It was a normal working day. Nothing special. Except that it was his birthday. His first birthday away from home. His first birthday when he couldn’t share the joy of spending one more year with his loved ones. Calls poured in all day long. Yet he felt all the more away, all the lonelier, and all the more alone. Time to go back home he thought as he started putting his papers back in place.
His cell beeped. His roommate would be back late. His meeting had been delayed which meant birthday celebrations at home stood canceled. Great!
“Hey Abhinav! All packed? Lets go. I’ll drop you home” Gaurav said.
Gaurav was more of a friend than colleague. “Sumedha’s waiting downstairs” he said referring to his wife.
On the way home they stopped at a newly opened restraint.
“Happy birthday!” Sumedha wished him from behind the wheel, while Gaurav handed Abhinav a gift.
“What’s this guys?”
“Just to make you feel all the more special”
“Come we’re having dinner together, the treat’s on us.”
From the next hour Abhinav felt like he was almost home.
Yet when they dropped him off, he couldn’t help feeling lonely again. To ward off going to an empty home, he decided to take a small walk.
He called up his mother.
“Hi mom, what are you doing?”
“Happy birthday! We were just done with dinner.”
“No cake for dinner this year?” he asked, forlorn.
“We’ll definitely have some when we meet! I’ll bake your favorite chocolate cake. Where are you by the way? You haven’t reached home yet? Still working?”
“No mom! I’m done with dinner. Went out with Gaurav & Sumedha. Just out for a walk right now. I’m missing…”
“Abhi, I’ll call you back, wait” and the line disconnected
“I love you mom. I miss you all a lot.” he said, staring at the phone.
With heavy legs and a heavier heart, he walked back to his place. Climbing up the stairs, he saw one of his fellow residents being greeted by his children, the warmth and love of a family pouring out of their place. Waving towards the father, he trudged along the stairs and put his key into the lock. Opening the door, he switched on the lights of his place and was greeted by shrieks of “Happy Birthday!”
Shocked, he banged the door shut! He couldn’t believe his eyes! His eyes welled up with tears as he stood looking at his family. His girlfriend stood nearby holding out the chocolate cake for him.
He had never been happier!