“Sir, you have a conference call at 0945h; the ROW marketing meeting at 1030h. Your lunch with Mr. Smith has been arranged at 1300h. You have Reg Inc. coming in at 1530h and Boss needs you dot at 1700h.”
He listened to his secretary ramble on about his schedule for the day. This was every day, nothing unusual. He didn’t even bother looking up. He made notes about pending work which he would have to finish before each of the mentioned meetings and asked, “Is there anything else?”
“Well, your Project report is due tomorrow.”
“Oh, yes. I’ll have to do that after my last meeting for the day.”
He had begun working on the report the previous night, after yet another day completely booked by appointments and meetings. He couldn’t recollect the last time he had slept the entire night. He sighed and continued working. He ordered coffee, after a while.
“You are going to ruin your health like this, honey,” his wife had warned him the previous night. “Please stop this and come to bed.”
“Yes, I’ll be there in a few, sweetheart, I promise,” he promised, falsely.
He awoke the next day and found that he had dozed off at the table, in the study. He had sighed and begun to get ready for the day.
“Stop thinking about irrelevant things,” he said to himself, shaking his head to come out of his reverie.
With the conference call and meeting done, he was sitting in the car, on his way to the restaurant when his phone rang.
“Hello, my sleep deprived husband!” chirped his wife.
“Hello, my observant wife!” he replied.
“I hope you remember that it is your son’s recital today? I expect you to be home by six, ok?”
A moment of silence followed. This would be the third consecutive recital he would be missing. He didn’t know how to break the news to his wife this time.
“Oh no. Oh no no. You can’t –”
“I’m sorry, darling. I really am! I’ll talk to him, I promise!”
“You cannot possibly think I’m ok with this!? Do you know that you haven’t attended a single one of his performances? Can’t you make an hour’s time for your son??” she asked, her tone accusatory.
“I’m really sorr –”
“Please. Don’t. You are hardly ever home, and even if you are, you stay in your study. You can’t make time for your own son, your wife. How important is your damn work? Is it more so than your family? You are depriving a son of his father and a wife of her husband. I have nothing more to say to you.”
She cut the call.
This too was usual. They often fought over his absence at home, important functions.
But he always tried to reason with her saying that his hard work is what offers them a luxurious life. He had never had one himself. He wanted his son to have one. He always had to think twice before spending on anything, had to curb his demands while seeing his other rich friends get what they want and also what they didn’t. He didn’t want this to happen to his son. He didn’t want him to cope with financial difficulties at a young age. So he worked and slogged his guts out.
“But you can’t buy your son some time with his father, you fool!” his wife would yell.
He just didn’t want to deprive his son of a good, secure life. Why couldn’t she understand that he was doing it all for them?
He stopped thinking about his wife and son, and continued through the day. He met his boss, who unloaded his own worries on him, his subordinate, quite conveniently. He took it silently and promised better results. This promise he will have to keep.
He walked back to his cabin, sat down and decided to grab some shut eye before starting with the report. He checked the time, it was 1817h. When is the recital, he wondered. He picked up the phone and dialed his wife’s number. He’ll make up for it tonight, he decided. He’ll take the weekend off and be with his son, he decided.
“Hello? Mr. Roy?” asked a male voice, instead of his wife.
“Huh? Hello? Who are you?”
“Mr. Roy, I’m speaking from Grant General Hospital. Sir, I’m extremely sorry to tell you, but your wife and son…
P. S. A short story after a long time. Disclaimer: Completely fictional. No happy anything…