“Harry! Wake up! Wake up!” Approaching voice made him open his eyes. It was dark and he didn’t see anything. He turned his head to the direction of approaching footsteps. Suddenly a door appeared in the darkness and the beam of bright light dazzled his eyes. Between squeezed eyes, he saw the silhouette of his mother Millie.
“Wake up! You are sleeping since you got off the train in the morning. It is already evening. Oh, look! You even closed the curtains and turned the room into the dungeon. Come to have supper. Your father has already arrived,” said Mrs.Smith and turned the light on in the room, not letting him protest.
Mrs.Smith was average height, slender woman with dark shoulder-length hair and pleasant voice. Despite the fact that she always pampers her only son, she also could suppress her kind character and be strict.
Harry rose his body up staggering like a drunken man and sat on the edge of the bed. His head was heavy as if it was not part of his body. He rested his elbows against his knees and held his falling head with hands. Suddenly he jumped to his feet and began to look for something in his bed. After a short search, he found his phone and unplugged it from the charger.
Today, as soon as he got off the train in the morning, he sent a message to Evelyn. The girl, he liked for two years. Though his friend Max gave him Evelyn’s phone number four months ago, he neither wrote nor called her when he was at Beshgala. He didn’t want to meet her the next day after the message, so he decided to do it when the holidays start.
With trembling fingers, he unlocked the phone and opened the messages. There was no answer. Only his own message addressed to Evelyn. “Hello, Evelyn. How are you? This is Harry. Don’t know the reason just decided to write to you.”
After sliding the phone’s screen up and down several times, he started to talk to himself: “You are stupid! Stupid! What did you write?!” He began to walk in the room and continued to talk. “I should have to write the message in a different way. Not like that. You are stupid! You wrote like a child talking with a girl for the first time.”
With his new message ideas, he looked at the phone for one more time. He began to think about the second message, but his thoughts were interrupted by Mrs. Smith’s angry voice.
“Coming!” He said in response and left the room, throwing the phone on the bed.
When he entered the kitchen, his father was already waiting for him at the table.
With a smile, he hugged him. Mr. Smith gave him a warm hug as well and between his arms, asked: “How are you?”
“Good,” Harry replied and with their old tradition, both looking at the table, covered with delicious dishes said at the same time: “Ladies and Gentlemen, here is the next masterpiece by Mrs. Millie Smiiiiiiiiiith!”
“It is you, Frank, teaching him these kinds of things!” Said Mrs. Smith, gently hitting Mr. Smith on the shoulder.
In honor of her son, Mrs. Smith cooked his favorite dishes. There were salads, mushroom soup and his favorite plov with fennel and chicken. Seeing all these luring dishes, he realized one more reason why he was homesick.
After a delicious dinner and interesting conversation, Mrs. Smith got up from the table and said in a calm voice: “If you are finished my dears, please go to the sitting room and let me tidy up on the table.”
“Catch my wisest advice, my son!” Said Mr. Smith in a low voice, “If a woman asks you to leave the kitchen? Leave it at that very moment,” he winked at Harry and walked in the direction of the sitting room.
Harry didn’t answer and followed his father. His relation with his father was different. It was like an officer and soldiers’ relation during the war. They had some kind of subordination. But at the same time, they were ready to trust own life to another.
Mr. Smith was a man with a restrained and calm character and that is why Harry could never relax near his father at all. Despite the fact that Mr. Smith was the most distinguished architects of the country, he used to be a modest and at the same time, a very strange man. He didn’t talk much. And when he did, he never hurries and never let his emotions show up on his face. His 6-feet 1-inch height, broad shoulders, thick with sparse grayed hair gave him a special look.
“Come! Take a seat and let’s talk a little,” said Mr. Smith as soon as Harry entered the room. “So, how were your exams?”
“They were easy!” Said Harry sitting in the armchair.
“What about student life? What about Max? Are you getting along?” Said Mr. Smith with a wisp of a smile.
“Max?” Harry smiled back. “You know him! He will find a way to change your mind, even if you don’t want to talk and not to get along with him.”
“Yes, you are right,” answered Mr. Smith with a wider smile.
Although there was a smile on his father’s face, at the same time there was another expression that Harry could not read. Looking at him, he expected to hear the reason for that expression, but instead heard another question? “What’s new?”
“Neeeew? Harry extended his question to ponder the answer, and answered in a calm tone: “Nothing!”
“Nothing unusual ever happened?” Asked Mr. Smith as an interrogation.
One moment he thought that his father knew about his message to Evelyn, but then he remembered that he hadn’t told anyone about it and answered: “No, something had to happen?”
“Of course not! Just a question,” this time he answered with a more relaxed smile and, standing from his chair, looked at the bookshelf behind.
Life sometimes gives unpleasant surprises when you don’t want and do not expect them. It puts you in a desperate situation. You start to think that this is the end, and there is no exit. But in fact, there is always output. The hardest part is to find where and what is that. It is not just a word. Do you know how many similar stories are hidden in this bookshelf?
Harry looked at his father with a confused look and tried to understand what he was trying to say, as well as what he should answer him. Instead, Mr. Smith continued to talk. “Maybe I’ll have an overseas trip for some time”
“Trip? When? For how long?” Asked Harry.
“I don’t know the details,” said Mr. Smith averting his eyes.
How is it? - Harry asked again.
“I’ve received a short notification from a company I am working with. I haven’t discussed the details yet, but I can leave at any time,” Mr. Smith answered with almost a whisper.
Although his father’s answer did not satisfy him, he decided not to ask additional questions. He waited for him to tell the reason for his strange behavior, but instead heard Mrs. Smith asking: “Would you like some tea?”
He did not immediately come out from the confusion he was in, and after a while “No, I am going to meet with Max. We’ll drink tea together,” said Harry and left the room.
When he entered his room, Max was already calling him. “Yes?” he said grudgingly.
“Oh my God! His Majesty finally answered my call. Are you still sleeping, lazy man? I’m already calling you for the 60th time.”
“If you noticed, it is evening and I was having supper. Let me give you a piece of wise advice. When you call somebody and there is no answer, wait for ten minutes, and then call again” said Harry trying to tease his friend.
“Thank you sage!” said Max and continued. “Stop it, fool boy! Are you coming?”
“Already,” said Harry and walked thinking about his father’s strange behavior and unclear conversation. After a while, when he got rid of those thoughts, he found himself holding a door handle without movement. With a deep breath, he opened the door and left his room.