One tiring day, after Alfred finished his shift, he walked out of the office to head back home.
It was a hot sunny day until lots of clouds began to gather and it got gloomy. Soon, it began to thunder. It rained cats and dogs. Alfred zipped his bag open, pulled out his umbrella and started walking joyfully towards his house. His car had broken down on the way, and he had to walk in the rain to get home.
Suddenly, he heard a loud noise. Right then, he saw the telephone tower burst into flames! All the bright light from the nearby houses went off at once. He braved the painful storm for almost three hours.
Due to the heavy rainfall, the roads were blocked with water and a few streets were washed out on the way. Considering all of this, he had to find an alternative route to his lovely home. This route included lots of hurdles too. He had to walk through muddy farms, jump over dirty water puddles, and swim through a stinky swamp. And to top it off, his umbrella wore out as he made it through all of this.
After Alfred crossed all the hurdles, he was pleased to see he was nearing home.
Alfred realised he had to find an alternative to cover himself from the rain, as his umbrella was ruined. He began to feel cold from being drenched in the rain and he felt really confused about the situation he was in.
He sat down on the nearby pavement because he was tired after the long swim through the swamp. Alfred began to feel thirsty, so he picked up his backpack to take out his water bottle. He was so thirsty, he drank all the water at once. He also realised there was a garbage bag in his backpack. He pulled it out, covered his head with it, and began walking towards his house again. On his way back home, he saw a few houses that were completely destroyed by the storm.
He had a beautiful house. It was painted bright yellow and the flooring was made of Italian marble. The Italian marble was kept so tidy, it would hurt his eyes every time he looked at it. The house was also filled with very expensive and valuable items, like showpieces made of glass and precious collections of antique pieces from a variety of countries like China, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, and Hong Kong. Alfred liked to collect these items as a hobby.
These antique pieces were Alfred’s most prized possessions. He called his house his ‘three towers’. However, this day was one that he had never anticipated.
After the long walk in the rain, he reached his house only to see it had become dilapidated. Alfred screamed!
“Oh no! What do I do now? I don’t have any shelter, or any supplies! Where do I go?” he cried.
Alfred was bankrupt. The savings he had was gone, and now, so was his house. The only money he had was what he had left in his bank account, and with that, his monthly income.
Alfred was heartbroken. More than the money, Alfred was sad to hear his family had left him alone during the storm. What hurt the most was realising his family had not bothered to give him a single call during this time.
Alfred decided to collect all the money he had and put it to some use. Right then, his friend called him and told him two very important things. The first thing he told Alfred was that he could spend the night in his house, and the second thing he told him was about a call he had received from Alfred’s wife.
His wife had told Alfred’s friend what happened on the day of the storm, before they left home without Alfred.
Alfred’s wife, Ava, had gone to the school to pick up the children, but when she came home, she saw their house was destroyed. Immediately, she took the children and went to her mother’s house. Unfortunately, Alfred had never been to Ava’s mother’s house.
Sadly, by the time Alfred’s friend asked Ava where the house was, the line had gotten cut. Alfred and his friend tried redialing Ava’s number, but they could not hear each other very well. The phone lines had been damaged because of the storm. They weren’t able to get any other information.
“I think I’ll have to figure out a way back home. Luck is not on my side today,” Alfred told his friend and hung up. Alfred let go of the past and figured out a way to survive the night.
“Brave up!” Alfred said to himself. “No, this is not the time to feel sorry for what is happening around you!”
The harsh storm had blown Alfred’s umbrella away and he did not have any food or shelter, but Alfred did not let himself feel down. He had dug into his pocket and backpack. He gathered all the money from his backpack and counted it – he was left with a sum of $10.45. While he found this money, he also found a garbage bag in his backpack. He screamed with joy!
“Woohoo!” he yelled, “This could help me!”
What could he use this garbage bag for, he wondered, until he thought of a wonderful idea. He thought of using the bag as a shield against the rain. He used the garbage bag as an umbrella and found a decent place to spend the night on the outskirts of the city. It had been a rough and tiring night!
Speaking to himself, he said, “ I wish my three towers were still around. Gosh, I feel devastated even thinking about it. Those were the best times! I had loads of memories in that house. I hope one day I can get it all back!”
Alfred found a way to his mother-in-law’s house by finding one of his closest friends who knew about his situation. He had found out that Ava and his friend were classmates in school, while Alfred and him were classmates in college. Finally, Alfred reached his mother-in-law’s house. He narrated the difficulties he had faced to reach there.
In a pitying voice, his mother-in-law said, “This is a very sad incident, but luckily you are all okay! Why don’t you have a nice hot shower? You should feel better! Dinner will be ready by then.”
His in-laws felt sad for him, so they offered to let him and his family stay in their house until they saved money to rebuild the three towers.
Finally, he was at a place where he was able to relax with his family and forget about all the work he had. A place that helped him unwind. A place where he didn’t have to stress over anything. A place where he felt welcome. He finally had space for himself – where there were no arguments, only fun, and entertainment. A shelter that kept him safe from the rain, harsh storms, etc… What could be worse than losing a place like this?
Suddenly, Alfred heard his mother-in-law across the table scream.
“Wake up, wake up!” she was saying. Out of nowhere, he felt himself shaking, involuntarily. Before he knew it, he was in his bed with his mother standing next to him.
“Wake up Alfred! It’s time for your jog,” she was saying, shaking him up from his deep sleep.