Short Story

Chronicles of Annie

  • "Mumma, where have you hidden my Papa's gift?"  Annie asked with excitement. 
    Katherine, though busy in kitchen preparing snacks for the evening party, replied, showing curves of her lips and  smiling, "this time Papa has not sent you any , because he dint get time to find the best gift, honey". "Oh no Mumma, this is not fair" Annie replied in sad tone. 
    It was 4.00pm and Katherine completed decorating the house. Door and  staircase with white orchids and blood red roses and the undecorated area was with red and white balloons which perfectly camouflaged the flowers.
     Annie demanded to decorate full house with balloons and other colorful materials but Katherine managed to club in both the styles because she had planned something more than just a birthday party and besides, she didn't want to disappoint Annie. 
    Katherine was in kitchen preparing snacks for Annie's birthday party which was scheduled at 7.30pm . Cake was ordered from the nearby bakery. And it was supposed to get delivered by 6.30pm
    Katherine had a Forte in time management and was expertise in arrangements in parties, kitties and social functions. She was not an event manager or any professional planner but her art was well known around their vicinity.
     Neat, beautiful and always had a speck of elegance. 
    Katherine was young and dynamic , she turned 36 last month, and David, both are of same age. Both are hard working, caring and adorable couple. David serves in army and he was amongst those who got selected to report in a war- zone country.
    David was away from his family since four yrs when Annie had turned one year old. 
    David had the habit of writing letters instead of calling and face the time. He always felt, letter would the material proof of his presence in Annie and Katherine's life. Katherine always made a point to read the letters for Annie. This habit of reading out made Annie a quick learner of mother tongue and an Avid listener and reader.
     David use to write two letters in a month religiously. He used to describe his location, his new experiences, his food, friends, his mates and every other details which had impact on him. And never forgot to write one page for Annie, showering love, promising for toys and dresses. 
    Katherine accomplishes all wishes for Annie. David makes a phone call atleast once in a month. But he finds it difficult to do so because the area was  damaged by continues war and there were  no  phone facilities and even basic amenities were unavailable. Lately, mobile networks were shut down during emergencies and some towers were totally destroyed. 
    Katherine missed David alot and she always shed tears when in alone. The fear of loosing him made her strong and alert. Whenever there was a long phone ring, she identifies the caller being David , her heart starts beating faster. 
     Annie, whenever she saw her mother dull or sad,she sat besides her and tried to read letters which are sent by David. Though her command of language was not fully developed but tried to make her mother cheerful with her innocent acts. 
    But today Katherine had a different glow on her face. Her ecstasy level was so high as to reach even the Mount Everest. Annie's friends were called for her birthday party. And as always, chocolates, toys and few games were arranged for them. Annie turned five today and Katherine made a very special arrangements for everything. 
    She also arranged for bigger surprise for Annie. 
    Annie is very sensitive, understanding and a caring child and Katherine knew this, this will be her best gift ever.
    Katherine was looking heavenly beauty, dressed in her peach gown which perfectly matched her nude makeup, styled blonde hair and deep dark red lipstick. Her beauty had a different charm today. Annie in her pearl white dress, looking like an angel, was waiting near the door to welcome her friends. 
    Katherine also called their best family  friends, neighbors and few relatives.
    It was 6.00 pm and Annie's friends started arriving with their parents. Katherine by the time finished all her arrangements of the function. She gave a final call to the bakery for their three layer cake. Baker would be delivering the cake by next 20 minutes.
    Katherine made a call hiding away from crowd and was talking to someone.she was planning  something bigger which Annie did not fail to notice. 
    Annie pulled her a bit towards herself and with strict voice she said, "Mumma, why are you so busy, see my friends have come home with gifts and where Is Papa's gift?", she asked the same question.
     Katherine Caressed her nicely braided hair and kissed on her forehead said, "Darling , Papa is too busy he is not even picking up his phone". 
    Annie's excitement to see her father's gift had reached to the level of moon. Because every birthday she gets his gift without fail. But after hearing this from Katherine, she froze and her head down  with disappointed. She quietly left and sat on the couch with folded hands and was very angry. 
    Her friends tried to cajole her but she was stubborn and did not talk to anyone and little later her eyes moistened. She was very eager to meet her dad and wanted her gift from him. Katherine always told stories of David and always kept him alive in Annie's life.  David diligently brings unique gift which she always treasured them. 
    Learning about David and his missing  gift , she hardly enjoyed her birthday party.  
    Cake arrived exact in time and so their family friends around 7.30pm. Every guest bought gift for Annie. Colorful toys, flower bouquets, some bought T shirts, football and so on. Annie was wondering, why some of them bought t-shirts and football. After seeing big cake and toys, her attention got diverted to her friends and slowly she started enjoying the party. 
    Around 8.00pm, when everyone was engrossed in exchanging their greetings and enjoying each other's company,Katherine informed everyone to gather outside their house on the lawn. Lawn too was decorated with colorful lightings and small lanterns. Six well built men  carrying a huge box, were coming closer to their house., Annie was amazed to see such a huge box . Men stood near the gate,  kept the box aside and opened the gate. They carried the box inside the lawn closer to Katherine and Annie. Excitement and curiosity grew between Katherine and Annie but in different ways as Katherine knew about box and the inside part. She wanted Annie to cherish this moment and the gift forever. 
    Box came closer to Annie, and crowd too got excited , Katherine was concealing her joy and Annie Couldn't understand what was going around. Box was made up Carlton material. It was around 6 feet high. Men kept the box near Annie and left the place , wishing Annie for her birthday and saying good bye to Katherine with a grin. Katherine too reciprocated with a blush. 
    Katherine and Annie both came closer to  the box. Since it was huge, Katherine went much closer and started opening its first fold from the top with the help of wooden chair to stand.. Slowly she opened the second opening.,then she uncovered the right flap of the box. Special gift comes out from the box. The gift was none other than David himself , Annie's father . he was hiding himself inside the box. 
    Katherine and David mutually decided to surprise their baby . David had arrived in the country just four hours early and both of them planned this arrangement. 
    Seeing her father, Annie jumped out of joy and couldn't control her feelings , ran towards him, hugged him tightly and rained him with kisses. Katherine got emotional and the three hug each other with sheer joy. David returned home after four years and his joy was immense . Guests too were happy to see the complete family reunion after a long time.
    Music played on and snacks and sweets were distributed, to match the rejoice of the reunion. The cake was cut and distributed.
    David had bought a beautiful gift for Annie.THE BOOK which is his autobiography with Details as how he survived the war. And the book turned out to be the most memorable gift of her life. 
    Chaitali Agrawal


    - Chaitali Agrawal