Mr. Toby Twain and his grandson Robert moved to Canada from New York city in 1931. This generation of chemists, owned a successful business in America but the shattering Great Depression of 1930s took away the dreams and hopes of millions including them, causing nation wide migration.
Canada was not spared in these troubled times and the Twain family had to go through difficult initial years in their new country.
On one such August evening of 1935, aged Mr. Toby was sitting in his rocking chair on the narrow front porch of his house looking through the uneven roads, when he saw his 23-years old grandson returning home early.
Robert had managed to find some work in a chemical factory where he was paid scarcely.
The grandfather caught his grandson’s troubled look from afar.
Robert slowly climbed the steps and was going inside the house but instead turned and sat quietly next to Mr. Toby. He took out his boots and began rubbing off the sticky mud from its leather sole.
“Grandfather, why is it that when some of us need love, others become full of rage ?” asked Robert with sadness.
After a pause, he resumed.
“Today, my friend Mark, went to the supervisor’s office to ask for a little advance payment so that he could feed his family of 5 children. But the supervisor laughed at him, bruised him and threw him out of the office. Mark did not have the money to even bandage himself. I took him to the nearby clinic and told him to go home for the rest of the day.
But an hour later, Mark went inside the supervisor’s office and killed him with a knife.
I tried to reason with the police but they took him.
The thought of his family pains me, deeply.” said Robert in a worried tone.
After a while.
Mr. Toby turned to Robert.
“My dear boy, from the time your parents died, I tried my best to give you a good life. I never intended for you to see this agony.
But I have no control over destiny and I will not be around you, forever. “
said Mr. Toby with concern.
Robert turned to his grandfather and looked at him.
Mr. Toby continued.
“We have no control over the situations in which we grow up but once we become old enough to understand the world and its ways, we do not learn that we have a choice, in the way we do, what we do.”
There was a brief pause.
“Because somewhere along,
we become lost and so, we ignore,
we invite greed and so, we keep,
we gather hate and so, we kill,
and in the end,
we forget to live and so, we die.”
Tired eyes turned to the birds returning home under the beaming warmth
which soon melted in the palms of the dark skyline,
with an unspoken and helpless silence …