French Mum, humanitarian, restless explorer and doer on sabbatical in Cebu (Philippines): one Attila in each arm, I am exploring the “toddlers safe” corners of the region, while trying to keep some room for Me.
Today’s prompt deals with a Truth Serum :You’ve come into possession of one vial of truth serum. Who would you give it to (with the person’s consent, of course) — and what questions would you ask?
“Your mission, Estelea, should you choose to accept it. As always should any member of your IMF force be caught or killed, the secretary will disavow all knowledge of your actions. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds. Good luck Estelea.”
The tape continues “you must finally bring some peace to the heart of This Gentleman. You have 2 magic powers: a truth serum and the ability to travel back in time for 3 hours”.
The picture of The Gentleman strikes me. I make a tremendous effort to hold back my tears and relax my throat. Feels so odd to see him again, and under those circumstances. My heart skips a few beats before I finally come to realize the great chance I have been given to offer this present to my belated father in law.
It is true that Henri had always been a gentleman. A happy husband and a proud father too. Maybe not the most caring and supportive father ever, but hey, how can you be a perfect father when you never knew yours? Good or bad, parents’ behavior always affect their kids. What when there is nothing but a big whole? I often caught his sad child’s looks when I was hugging my children. He once told me he would have loved to experience the love of his parents, and quickly changed the subject to his masterful adventures, “back then, when I was a sailor”.
The space machine is incredibly easy to maneuver. It hardly took me a minute to stop in this little Swiss village. Every single detail matches Henry’s descriptions: the stone house, the heavy wood door, the loud ring of the bell. When she opens the door, I recognize Henry’s mother right away. The woman he hardly met, the sinner, a mother with no husband! She is all make up and perfume, but her eyes send a different message. Her attitude says determination and arrogance. But if the eyes are the mirror of the soul, hers reflect sadness and loneliness. I know where Henri got his from.
“I have been waiting for you. Please come up, and ask your questions”.
As agreed, I gave her the serum. A pure formality, she wants to talk anyway. But she insists on getting the potion so no one would question her words. I turn on the voice recorder:
“So tell me the story of Henry. Who is his father? Why do you tell the neighbors he is your nephew, but can not give up on him?”
Her blue eyes turn grey. She clears her throat and unfold her story. An all too human story of passion, broken dream, shame and regrets. In the darkness of her memories, there are flickering candles. The repressed love of a mother for her unique child. As her story goes, the chains that bound her heart are finally melting. No more shame, no more disguise. She is finally free to declare her love to her son.
My time with her is up. I still have 10 minutes before the time machine dissolves. Just enough to find Henry and give him the tapes. I don’t know where young Henry could be, but I know the garden where the 85 years old gentleman should be back in 2010. I can’t wait to see his smile again.
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