front yard. She started screaming like hell “ You little creep …….how dare you? I warned you yesterday not to enter my premises and next day you are trespassing? Wheres your dad call him. You little piece of shit.” On hearing the screams few neighbours gathered near Rosa’s house. But none dared to get inside and free Ed from her clutch. Just then Gloria was returning home and see saw the gathering and peeped in. The sight of Ed made her awestruck. She immediately ran inside to get hold of his son. Looking at Gloria’s curious eyes Rosa yelled again” This is your son? Don’t you teach your children anything? He tresspassed and entered my backyard inspite of my warning.” Gloria gave a stern look to Ed and asked” why are you here?” Ed was so shocked from all that happened, he couldn’t say anything. He was still sitting on the ground with his head down. Rosa said “ take him home and ask him. Now get up and get lost. Both of you.” Gloria apologized politely and assured her that this will never happen ever in future. When Miguel reached home, he heard everything from Gloria very patiently. Then he said” did u scold him? Yes….. …. obviously….. even I would have. Serve dinner Glo, I’ll talk to the lad tomorrow.” Miguel brought a smile on his face called the kids for dinner. He tried to be as normal as possible. As Ed was already in lots of guilt.

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