The time machine…
On the 16th birthday of his Grandson George, there was a grand celebration thrown to grace the occasion and people flocked to the mansion by the hundreds.
Children, Teens, young adults and parents were all there to celebrate the turning of another year for young George.
No expense was spared and the crowd was of a pristine class with clothes, accessories and jewellery that made Richie Rich look poor.
There was a DJ spinning tunes, butlers escorting guest, food being carried around, an event planner to keep it all together, a personal selection of games and spirits to get everyone in the mood.
In all this commotion there was a curious old man who sat in the corner, completely ignored through all the festivities. He sat observing people of all ages blend into this mob of an occasion and he was the only one who stood out like a sore thumb in this celebration. A great white unkept beard, a cheap old sweater and faded trousers is what he wore for the party and sipped on the occasional drink that he could get his hands on because the servers almost walked past him every time.
He sat through the evening eagerly awaiting the stroke of midnight to pay his regards and head to bed… He sat in that exact corner waiting for each second to add up to the countdown of his Grandson’s birthday…
During his wait the music only grew louder with people in their elements and he gave it a thought to skip the grand cake ceremony but was exhausted by the chaos to even move.
Well, the clock finally stuck 12 and the crowd roared with wishes to pay their homage to the guest of honour for the evening and cheered on with chants that begged for a speech.
So true to the legacy of his father, George hopped on stage and grabbed the mike as he went on to thank people for coming to his birthday, he thanked his parents for paying the cheque, he was thankful for the gifts and finally thanked the DJ for making his party a wild one.
As he walked off the stage he passed the mike onto his father and said “It is only fair that you get a chance to say a few words too, after all its an opportunity to impress your business associates and I shall allow this only because I owe you your 15 seconds of gloating for paying for this gig“.
The father unmoved by his son’s comments walked to the centre of the crowd in an expensive suite and went on to wish his son in a manner that magnified his wealth and leave his associates dazzled in the process. He said that the most expensive thing that he was grateful for was not his billion dollar company, or the Ferrari he gifted his son, or his cruise liner, or his personal island; but was his son that made him feel like the richest man alive.
The speeches were over but the applaud carried through for the longest and the party continued with the old gramps struggling to get through the concert to get to his Grandson George but the crowd was too strong for him to cut into and he sat back down in disappointment that he waited this long for nothing!
A little kid playing along side him saw him burst out into tears and ran up to him worried, asking him what was wrong. He explained his helplessness and went back to fighting the rivers flowing down his cheek…
Just when he felft that all hope was lost he felt a tiny hand tap him on his knee and when he looked up was this little girl againg standing with a microphone and she said, “hey mister, don’t be sad. I tried to find your grandson and get him here but I failed, so I got you this microphone inatead so that you can call him to you”. Before the old man realised what had happened, she had vanished into the crowd without so much as having heard the words Thank you…
Grandpa sat back down with excitement as he gazed at the microphone with a smile of content, but as he was about to callout to his Grandson he had a sudden realisation that he was not even counted as part of the guest list, let alone being counting as part of the family. He realised his sacrifice of staying up to be a part of the celebration was not even valued so where would it be counted; but he still wanted to leave a message as part of his legacy for his grandson to learn from. So instead of sending his heartfelt wishes he said the following that left the audience in silence…
He said, “Hi George! Can you hear me!? I have travelled a long way from another time to see you. Well, you do not know me but I know you because I am your voice from the future.
I have seen 70 more birthdays than you and I want to gift you with what will really matters to you when you get to where I am.
When you grow to be as old as I am, you will realise that the clothes you wear are only as expensive as the dignity you want to cover.
You will realise that time is more valuable than all the money in the world and you are going to want to spend it with the people who matter.
You will realise that family means the world to you, even when you might not mean anything to them.
And finally my friend you will realise that love is even more important than air because the air you breath will only keep you living but only love will make you feel alive.
Well, I have to go now for I cannot share any more because you will have to learn your lessons the hard way and my knowledge can only take you this far, but you will have to work on your own wisdom.
The night is young little George and I want to wish you the best birthday ever, but remember that with each birthday, you lose time and the opportunity to live a complete life; so live a large life filled with little silly moments that will compete you.
I have a long journey to take as I go back to the future and I know we will meet again when you get to my age, so Bon voyage little one, your journey has just begun”
The party ended and all through this confession not a word said and no one made eye contact as they dispersed into their own lives.
George was in shock as he could not rationalise what just happened, but he had a lot to think about and came to understand that he had even more to correct in his life. He left the occasion and went straight to his room and could not help but reflect on each word his future self had left him with.
The next morning was a new sun that rose for the family, a new beginning towards the commitment of life and at the breakfast table was a family that was for the first time in years united by the want to be together instead of taking it for granted.
But there was one member missing and Grandpa who was always the first to arrive and the last to leave was not at the table.
George ran up to his room but he was not in, he even searched the entire mansion but there was no sign of him. He was worried and trembling with the fear that he might have wanderd away in his delicate state of dementia. He could not bare the thought of what the cruel world would have done to an 86 year old man and with that fear he stood staring into the garden while he called the cops; when he saw the shadow of someone at a distance.
He clumsily opened the door and ran towards this figure and his heart sank with every step towards this person because the blurred vision was beginning to come into shape and what he saw had him fall to his knees with unstoppable emotions finding their way to the surface.
He stayed there in disbelief seeing his grandfather sitting lifeless in a chain and a microphone in his hands.
Well that was the end of this story for many but I wonder how many will make it a new beginning in theirs.
Our parents and our grandparents are oceans of knowledge and their experiences are a blessing; treat them with the respect they have rightfully earned because you may not get that chance again and worst still you might be in that same chair years from now…