Surprise! by A.M. Linton

The rain had stopped pouring when I stepped out of the red and white public bus.

Thank you, Lord. I was not looking forward to walking through this rain again.

I walked through it in the dark this morning when I left for work before my sixteen-year-old son, Martin, woke up for school, and I did not want to walk through it now.

The walk signal appeared, and after looking to my right and then left, I gingerly stepped off the pavement and onto the road. On the other side of the road, a large puddle greeted me.

“Oh great,” I whispered under my breath.

A light green car sped between me and the puddle, splashing some water onto the sidewalk. Another car, blue, approached but stopped, and I contemplated if I should run and jump over the puddle. However, the vision of me slipping and falling was not pretty, so I walked around it carefully. I then speed-walked away from it just in case the driver decided to splash me as he drove by it.

I live about a five-minute walk from the bus stop, and although darkness was stepping in fast, there was still enough light to see the things around me. Still, some homes already had their lights on, and I know Martin will have ours on because of the thick curtain I had put up during Christmas. Spring was also quickly approaching, and I would lighten things up with lighter curtains.  

Back to the lights, though. The electric bill was a month overdue, and because my boss wanted us to work overtime for the past month, the electric company was closed when I got home. This morning, when I switched on the kitchen light, and it did not turn on, my heart skipped a beat, and I simultaneously remembered the unpaid bill on the fridge and the company turning off the lights due to nonpayment. The bulb was only blown, so I replaced it with the other one in the box I’d purchased a few months ago.

I get paid weekly, but last Friday, the owner of the fruit farm I worked on said that a client was late paying him, so he could only pay me half of my pay then and the rest and my regular pay today. He apologized profusely, but this is his practice every six months, and I have been working with him for three years now.

I need a new job.

Martin knows where the candles and matches are, but I don’t want him to be alone in the darkness.

“Please don’t let them turn it off, Lord. Please,” I pleaded.

When I turned the corner, I was straining my neck to see my pink and white bungalow. It was in total darkness. My heart sank, and immediately, a silver truck drove by, drenching me and my black handbag on my shoulder with muddy water.

Tears began to run silently down my cheeks, mixing with the muddy water as I quickened my pace to reach home. When I got to the front door, I unzipped and pushed my hand into my handbag to grab the keys, but a brown tissue also came up. I looked at the tissue before wiping my face with it. I also blew my nose.

I opened the door and stepped in.

“Martin, son,” I called, locking the door before stepping out of my wet, low-brown heels.

Suddenly, the lights came on.

“Surprise! Happy Birthday Mom!”

I spun around.

“What?” I questioned.

Martin stood with a huge smile on his face and his arms extended.

I looked around the house, and balloons, streamers, and other decorations filled the walls and roof.   

“Today is not my birthday, son. It’s on the ninth, and that’s next Friday,” I replied, laughing.

“No, Mom,” he replied, “today is the ninth, and it’s your birthday.”

“No, man, it can’t be,” I said, “really?”

Martin laugh.

“Happy birthday to my wonderful Mom, whom I’m not going to hug right now because she’s drenched.”

I laugh harder. Grabbed him and kissed him all over his curly head of hair.

“Thanks, son,” I said, throwing my arms into the air and dancing a little.

“Wait,” I said, looking around again, “you did all this by yourself and is that a cake on the table?”

“A magician doesn’t reveal his secrets,” he announced, laughing.

I laughed, shaking my head.

“This boy,” I said. 

The End

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *