A Father and a Son Planting a Future
Tears of Regret*
A legendary sad but meaningful story from back home, about a father like any other father, who keeps advising and directing his son as he grows up. At the same time, it is a story about a son, who like any other son, gets tired of listening to his father’s advice and wisdom and boring details about what is right and what is wrong. The father was wondering when his son will do only the right things, so he doesn’t have to tell him any comments about his behavior to upset him. The son was thinking when this will end. Why am I still a child in my Dad’s eyes?
Time came and went, and the son graduated from college and was looking forward to finding a decent job to become independent and run away from the family home and the constant interference in his life. Meanwhile, the father was getting older and weaker and feeling so happy that his son was graduating and began thinking to himself maybe his mission in life is accomplished. On that beautiful shiny morning in mid-summer, the son dressed up to go for an exciting job interview for a well-known engineering company. He left his room to see his father proudly standing by the door waiting for his handsome young son to march to the interview. While he was correcting the collar of his son’s shirt and fixing the direction of his red and blue striped tie with his shaky hands and deteriorating eyesight, he started feeding him some thoughts with a low calm voice this time: “During the interview be proud of yourself. Answer their questions to your beliefs not just to please. Look them in the eye and keep your chin high. Be positive and have confidence, do not worry if you will get the job or not.” The son got a little bit agitated and just wanted to slip from his Dad’s hands to go and get the job and to be free from all that.
The son arrived at the company address, he looked at the amazing, beautiful, and well-trimmed landscape. Somehow, he noticed a loose hose running unnecessary extra water and causing flooding on one side of the garden. He couldn’t help himself, remembering his father’s advice to be responsible, so he went and shut off the tap. Arriving at the main door he noticed the handle was too loose and about to come apart, again he remembered his Dad’s face telling him: fix it. So, he pulled out his handy accessories on his key chain and tightened the screws. There was no receptionist or welcoming staff only signs of directions to go upstairs, to the right, to the left, and to sit in the waiting room till someone calls your name. Again, he noticed the excessive lights on in an unoccupied area and started switching off some of them as he was passing through.
While he was sitting in the waiting room, he noticed that everyone was wearing better attire than his. By chatting with them, he realized that they all graduated from more reputable schools than his. All that did not prevent him from morally supporting his competitors by wishing them “Good Luck” when their names were called, fixing their ties, and giving them a thumbs up. The interviews were going very fast, like one or two minutes only each. Everyone is leaving sort of upset. He thought that this is a joke, not an interview. He felt his chance of getting the job was very slim, if not none. He remembered the last words from his Dad: “Have confidence…keep your chin high…”. While thinking positively, they called his name. The interviewing committee was five experienced corporate officers in their middle age. The interviewer sitting in the center asked him: “When would you like to start your job?” He answered them: “When I answer your questions and pass the interview and satisfy the job requirements.” The interviewer continued with a genuine smile on his face, telling him: “Video cameras told us all that we want to know about you. If you are going to take care of your job the same way you took care of the water, the door handle, the lights, and fellow teammates you will be a great asset to our company. Welcome aboard.”
The son couldn’t believe it, he left very happy about getting the job, and also wondered to himself whether he passed the test, or his Dad did… He took a cab to go home fast to tell his father the good news. While sitting in the back seat of the car, he was thinking that his Dad didn’t teach him to be a Civil Engineer, but he made him a “Good Engineer”. Thinking and regretting his internal frustrations with his Dad, through the journey from work to home, the tears started filling his eyes, his heart rhythm beating faster. He cannot wait to see his Dad, to tell him how much he loves him, to thank him for his support, to tell him how much he regrets his attitude toward him. As the cab is getting closer to home, he notices so many cars of his relatives there, many people standing sadly in the front yard. He realized that something awful just took place. Anxiously, asking about his Dad, with his whole body shivering and with tears flooding in his eyes. “Where is my Dad?” No one dared to answer him, but their squeezing hugs and the sparkling of the tears in their eyes did.
* This is a fiction short story and has nothing to do with my real life.
Mohammad H Alnajafi