I received an unexpected call from one of my schoolmates.
“My daughter and son-in-law are passing through your city, and are new to the place. They might call you if they need something.”
“Sure”, I muttered through my breath, “they are welcome anytime.”
My head was buzzing – a married daughter? He was not old enough to have one. The last that I heard about him was that his wife of one week had annulled the marriage, and walked out. I hoped he had remarried and settled down. Maybe, the daughter he mentioned was a foster child. Good for him …
He was a college dropout, who did not settle down in any job for long, and was known as one who wasted his life. He opened up a little more on a subsequent call.
“You remember the little girl in my house who called me Uncle? My mother had adopted a child who was not wanted by her divorced parents. After my parents passed away, neighbors made snide remarks about the girl living in the same house with me. Some accused her of being my illegitimate child.
I married her off to a boy settled abroad. It was the only way to keep her away from shadows of her past. During the marriage ceremony, the priest asked for the father to give away the bride. I told him that I am the father, brother, uncle, friend and mentor … all that she has. I gave her away….”
I was happy he could not see my eyes welling up with tears. It was not a wasted life, after all. He had done his bit to build another life.