“Barrow, also known as Utqiaġvik, a city in northern Alaska is the only place in the world that experiences 67 days of darkness yearly,” father was saying when suddenly, with no expectance, an upsetting knock came from the door.
“Who could that be?” I muttered.
“Akila, go and see who’s at the door,” father ordered.
One thing I hated the most aside from being disturbed while eating my favorite food was getting distracted at the middle of the ‘Did you know? session’ anchored by father every evening. Moreover, that very day was a full moon and we had expected to be told a fantasy story for dessert.
“Just break the door! Show us how strong you are!” I barked.
“Akila! What was that for?”
Father was a very nice person, but one thing he had never tolerated was our being disrespectful to others. I opened the door to a fat, short, raggedly faxed and funny looking man. His pot belly pushed through the loosened buttons of his stocked-in shirt. It was difficult but I managed to hold myself not to laugh to his face.
“Hello dear, little one.”
“Huh? Who are you calling little? I’m not little.”
“I know. But what if I tell you that I have what will keep you this young forever? And ever! Well, I do have.”
I couldn’t believe what my ears heard that very moment; and how on earth was that possible? Who he was I had no idea. Father had showed me and my brothers every single relative we had, but that strange fellow was never among those individuals. Besides, he looked more like a stand-up comedian and had the shape of one of those casts in the movie ”Mr Bones.”
“What do you mean by that?” I asked.
“Take me to your father, I will only explain in his presence.”
When I took him to father, he said the same thing he told me: that he had a cure for aging, and we can remain young forever. Father was amazed by the man’s vision of ageless future, even though he—the man—was more serious than he looked.
“Sir, I am the traveler, a seeker of knowledge and I have the knowledge you seek.”
“But Mr. Man, we don’t even know you, how am I sure that you are not even an armed robber trying to harm me and my children. Please before I call the police, leave!”
Father dragged him by the shirt and swung him out through the door. He was rough-handled out of the door just like the way the police rough-handled my brother when he led the school riot on ‘Education for all’, instead he got caned for all. It wasn’t his fault though, the riot was supposed to be a peaceful one, until the thugs among them threw insults and stones at the on-guard police men. When things got over heated, my brother tried to be the hero of the event and confronted the police to apologise. Before he could utter a word he heard a loud sound and then saw galaxies before he collapsed to the ground. What happened next was him been treated as a renounced criminal.
My brother’s riot story is a tale for another day. Father threatened to call the police on the traveller. But before he left he threw his half-chewed cookie at father.
“You will regret this, sir, I promise you,” he clamored before left.
Father’s dog rushed and ate up the cookie. The cookie that kept him young till date. It’s been fifty years since the traveller visited us and we had never saw or heard of him ever since he left. I am a grandmother now, a mother of a forty years old daughter and the new master of father’s ageless dog.