Monday, August 03, 2009

Mother's Day

Neil looked at his watch again. He was almost late for the lunch meeting with his client. It was a Sunday, and his client lived in the other corner of the city, but who cared about these miniscule details any more? It was all about keeping clients happy so that they feed money to the corporation you work for to grow larger and pay you more so that you could slog more without complaining.

A short distance away, Neil saw a billboard wishing all mothers in the city a happy mothers’ day. Neil cursed himself for forgetting it and decided that since he couldn’t be sure of meeting her today, he would send her some flowers. He stopped at a flower shop to place an order for a bouquet of lilies to be sent to his mother who lived in the town two hundred miles away.

As he got out of his car he noticed a young girl sitting on the pavement sobbing. Neil asked her what was wrong and she replied, "I wanted to buy a red rose for my mother. But I only have seventy-five cents, and a rose costs two dollars. Neil, ready to do anything to assuage his heart of guilt over not meeting his mother on this special day, smiled and said, "Come in with me. I'll buy you a rose."

He bought the little girl her rose and ordered flowers for his own mother. As they were leaving, he offered the girl a ride home. She said, "Yes, please! You can take me to my mother." She directed him along a beautiful road lined by green trees and white picket fences beyond which lay hundreds of graves with marble tombstones. They reached the gate of the cemetery. She promptly got out of the car, ran into the cemetery and tenderly placed the rose on a freshly dug grave, so as to not hurt her mother.

Neil looked on with surprise. He felt ashamed for prioritizing his job over his mother, the woman who had made him what he was today. He stroked the girl’s head, turned back and returned to the flower shop. He canceled his order, picked up a bouquet and drove the two hundred miles to his mother’s house to tell her how much he loved her.