Old Habits Die Hard

“Dad, it’s high time that you quit.”, sighed Tim quietly.

He was getting tired of his father’s obnoxious habit of drinking. Every time he came back home to visit his family, his father’s drinking habit would get on his nerves. Despite having seen his old man in the act since he was a kid, Tim never got used to it.

“If you stopped drinking and saved that money instead, you could have bought me a brand-new Rolex by now.”, snapped Tim, giving zero effort in hiding his annoyance.

Seated comfortably on the other end of the room, his father patiently listened to his son’s complaints and sipped into the glass of whiskey parched between his fingers. He was very happy that his son was finally home after a whole year. Tim barely gets the chance to visit him anymore as his final semester was overloaded with classes. So, this was a real treat for his father since Tim intended to spend the entire summer with him this year.

“Dad, I’m serious this time. If I see you drinking one more time, I promise that I will leave the house and I will never talk to you ever again.”

Tim’s father did not take that threat too seriously. However, he did decide not to drink openly in front of Tim while he is at home. Over the next few weeks, they both enjoyed each other’s company a lot. This was the first time they had so much fun together after Tim’s mom passed away last year. They went on fishing trips, long drives, and ate at Tim’s mom’s favorite restaurants to reminisce some old memories. In these few weeks, Tim never saw his father drink even once and he felt very, very proud of his old man.

The summer was going picture perfect for both of them until one day Tim woke up in the middle of the night only to find his father helping himself to a glass of whiskey. Tim became visibly livid with anger. Stunned by being caught red-handed, his father stood completely still in front of the freezer. Before his father could say anything, Tim stormed into his room like a rocket and slammed the door.

The poor old man spent the rest of the night helplessly tossing and turning in his bed, feeling extremely guilty over what he had done. He wanted to tell his son that he was sorry and that he was trying his level best to stay away from drinking. The next morning, he woke up early and rushed to his son’s room to apologize but to his utter dismay, Tim had already packed his bags and left the house. He felt absolutely heartbroken. He tried to reach Tim’s cellphone several times but to no avail.

It has been a whole year since Tim last spoke to his father. He felt angry and betrayed. He had honestly assumed that his father had given up drinking for good. But he was awfully let down when he saw his father doing that behind his back. Since the time they last spoke, Tim had graduated from college and settled down with a great job. Over the last one year, he received a letter from his father every single month, but he never opened any of them. He wanted to completely cut his father off from his life…or at least for some time.

However, for the last three months, his father’s letters had stopped coming. Tim thought that his father had probably given up trying to contact him. Then one day, he received a phone call from his uncle with some earth-shattering news – his father passed away….

Tim did not know how to process this information. Tears brimmed in his eyes as he felt completely alone in this world. Although he had not spoken with his father for the last one year, he knew, in the back of his head, that his old man was always there for him. But now, it was all over.

Tim immediately rushed to the hospital where his father died. He learnt from his uncle that his father was suffering from chronic liver cirrhosis which ultimately took his life. He felt extremely guilty for not reading the letters his father had been sending him.

“Your father fought really hard till the end, Tim. He was strong but always craved to see you one last time. He asked me to give you this box when I see you. Also, this is a note I found on his lap. I guess he was writing it when he passed away. It’s addressed to you.”, his uncle muttered.

With wistful eyes, Tim took the carefully wrapped box and opened it. He could not believe his eyes when he saw what was inside – a brand new Rolex! As his grief-stricken mind tried to make sense of all that was happening, he slowly started to read the note –

“Dear Timmy,

I am sorry I could not be the hero in your life that you always wanted me to be. My old habit always got the better of me. But for the last one year, I have not touched alcohol. For your sake. And I saved the money that I would have spent on alcohol to finally buy you the Rolex you wanted! By the time you get this note, I will probably be gone. But my prayers will always be with you. My dear Timmy, Dad always lo-”

Realizing that this was where he breathed his last, Tim held the note close to his heart and completed the sentence in a tearful whisper.

“-loves you”


Written by KAZI NIAZ AHMED (ABIR)

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