Submitted into Contest #99 in response to: Write a story about characters going on a summer road trip.... view prompt


Fiction Happy People of Color

A newly radiant sun has jumped out from the arms of spring to wrap all the creatures into the warmth of summer. The summer showcases the dancing sunflowers, crimson poppies, the buzzing bees, darling daisies, the little hummingbirds flapping wings rapidly and not to forget that cute and greenish caterpillar crawling and creeping merrily munching the fresh viridian leaves of the summer plants. The sky is blazing blue and the chrome yellow sun is in full swing to celebrate the brightness of summer.

Hugan family too, is very busy today. They are about to go for a summer road-trip with great vigor and enthusiasm. Mrs. Hugan is yelling and screaming but nobody is giving a heed to her. 

“Gary!! What on earth are you doing? Come over here and give a hand or two.” yelled Helen Hugan.

Gary came running with dismay and asked with a shaky voice “darling I am very afraid. What do you need my hands for? Are you going to fry or steam or bake?”

Helen stood in apprehension for a while and then both of them laughed their heart out. 

The kids; Tim and Tara too joined their parents in the chuckle.

Mr. Bob, a neighbor, was passing by when he heard their laughter. He raised his voice a little and asked “hey!! Gary what’s up? Where are you all up to so early in the morning today?”

“A road trip Bob. Do you wanna accompany us?” asked cheerful Gary.

“Oh no….. Not today. I am off to my office. Have fun. We’ll catch up in the evening.” Bob said and walked away.

Gary was waiting at the door of the van. He said “come on kids get in. Helen we are getting late.”

When they got in the van the sun affirmed to brush up their faces with its glow and shine. And the four beaming faces began their journey with thrill.

The little one, Tara, asked “dad how long it will take to reach the lake?”

The elder one, Tim asked synchronizing with his sister’s question “mom will there be crocodiles in the lake?”

Helen willingly answered to both of them together “it will take 2 hours Tara and Tim, there are no crocodiles but yellow, little ducklings queuing behind their mother. Stay attentive kids whenever you hear the train honking, presume we are close to the lake.”

“Mom where are the watermelons? I am hungry.” said Tara coming closer to her mom.

“Hey look over there!!” exclaimed Gary.

“Can you see the sunflowers? They are so many, all swinging and dancing with the wind. Aren’t they beautiful?”

“Yes daddy they are wonderful. They are so very yellow. Yellow is my favorite color.” said Tara jumping with joy.

Tim was silently gazing outside. He asked abruptly “dad what are those? Those round golden balls all over there on the grass?”

Gary looked at the direction of Tim’s index finger and said “ah!! Those are Billy buttons. They are my favorite.”

 Everyone has sunk deep in the beauty of summer landscape. No one is talking. Tim and Tara are busy discovering new things and Helen sat with her eyes closed absorbing the humid, mushy, summer breeze deep inside her skin. Somewhere near a woodpecker is relentlessly pecking a tree. The green meadows looked glossy in the summer sun and the daffodils and daisies enhanced the beauty of mother Earth just like decorative wall hangings in an enormous living room.

Tara jumped with astonishment and said “mom look, is that a gold finch?”

Helen looked towards the direction of Tara’s eyes and saw a small bird singing on one of the branches of the oak tree. She said “No honey it’s a Robin. They are amazing singers. Stay calm, close your eyes and listen carefully.”

The children warily listened to the singing Robin but suddenly it flew away.

A distant honking of the train made the kids jump from their seats with thrill. Tim and Tara together started shouting “mom dad there comes the train. We heard the honking. We are about to reach the lake.”

Both the kids were dancing and jumping in anticipation.

“There we can see the lake. It’s so massive and beautiful.” shouted Tara.

The sunny afternoon changed into vermillion twilight with a fabulous lunch and the children playing with the ducklings and fishing by the cobalt lake. It was time to return back home with a heart full of memories of a pleasant summer road-trip.

Bob was returning home from office. It was a very frantic day for him today and he was late for home. That is when he noticed the Hugan family sleeping peacefully in the van. Bob stopped by them for a while, his eyes moved to each of their faces. Their faces looked tranquil, happy and glowing with harmony. Bob smiled and walked towards his home. Bob’s wife Jeremy was up waiting for her husband. She welcomed him with a smile and asked “you seem to be happy today. Did you meet the Hugans on the way?”

Bob fetched a glass of water and sat on the sofa. He drank quickly and said “you are right.”

Jeremy asked “what was their story for today, same old one or something exciting?”

Bob scoffed and said “you will be amused if you know what they did today.”

Jeremy grabbed the seat beside Bob and looked at him with wonder.

Bob continued “they went on a road-trip. Can you imagine that?”

Jeremy was awestruck. She said few seconds later “it’s unbelievable. How do they do this every time? And the weirdest part, even their kids participate in their insanity.”

Bob exhaled a deep sigh and said “no Jeremy it’s not insanity. They have learnt the tricks from their parents to stay happy under any circumstances. Today when I crossed the alley I heard some really loud noises from their shack house. I saw Gary outside the shack smiling and waving at me like every day. I asked him what the noise was all about, he said they are planning for a road- trip as the summers are here and they want to begin the summer with a long drive. He looked so excited knowing the truth that they are actually not going anywhere. How can someone be happy merely with imaginations and fantasies? The Hugans are the epitomes themselves.”

Jeremy was listening quietly, overwhelmed and surprised.

“I was wondering that how might they have imagined a distant road-trip? At the end of the day their faces were beaming with satisfaction and peace. That was conspicuous on their faces Jeremy, when I saw them sleeping in solace in that abandoned, broken van near the park. Their journey obviously was a sham but their happiness wasn’t. It was real, truly bona fide.” Bob said with calm eyes. 

“Hmm…… regardless of a sound job, wholesome salary, handsome amount of bank balance, a big house and a car; we never made anywhere out of our box. We never went for a holiday or a trip. We are always running after money and savings and nothing apart of that. Are we even happy Bob?” Jeremy’s voice choked. Her eyes were wet.

Staring at the floor Bob said “once I asked Mrs. Hugan about this ‘imagination’ thing, she replied in a very simple manner that they don’t just imagine or role play, they feel it deep inside their skin, they live every character from heart, they feel the happiness from within. That doesn’t mean they are not aware of their situation. But, they never allow their paucity to rampage their happiness. If this short tour to a fantasy world wipes out their sorrows for a moment, then there’s nothing wrong in it.”

Bob and Jeremy sat still and quite for pretty long while.

Then Jeremy leaned her head on Bob’s shoulder and said “how about a road-trip in the sunny summer with breezy winds Bob?”

Bob smiled and said “fantasy or factual?”

Both of them together said “doesn’t matter.”

June 21, 2021 16:16

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