“I’m sorry but we need to let you go, we hope that you can find a better job out there,” said Mr Pankerton to me while his hand on my shoulder tried to explain something bitter.
I felt cold and hot at the same time. I had never thought that a little scandal could kick me from my position; it was a missed tax planning in Mrs Jeenes’ corporation. Not a little one actually, but who can always be running correctly? We run and we stumble, that’s how life works, isn’t it? I didn’t know what I had to say but sat on my table where pressure had come out to my life for six years. So many to-do lists that left uncompleted, it was when you realized you didn’t jump fully. Well, at the same time I was thankful enough, my next meeting with my next client would be cancelled − yes, that meeting coincided with my mother’s birthday.
This made me so confused about how should I say that I was fired to my mother. It’s hard to let the one you love down. And I hoped that she had not boasted about me to her neighbours exaggeratedly, especially to Mrs Helfworth, her biggest rival of all time since her childhood.
Actually Tom, the only son of Mrs Helfworth has a preferably life than me, but somehow my mother is always on my side – and sometimes it was bad to be too good. You know, words are unforgettable.
“Are you fired?” said Kath, sadness showed in her brown eyes kept tears not to fall.
“Unfortunately, yes. How about you?” I know that I shouldn’t ask her so but the words fell out.
“Yeah, future can’t be predicted, eh?” she tied her hair with her yellow ribbon.
“What will you do next?” I ask to her as I meant to myself.
“I will start writing my novel, and apply to be an editor in magazine I guess,” yes as I know she was not interested in accounting anyway.
“It’s awesome to be multitalents, right?” I mumbled.
“Sometimes it’s hard for me to find the real me to be honest, I like all of them but not outstanding on them. But you are really passionate in accounting, right? Trust me it feels better, Bradley,” answered her as she tidied her stuffs up.
I walked out through the door and looked around to memorize this place for maybe I could never see this place where bittersweet memories were drawn in my mind. ‘Life must go on’, that’s what people say. It was the day when I really know what it means.
As the days were counted, I had given my CV to some companies, but no one contacted to interview me. Worse, my mother’s birthday was getting closer. I had bought some gifts to may console her, although I know she doesn’t like surprise moments. However she would not be disappointed since I had savings. Having thought so much, I fell asleep in my flat. The power outage made me wanted to lie on my bed all day.
Suddenly I awoke with my body turned around from my first position – it is always like that anyway. Then I checked my phone, there were 8 missed calls from my mother. It was really horror, I mean it. Immediately, I called my mother.
“What were you doing, Brad?” she even spoke to me first.
“Brad? Are you okay?” said my mother. She always worries about me since I moved to Queensland.
“I don’t think that it is the right time to tell you this, but when I move to Goolwa, I will tell you about this,” I said fearly.
“Wait, pardon me? Move? Finally you want to live with your mother,” she said with teasing tone.
“We always talk about this, I have always wanted to live with you, but I have to work here,” I tried to calm myself when I remembered that I have been fired, so she would not be angry.
“So now? You don’t have to work again?” I was caught.
“I will tell you later, I have something to do. Bye, love you,” I am a good son, I know. As you know, literally I don’t even have a thing to do but surfing in internet to get job.
Well, I worked in a restaurant part-time to earn some money for that time.
And the day came; I went to my small town where I was born. The memories of my childhood replayed on my head about how I was rose with my mother. I can still remember when the hot summer breezed; I wore my favourite blue T-shirt ran on coastline. Soon, I arrived in front of my old white house.
“Anne is visiting Mr Norville, her husband in cemetery,” said a fifty-years-man besides my house. I tried to recognize him.
“Mr Thomson? Is that you?” he is like my father for me because I lost my father since I was 3 years old.
“My Bradley Hugo Norville! Long-time no see you boy. You have grown bigger,” he hugged me so tight that I couldn’t breathe, he was still the same, so enthusiastic.
We talked about life in his terrace, sat on a brown chair with coffee. How life punched him many times, so am I. I have never been in such a leisure time when I worked. My mother came after minutes we sat down talking about Mr Thomson’s bulldog. I ran to her, left my bags behind. Her pale flower dress was blown by the air as she ran with all of her strength. We had not met for I was busy with my job as an accountant.
