Written by Writer Yoshita and Edited by Editor Mrinali Jadhav
Thea had contacts with people who could help her find Charlie, the only known living descendant of Sam and she hoped she could find him before the end of the day.
She worried about what happened to Sam and if she could save him in any way. Thankfully her friend came in with a good news, Charlie lived in London, and her friend had contacted him on her behalf to schedule a meeting. Thea stood outside Charles Sammuel Knight’s house, a decent single-family home with a front yard being beautifully illuminated by small fairy lights. Steeling her nerves, she knocked on the door which was opened by an old lady.
Thea lightly smiled at the lady who in return gave her a charming wrinkled one. “You’re Thea, right sweetheart?” she asked “Yes, nice to meet you miss…” “Patricia”.
Patricia invited her in, a beautiful living room, mahogany table, lots of old photos on the wall. “I’ll tell Charlie you’re here and get you something to eat” Patricia left after asking her to feel comfortable and left her looking at the photos. Thea saw the whole wall filled with photos, from black and white to the latest photo of the husband-wife with their sons she assumed.
Looking above, to the oldest photos, she saw a young lady with a child, two men fishing, and a lot of ancestors finally reaching to Charlie as a baby, that’s what was written underneath the photo, the name of every person in it. She tried searching for Sam, hoping there was a picture of him. She looked again and paused, she knew it was Sam, she knew it was the same man from the photo she saw in diary randomly appearing.
Her vision blurred with tears, “That’s my Great Uncle Sam, I was named after him you know” a voice called from behind, she turned and looked and him “and I apparently look like him too, just the eyes but a prominent feature” Charlie finished. Thea cleared her throat, “Thank you for agreeing to meet me, a total stranger I know but it was important, it’s about Sam, yes, your Great-Uncle Sam.” If Charlie was surprised he did a great job hiding it, Thea thought. “I knew you’d come one day, though I started believing that maybe I was wrong to believe that it was all true and not just a silly story my grandfather told me as a child”
Charlie finished with a smile on his face while Thea’s face couldn’t conceal her shock.
My brain was in a fog, I couldn’t move but I had to do something. Picking up a pot, sitting on my right I threw it at the bulky man, hitting him on his shoulders. Anand fell on the ground while the man covered his shoulder with his hand. People had come around and the man ran away, while I rushed to Anand. Putting his head on my lap I called out his name, trying to wake him up and breaking my soul with no reply from him. Someone gave me water and flicked it across Anand’s face. I was losing hope, frantically asking Anand to wake up.
I felt Anand stir, having breathe returned to my own body I sighed, hugging him without caring what anyone would think while Anand’s weak hands wrapped around me. I held him up and took him back inside.—–It was evening now, if we didn’t leave for Bombay now we would never reach home. We left in a buggy towards Bombay, deciding to take as little breaks as possible. All this time travelling had left us tired but we had to go on and that’s what we did.It was 25th October, and we had reached Bombay, I had gone to make emergency travel document for Anand and thankfully had tickets for the ship.
Anand had gone to get food and clothes for us and promised to meet me at the port. I waited, the ship was ready to sail and we had to get in but Anand wasn’t there and I wasn’t leaving without him. I started searching, we had 30 minutes till the ship would sail. I found Anand, standing near the newspaper stall, just standing still, deep in thoughts. I rushed to him and held his shoulder, bringing him out of his daze “why are you standing here when we have a ship to board!” I shouted frustratingly. “I can’t do this, I can’t leave my country when my people are suffering” Anand whispered brokenly, and my heart broke, because I knew he was right. “You should go back home, I’ll stay here in Bombay, we’re too far away from threats now.” But I wanted to be with him and I couldn’t accept. “We can’t be together, I know what I feel for you and I’ve never felt this for anyone else and I don’t think I ever will but you, you have to go home Sam”
“I don’t want to live without you, I can stay with you here” I whispered. I knew it wasn’t possible, a notice would come for me to join back duty or go back home because I had run away. I couldn’t go back, for the threat to my life and I couldn’t stay here. We heard the Ship boarding announcement, Anand walked with me towards those stairs and waited for me to get on. I looked at him, heartbroken.
