It was Tom’s birthday. His mother decorated the home with balloons. Tom turned eight years old that day. He sat in front of his cake, with a knife in his hand. It had white icing, chocolate chips and seven colorful candles. His friends poured in with gifts. Tom’s uncle came as well. He had a huge gift in his hand. Tom couldn’t wait to cut the cake and open the presents. He cut the cake as everybody sang the birthday song. The cake was devoured within minutes.
After everybody left, Tom opened his presents. He got a remote controlled car, a small slate that sang rhymes, a Lego box set, a baseball bat and ball and a few other gifts, which he realized could have been recycled from their friends’ birthday gifts. Tom tried to lift his uncle’s gift, but it was too heavy for him. The cardboard box had big holes on four sides. He tore away the cover and wondered if it was a pet. He wanted a beagle.
Tom opened the cardboard box. He found a Bonsai inside the box. Tom was disappointed. His mother looked at the gift and said, ‘Oh look! What a pretty Bonsai your uncle gave you. Let me help you carry it to your room. Let us keep it near the window so that it gets enough light to grow.’
Tom pushed the Bonsai away from him and said, ‘I want a puppy.’
Tom’s mother replied, ‘I know it my dear. A puppy will be a lot of work for me.’
‘No, it will not! I will feed it. I will take it for walks. I will clean up after it. There is no need for you to do any extra work.’
Tom’s mother ran her hand across his blond hair, which always pointed up, and looked into his big brown eyes. She said, ‘I know how much you want it. Let’s make a deal. You keep your room clean all year and I will get you a beagle next year.’
Tom’s mother took the Bonsai to his room, and placed it near the window. Tom was angry. His uncle should have understood better. He took out his anger on the Bonsai and tore a small branch, when his mother wasn’t looking. Tom went to sleep, thinking about a name for his imaginary pet beagle.
The next morning when Tom woke up, he found mud tracks in his room, as though something walked around the room with wet muddy shoes. He wondered who that could be. He followed the tracks. They went all around his bed, to his cabinet where he stored his toys. All the toys were thrown around. For a moment, Tom speculated, if it was a thief, who came in from his window. Why would the thief search in his toy cupboard? May be one of his friends’ played a prank on him. Whatever the reason, he had to clean up the room before his mother saw it; otherwise his pet would be delayed by another year.
To be continued…Part 2 tomorrow.
The Bonsai, which Tom got as his birthday gift.
Image from google images