She opened me the door while my hands were full of my bags that I left and Mr Thomson tried to help me carried my bags too. We came in, and she started to cook a turkey for us whilst we have some conversation. Well, I still afraid when they talk about my job. However they had to know, didn’t they?
I showed the gifts that I had bought as a ‘painkiller’. There were bracelets and earrings that were made by diamond with titanium held it. These what my mother always wanted. She smiled when she found it out, her smiles are my favourite. She tried it on her hands and ears. I didn’t bring her necklace for I know that she would never change her necklace. It was a gold necklace from my father with initial ‘DM’, stood for ‘Douglas Marianne’, the name of my parents. Even when it fell in Town Down Under bicycle tour, she searched for it in all the way of tour. She really loves it, for it is the only memory that she can reach.
Finally, I told what did Mr Pankerton said. The ‘painkiller’ didn’t work though; I saw them felt disappointed with me. But again, Mr Thomson came like an angel. He used to work in an accountant company that had bankrupted, but he knew another firm that was opening registration for employees. However, I don’t have any passion but accounting. Sounds weird, but it’s right.
The night came and we ate the turkey, it was a little bit salty actually but it was better than my dinner in flat. And then, my mother looked so panic.
“Where is it?” her eyes opened wide and saw around.
“What are you looking for?” said Mr Thomson.
“My necklace, what is more worth than it?” she said a little bit louder than usual, it was really important for her.
Our dinner was interrupted with that hide-and-seek. “Can we just continue our dinner?” I said softly.
“What do you think? It is not as simple as you think!” she crawled around the table.
“I know, I know, I love father, but he is not a necklace,” somehow I wanted to say it.
“You can say that I’m crazy, I don’t even care,” she cried her eyes out.
“I’m sorry mom,” I hugged her, tried to calm her down.
When I hugged her, I heard a sound. The necklace was beside of our knees. Seems like a drama, but it’s real. I took it and draped that necklace to her neck. It was a hard day for us.
On the next day, about 9 PM, Mr Thomson knocked the door to remind me that I had to give my CV to the Human Resource Department in Rowan Tax Company, the firm that he told me. I wore my maroon shirt and tie, and got ready for another denial – I didn’t hope it though.
I took train alone, and my mother with Mr Thomson waved their hands to me just like to a 10 years boy who wanted to go to summer camp, it was embarrassing. However it was the way they showed their love. On the way there, I was so excited yet terrified about what would come next. I practiced to spoke to myself, I wasn’t good in speaking and expressing my mind, and I got nervous so easily. Well, one of my friends said, “practices make perfect”. I’m still not good in drawing although I drew so much anyway, but it’s worth to try.
Tick tock, I saw my watch and the train stopped. I walked to the company with map that Mr Thomson drew, a little bit confusing but it was helping enough. People passed me by and I was still searching that Rowan thingy.
After walked around the same statue and tree four times, I saw a big sculpture written “Rowan Tax Company”. Thank God I was not mossy. I opened the big door, came to the receptionist. I thought she was not in a good mood at that day, she got wrath when I asked about the HR three times – she didn’t tell me clearly, how could I understand her?
I waited a long time just to give my CV to them, there was no important to be remember there. They just asked me some basic questions, but you know how HR is awesome in checking applicants in the first sight.
It was 12 PM so I decided to go to cafe near the company, and hoped that I wouldn’t stray again. The hot heat rose after a cold caught me when I gave my application form. I need food.
When I went to that not-so-little cafe, I saw a guy looked exactly like me, just about 30 years older. He wore a tidy blue shirt, drank a coffee with his friends. So I chose to sit beside his table, overheard their conversation. One thing that I knew, he was an accountant who worked in Rowan Tax Company. And they talked about their boss, how mean but kind at the same time.
Then I remembered that I had to order some foods, yes I had to.
It is not the important part about what I ate. What I want to tell is, I saw the necklace that my mother wore. The one that looked like me wore it. “How can a strange man wore the same necklace with my mother, is it my father? My mother told me that he has died in a car accident. So who is he?” I wondered.
So I called my mother, I asked her. And her voice trembled.
By Yosua Iskandar from Indonesia