Was our bond so weak that we couldn’t fight for ourselves, I wondered, looking at him from above, he gave me a sad smile. We acknowledged that we may never see each other again, increasing the pain in my heart tenfold.The ship sailed away, leaving behind broken hearts.—Thea sat with Charlie and before she could ask him what he knew he started speaking “My grandfather used to tell me stories about his brother, step-brother who was old enough to be his father”
Charlie laughed. “He said, his brother was an officer working in India, his mother used to occasionally get letters from brother Sam and it was one day she received a letter from him where he told her that he found someone he loved, he knows no one would approve of it but he knew his mother will accept him. He also mentioned that he talked to a lady, a strange one, connect to him through an even stranger connection, his personal diary.
He told all about the person he loved and the lady, may be a witch according to my grandfather’s mother. But he lastly mentioned that maybe someday that lady will come find someone from our family living in her timeline, asking his mother to promise him that she’ll share this story with our family member, maybe so the lady could find any of us.
And you did miss Thea, better late than never.” Thea was crying, while Charlie gave her a reassuring smile. “What happened to Sam, I need to know, it says he died on 10th October 1855. I need to know how.” Charlie smiled at her and went towards the mahogany table, opening the cabinet he took out photo book. “I took this out of the basement when I was contacted by your friend asking me to meet you”.
He opened it and Thea saw a number of photos but what struck here was that they were of Sam, dated 1865, 10 years from the day Sam had supposedly died. This was not possible until and unless it was all inside of her head, but it couldn’t be. “Sam died in a Ship accident, in August 1865, he was coming home to meet his mother and his toddler brother, my grandfather. The date you saw might be wrong.”Thea sat there numbly, trying to comprehend the past few months.
Chatting with Charlie for a while she told him how she knew about Sam and showed him Sam’s diary. “We got a few belonging of Sam, that’s all my grandfather ever told me, he’d met his brother once in 1862, he was 4 then, loved the man he said, that’s why named me Sammuel. We never got his diary, it was lost in that chaos, but you finding it is a miracle.”
I couldn’t leave, I got off the ship before it could move and jumped towards Anand, who was as ecstatic as I was. Hugging each other we left the port.—-Thea sat in the guest room, Charlie and Patricia asked her to stay since it was too late for her to leave.
She held the diary hoping to get any message from Sam and only message came “I’m okay, in Bombay with Anand, and I am not dead.” No reply came after Thea wrote her message as if the line had gone completely dead, as if a conversation with Sam never existed.
Thea had decided to give the diary to Charlie but he told her that she was Sam’s friend, and he’d always want her to have it. Thea had given him a dry chuckle, not believing she’ll ever be able to talk to Sam. It had been a year since Thea had learnt about Sam from Charlie and the last time she heard from Sam herself.
She was getting dressed to go meet Charlie for the last time, he died in his sleep a night before, peacefully. She’d gotten close to his family, and met his sons, Richard and Lucas, one who was a sweet 36 year old man and the other an irritating 30 year old one but not hard on the eyes.
She got Sam’s diary from her cupboard and held it tightly, melancholy setting over her when she opened it and saw a message “Anand died a month back, 1958. He had been sick for a while, I don’t even know if you’re even able to reach this Thea because for three years I haven’t heard a single word from you.” Thea was shocked “I could not see your message, as if our connection had been severed. Oh my god Sam! I can’t tell you how hearing from you finally after ages makes me feel.” “Me too Thea, maybe we needed each other today.” “Yes, we did. I met your Great Grandnephew last year, his name was Charles Sammuel Knight”. “But I don’t have a brother or any other close cousin” Sam said.
Thea smiled “You’ll know soon” “It’s his funeral today, I was going to be with his family, they are beautiful people.” “Loving someone is one of the most beautiful feelings you can ever experience, even when you might lose them at any moment, breaking your heart but you’ll still go through the pain of losing them once and for all rather than not living without them.
You promise me Thea, when you find someone you love to this extent, you’d fight your fear to choose them because what’s love if not loving someone who loves you enough for you to look inside yourself”. Sam’s word floated through her mind throughout the day. In the evening Thea sat on the front porch of Charlie’s house when someone came, sitting next to her. “You know, you look funny when you’re sad” “And you need to stop frowning or I’ll draw lines on your forehead
Lucas Knight.” “Oh, you do love me honey, you know I know that right?” Thea shrugged while a small smile crept up on her lips.
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