My mother eyed me with suspicion. I dared not look at her. Knowing that I was
late from school five days consecutively, I could not offer an acceptable
explanation. I knew she did not believe that I had extra curricular activities
every day and arrive home after 5pm. However, realizing she had little choice
but to accept my explanation, she told me that dinner was in the refrigerator
and to warm it up in the microwave oven. She had to rush for her night shift at
the local clinic.
Ever since we lost our dad in an accident, my mother became
the sole breadwinner. I was the eldest among the four siblings and it fell upon
my shoulder to ensure that they become responsible adults. Aside from helping
mother with the household chores, I regularly coach them in their studies.
Thankfully, they are obedient children and never once did I have have to raise
my voice or force them to complete their homework. But all of us missed dad
tremendously. He was a model father and husband. Life was cruelly snatched away
from him at a very young age of 40. It was a freak accident that killed him. He
was walking towards his car parked at a construction site when a crane
accidentally dropped a huge metal on him. He died instantly and mom had never
recovered from the tragic incident.
However, she managed to pull through for our sake and secured a job at the
clinic. It was very tough on someone like her who had never worked before in her
life. But money was scarce and there were five mouths to feed. Dad did not leave
much behind. He never suspected he would die so young. we stopped dining out and
had our meals mostly at home. we basically lived from hand to mouth. That's when
it dawned on me that I had to do my part for the family. I knew mother would not
agree but I threw caution out of the window and managed to get a part-time job
at a fast food joint. I worked three hours a day and managed to bring home money
so that my siblings and I can go out for occasional movies or meals.
I am sure mother suspected something amiss. But she could not quite point the
figure to the source of her suspicion. However, I was guilt-ridden and had to
constantly reassure myself that contributing financially tot he family was the
least I could to alleviate my mother's burden. One day, while I was busy serving
the customers, I was startled to see mother standing opposite the counter
waiting to place an order. She appeared perplexed and shocked at the same time.
I took her orders and saw her returning to a table occupied by my siblings ! My
supervisor who saw my worried expression and who knew about my family situation
quickly volunteered to take over my duties. Slowly, I removed my apron and
joined my family.
Mother was already crying and so were my siblings. She covered my hands with
hers and told me that she was grateful for my help. I could not hold back my
tears and hugged her. I realized that I should not have hidden such a big secret
from her. But my beloved mother understood my situation and reassured me
everything would be alright.