Stranger on the Beach
“Mummy when are we going for the holidays? Let’s go somewhere where there’s a beach,” piped Tom in the middle of his homework. “Okay! Tommy, we’ll do that. Let dad get home and then we can decide. Meanwhile, get on with your homework dear,” smiled Laura.
The holidays were approaching and Fred and Laura had decided to go out of town for a week. Tom needed some fun and Fred really needed a break. She herself would love not to have to do the household chores for some time.
The doorbell rang and Tom ran to open it. “It’s Uncle Stephen mom. How are you Uncle?” chimed Tommy pulling him inside. “Hi! there, Steve, it’s wonderful to see you. How have you been?” “Hello Laura, how are you? I’m good. I’ve come here for a special reason,” laughed Steve giving his sister-in-law a hug.
“And what might that be dear brother-in-law,” asked Laura returning the hug. “Well, I’m going with my friend Albert in his van to ‘Rocks And Beach’ the summer resort and want you three to come with us.”
“Wow Uncle! that would be so cool. Please, Mummy let’s go with Uncle Steve.” “I like the idea Steve but we can only go next week. That’s when Tom’s School will close for the holidays.”
“I had thought of that Laura. I wanted some advice from Fred about a business proposal I have received and so would stay on here with you for a week. Next week Albert will join us and we will push off.” “That sounds fine to me. Talk to your brother about it. He will be coming around six.”
Fred, on hearing about the holiday plan, agreed readily. On the coming Monday morning, Albert arrived with his van and all of them helped load the van with whatever they would require. Tom took his red beach ball and chattered happily all through the journey.
Fred and Laura both had a wonderful time during the one week stay. Albert was a very friendly guy who had a bunch of funny stories to tell in the evenings.
One morning while they were having fun on the beach, a man approached them and said – “Hello! everyone my name is Rupert and I do portraits. If any of you are interested I can sketch in an hour’s time.” Laura was most interested and sat for him immediately.
In about an hour and 15 mins, Rupert had the sketch ready. Laura was really impressed. The next in line was Fred. The man took some money hesitatingly and went away. The next day they saw him talking to another couple.
On the last day of their holiday, Laura saw Rupert sitting in one corner at the beach. She asked him if he was alright because he looked as if he had eaten nothing.
“It’s nothing, ma’am. I wasn’t lucky enough to find someone to sketch for the last 2 days hence I don’t have any money to get a bite to eat.” “Why is that Rupert? Don’t you have a proper job and family? “I once had a wonderful family ma’am and I was a successful businessman but things changed and now I have nothing.”
It turned out to be a very sad state of affairs. Rupert was a very successful man. He had an art gallery and a studio. His wife Greta was very beautiful and they were very happy. Things changed when his manager Sid double-crossed him and took over both his business and wife. Rupert had trusted him completely and had no idea that he would lose everything.
“I am very sorry to hear about your bad luck Rupert. Here, come with me and we will have breakfast together at the hotel. I won’t take no for an answer.” “Thankyou Maam, you are very kind.” They both had eggs, toast, tea and coffee and Rupert looked more cheerful.
Fred heard about Rupert and offered him a job as his Assistant Manager. “You know folks, Clarion is overly busy and tired. He could do with some help. Don’t you think Steve?” “Well yes bro, I always found Clarion flustered and worried. You would fit the bill wonderfully Rupert.”
“Thank you, Sir and you Madam. I didn’t know such kind people existed. You have solved all my problems. Thank you very much once again. I will never let you down” smiled Rupert with relief written all over his charming face.”
“I kept moving from town to town doing sketches, getting just enough to eat. I used to sleep on park benches with no shelter. All my belongings are in a box. Just give me directions to reach the town where you live and I’ll come.” “No need to Rupert. There is enough place in my van if you want to leave tomorrow with us”, said Albert. “Of course I will, thanks Al.”
Laura thought to herself that the holiday at the resort had ended on a much happier not than the start. She looked at Rupert’s relaxed face and was thankful to God that he had given them an opportunity of service to mankind.
Contributing Story Teller: Amita enjoys writing about her experiences as well as short stories for children and poems. Contact her at: [email protected]
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