The Return (Short Story)

By Anpu Mary Zachariah

You are not allowed to leave this house till I get the dowry your family promised me” . These words were constantly echoing in Julie’s ear while she was ironing her husband’s shirt. As always she opened her bible for comfort. She randomly opened the bible. This was the verse that popped up “Ask and it will be given to you,seek & you willfind,knock & the door will be opened for you”(Mathew 7:7).Doubtlessly she felt consoled. She prayed on her knessand knew that her pain will soon vanish.  
While preparing breakfast images of Jeffrey in a black and white suit waiting inside the church for his bride flashed across her mind. To this she was exceptionally smiling. In a jiffy her smile turned into a frown because today was her little brother Jeff’s wedding and she could not go.More like she was prohibited from going.The new milkman was the one who informed Julie about her brother’s marriage.
Seven years back Julie & John had taken their vows of marriage. Two days following her marriage her father’s printing press caught fire.The whole building along with themachineries turned into ashes in a few minutes. Following this horrific incident Julie’s family was bankrupt. Her father could not keep up his word in giving John the agreed share ofdowry.John took his vengeance out in a distinct manner.Tosettle scores he banned Julie from seeing her family ever since then. This  emotionally crippled her. She was now unaware of anything happening at her home. She was not even allowed to use the phone as a part of John’s revenge.
A week dragged by and one early morning there was a loud bang on the door.To julie’s surprise it was Jeff standing at the door. He had completely transformed. He had grown into a strikingly handsome young chap but his big brown eyes were still the same. The same eyes Julie had always been envious of. Julie rushed to him and hugged him so tight that he could hardly breathe. Tears gushed down from her eyes. Moments of their childhood came flooding back. A blend of countless emotions came all at one and curiosity mastered it all. No one from Julie’s family had dared to visit her because they all feared John.
Before Julie could ask him the intention of his visit ,hehanded over a piece of paper to her.By then John reached the spot. Seeing Jeff, he was outraged. John advanced to punch him. But he was not able to move his hand forward. Julie had caught John’s hand sensing his move. Before any further arguments took place she handed over that paper to John.
Suspiciously with his face full of annoyance he read what was written on that paper. A sum of rupees forty lakhs in favour of Mr.John.His eyes nearly popped out. It  was triple the amount they had promised.
At once John became conscious of his mistake. With aguilty heart he sobbed . He hugged Julie and asked her to forgive him.
Jeff took Julie by her hand and they walked to the car waiting outside for them. Jeff updated Julie on things she missed out for the last seven years.He was now working in a reputed company in Saudi Arabia. He told her how he saved every penny he got to bring her back. Julie praised the lord and thought of how fortunate she was to have a little brother with a big heart.
When she reached home she saw her whole family standing outside awaiting her return. Her parents appeared to be much older from the last time she had seen them. When her mom smiled at her she noticed that her mother’s hair which was once black was now silver.To celebrate Julie’s return her parents organised a party later that night.The whole neighbourhood welcomed Julie back with love. During the party John announced that he wants to return the money to Julie’s parents and apologised for his behaviour.  
After the party John saw Julie walking fast towards one of the rooms in the house. Curiously John followed her. He found her standing on her knees and reading the bible. There were tears in her eyes and a smile on her face. This time Julie opened the bible to the verse which read “You must be ready because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him(Luke 12.40)”
She waited all her life to return home and now that is over. But her wait is not over yet. She is still waiting but this time her wait is for the RETURN(second coming) of jesus.

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