He walked into the dark house totally exhausted. The clock on the wall had just ticked past the midnight time. The house lay silent as the inhabitant lay in deep slumber. He glanced into his children room to watch his two children in sweet dreams. The past two weeks he had hardly seen them awake. He kept his bag on the sofa and walked up to his bedroom.
His wife lay on the bed with her back to the door. She might be asleep or maybe not. The fight they had two night before hadn’t really helped the situation. She was giving him the silent treatment. He thought about walking up to her and talking about it but decided against it. He was too tired to get into another confrontation.
He walked into the kitchen to find food waiting for him. It must have been reheated a number of times before his wife would have finally given up waiting for him to return. He was not in a mood to eat. The cold tasteless sandwich he had during the telecon with the client had filled his stomach and killed his desire to eat. He kept the food in the refrigerator.
He slumped on the sofa and switched on the TV. Changing channels, his mind refuse to register anything. He laid on the sofa still trying to watch TV, basically trying to just fall asleep. It had been a hard day and all he needed was a sound sleep.
Surprisingly he found sleep difficult to come by. He tried closing his eyes and trying to drift into unconsciousness but it somehow did not work. He was tired but still his body did not relent. Thoughts about work, his wife and their small quarrel, the office problem refuse to calm him down. He felt a strange uneasiness.
His mother told him stories when he was small and he found it easy to sleep listening to fairy tales. Stories about kings and queens, fairies and giants, magic and fantasy. Stories that relied on fantasy and a make-believe world. As he grew up, he found those stories childish and unreal. Of course they were false and he had finally “grown” up. After all they were fairy tales and always had “happy ending” He understood real life was far away from those stories
It was just past midnight when he heard the SMS tune on his mobile. “No! not the office” he thought.
He looked at the phone to find his mother’s mobile number
“Collect your bank statement tomorrow from here – mom”
He knew his mother was a late sleeper and she would SMS him late into the nights mostly of things she forgot the whole day and he had got used to her SMSing late. She fancied the mobile phone he had gifted her.
He looked at the message. It was a coincidence when he was thinking about his mother’s stories, she would SMS him. He needed to talk to someone and unknowingly he dialed her number. It took him time to realize that she had picked up the phone on the other end
“Hi maa” He said wearily
“You haven’t slept yet?” She asked concerned “Or are you still in office”
“No! I am home maa. How are you?”
“I am fine! How are you?” She lovingly asked
“Life” He replied dejected
She went silent for sometime then spoke slowly
“Don’t worry! Go sleep now” She was concerned “Everything will be alright”
“I am not able to sleep maa. So thought of calling you”
“Close your eyes beta! You will fall asleep”
“I tried maa! Nothing helps”
She did not know what to tell him.
“Maa! Do you remember the bedtime stories you told us when we were small?” He asked
“Do you still remember those?”
His mother smiled at the other end
He stopped and then hesitatingly ask her
“Can you tell me one?”
“But you thought they were childish?” She teased him
“Maaaaaaaaaaa” He was a little embarrassed himself asking for fairy tales
“Ok! Ok!” She stopped teasing him “I will tell one”
“There was once a king of a big kingdom” She started
“Ummmmm” he responded
She told him about the king and his beautiful daughter and the Prince and the evil magician and the magic potion and the magic sword. The story went into fantasy, an unreal world, far from the cruel reality.
As the story neared the end, she realized that her son had stopped responding from the other end. She smiled and switched off the call. Her son had finally fallen asleep on the sofa.
“Good night Beta” she murmured as she walked toward her bed.
Some stories still had happy endings!
Note: The last few days have been very busy. Work is clouding my mind so much that I have dreams about working in office. Based on the idea as what gave me good sleep in my childhood. My mother would sometimes tell us stories before sleep.