The red suitcase . . !


WHERE did you find it?” he asked sharply. “In your mother’s room while we were cleaning up!” his maid said, looking scared as she watched him staring at the suitcase, she was placing in his fancy sitting room. He looked at the red suitcase, “Did she have to choose such a garish colour?” he asked himself, and then saw his phone buzzing. It was an unknown number, and out of sheer curiosity he picked it up, “Hello?” he said.

“Uncle it’s me, your niece!” said a timid voice at the other end, “Mummy told me to invite you for my wedding this Saturday.” He was fed up with these relatives who called, for every function they never stopped having, “No,” he said, “I’m busy!” He switched off his phone and shook his head, all they wanted from him was for him to come with an open wallet and he’d be dammed if he was going to waste money on another one of them.

And then he saw the suitcase and remembered the garish red, “I had no bag of my own to put my things!” his mother had said so many decades ago, “So I picked this box from a second hand shop, gave it a coat of red and…” “You did what?” he asked his mother. “I painted it red, and then your father and I put all our things in and came to this city!” she had said proudly, “And here his relatives looked after us!”

He walked over to the suitcase and picked it, he held it high and looked for tell-tale brush strokes. They were there. “Not a neat job!” he thought to himself, “But ma was no painter!” And he smiled remembering her. The wedding celebrations were just about to begin, when the Mercedes drove up. The bride and bridegroom looked from the makeshift stage where they were seated and the bride gasped, “It’s uncle! He’s come!” she said. “Which uncle?” asked her new husband, “I didn’t know you had a rich uncle!” She watched as he stood in line to greet them, and wondered what he carried in the brand-new suitcase he gave her, “It’s everything that you’ll need to set up house!” he told the puzzled couple.

When he went home, he saw that his mother’s old red suitcase, occupied pride of place in his bedroom, “I even put some cash in the inside pocket, a small down payment for a home of their own!” he told the suitcase. Somewhere in the great beyond, his dad and mom smiled at each other, “You were never good at painting!” said his dad to his wife. “Well it did bring out the best in our son!” she said, as their son gingerly touched the rough brush marks of the red suitcase and wondered how he’d ever forgotten his roots..!


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