I Was Going Home

A story about a man going home after twenty years

Hassan Siddiqui
ILLUMINATION
Published in
3 min readAug 11, 2022

--

Photo By Rowan On Unsplash

I planned to go to the hotel I had never visited before. I was happy and hungry, too. I entered it and sat at a decorated table and began looking for the staff. I was about to stand up to see where the people were, but then I saw a young waitress coming toward me. As she reached my table, in her soft voice, she greeted me and gave me the menu to select a meal. I ordered two plates of chicken noodles. When she served my meal, I asked her if she had eaten dinner. She replied she eats at home. I requested her to eat with me tonight and informed her that this second plate of noodles is for her. She was confused, so I explained to her it is my rule that whenever I visit a restaurant; I invite one waiter or waitress to eat with me and I pay the bill. She said she is on duty and cannot take leave.

I went to her manager, gave him some cash, and bought some time for her. We sat down to eat.

“Why do you have meals with restaurant staff? She inquired.

I replied to her that I enjoy doing good deeds and making people feel good. She smiled at my answer. I was curious, so I encouraged her to tell me about how she felt at her job. “Terrible”, this was her answer. She told me she has been a worker in this restaurant for the last 5 years, but no one ever wanted to know about what she felt. Her eyes were shining when she was speaking.

I asked her what she would like to do if she left this waitress job. She said she always wanted to be a writer but never got the chance to make this dream happen. I offered her I am ready to hire her to write my biography and I will pay her 10 times more per month than her salary here. And she will get a separate room in my office to do this work. “I am feeling that all this is a dream and not reality,” she expressed excitedly. I suggested she resign from her job today and join my office tomorrow. She was wondering why I was bestowing so much kindness on her. She couldn’t help herself and ask,

“Why you are doing all these things for her?”

I took a deep breath, looked into her eyes, and told her I was her father. She was shocked. She didn’t believe me because what she knew was I was dead. We were seeing each other after twenty years. I was in another country. Twenty years ago when I went there, just after a few days of my arrival, a big long war began and many people were killed in it. My family thought I was also dead because they lost contact with me and didn’t get any news about me. I also couldn’t contact them because my mobile phone in which all numbers were saved got missed somewhere. I lost my job too and lived in very miserable conditions. The condition of that country was so bad and it took me twenty years to build myself and become capable enough to come back. I arrived here three months ago and during these three months, I searched for my family and today I found out that my daughter works in this restaurant to feed herself and her mom. So today I came here to surprise her by having dinner with her. In these three months, I set up my office, bought a home, and a nice car to start a new life with my family. I told my whole story to my daughter and now she was having tears in her eyes, my heart was melting too. We both stood up from our chairs, I opened my arms wide, she stepped ahead and hugged me tightly, and a sea of tears came out. We wiped each other’s tears, escaped from the hotel, sat in the car and I began driving. After twenty years, finally, I was going home.

--

--

Hassan Siddiqui
ILLUMINATION

Hassan is a heartfelt thinker who believes in the power of the written word to inspire action and enlighten our lives. He is the author of Twenty Bright Paths.