It was two o’clock in the morning and Jared still hadn’t packed his luggage. He was busy talking to his pal Kevin in the backyard. “We should go back dude,” suggested Kevin. “It’s late!”
“Just a few more minutes,” Jared replied.
Heavy silence and trepidation roamed around the house like a ghost. He still couldn’t believe that he was going to America. Getting the visa so quickly was surprising, but knowing that he wouldn’t live in Australia for the next few years was disturbing.
It was a huge blow for his family, especially for his mother. Mary couldn’t fathom the fact that the next time she would talk to her son would be via Skype.
“Jared will be back in no time,” Bethany assured her restless mother.
“He never went out alone like this and for 3 years,” Mary sighed.
“Your daughter is right, you know? Besides, he will come back for Christmas,” said Mr. Brown, who though having identical thoughts like his wife, was still keeping his heart strong.
To Mary, it was the shortest night. Her little Jay was going away to a place with no one to cook for him or do his laundry. Would he be able to find his socks? The very thought made her smile, but at the same time tears trickled down from her eyes.
“Mom we will Skype every day and I promise I’ll send you gifts every month,” assured Jared.
“Oh darling!” Mary exclaimed, trying to hold back her tears.
With teary eyes Mary embraced her son. She wished that time would stop. Taking a deep breath, she continued, “You don’t need to bring gifts. Please remember to have your breakfast every day and don’t waste money unnecessarily because I will find out.”
“Yes ma’am,” he replied with a silly salute!
Bethany was sleeping or at least pretending to sleep to in her room. Looking at her Minnie Mouse clock she muttered, “Few hours are still left. Should I bake him a cake?” She was in a dilemma. “Why should I? He never did anything for me. Moreover, he scolded me yesterday. It serves him right that he is going away.”
“Nope I’m not doing it,” she decided. Her thoughts were interrupted by a knock on the door. Josh, her little brother, opened it. Looking at his sister’s expression, he could instantly guess what Bethany was thinking.
‘What?’ his sister asked loudly.
“Bake him a cake and make it with dark chocolate. Oh, please don’t forget to add sprinkles,” he said with a self-satisfied smile and left. Bethany was a bit stunned.
Taking a deep breath and throwing her anger out of the window, she went to the kitchen, plugged in her earphones and started baking her brother’s favourite cake.
Jared was almost done with his packing. With great reluctance, he looked at his watch and saw that two hours were left. “Don’t look again dude,” his friend nudged him “It won’t help that much you know.”
Annoyed at Kevin’s ‘so called advice’, Jared replied, “You do get that I’m going to leave within 2 hours no matter what? And I won’t be back for 3 freaking years!’
Kevin was really keeping it strong, but being reminded again that he too would not be seeing his best friend ignited his sadness like never before.
He burst out. “You think I won’t miss you? That I’m going to just hang out with Rob and Ali?”
Controlling his anger, he went on, “Do you think I will forget you? Jared Brownie with whom I had bubble baths while playing rubber ducks when we were 3 years old!”
Jared realized that he had been unnecessarily hard on his pal. This, too was not emotionally easy for Kevin and for the first time he saw that ‘the 24/7 funny Kevin’ was really miserable.
Jared with smeared sarcasm said, “You’re acting as if I’m going to die.”
“Well that would be much better to be honest,” his friend replied jokingly; which got him a slight punch in the belly.
They were interrupted by Bethany’s arrival, who was carrying a container full of chocolate cake.
With a poker face, she said, “Have it when you’re hungry,” and with that she turned back but was stopped when her brother unexpectedly came in front of her and enfolded her tightly.
They both stood still, the heavy silence transported a thousand words and promises which only they could comprehend.
They were both joined by Josh, who was still the short baby brother, and they both sat and finally started crying loudly.
Hiccupping, Josh joked, “Don’t worry Jary I won’t steal any stuff from your room and get me those limited edition Pokémon cards for Christmas!”
Bethany rolling her eyes, scolded Josh, “Seriously? Even now?!”
“Okay that will be the first thing I will do,” Jared assured Josh.
At 5am the taxi arrived.
Mr. Brown helped his son put on the luggage and they were joined by Mary and Kevin.
Jared looked at his family and then their house for the last time and with a heavy heart, stocking so many memories, went inside the taxi. He waved to his family and slowly their view got smaller and smaller.