PROMPT:"...I [was] eager to escape backward again, to be off to invent a past for the present." -The Rose Rabbi by Daniel Stern
1. Something that is offered, presented, or given as a gift
Let's stick with this definition. Unusual presents, accidental presents, metaphorical presents, re-gifted presents, etc. - pick any present you have ever received and invent a past for it.
P.S. This took me a long time to write and it was also pretty hard. But after writing it I still have a lot of uncertainties. Did I answer the prompt correctly? There isn't a word limit but is it long enough to bore the reader? Is it good? Is it too poetic? Did I go on too long about the beginning? Anything I should improve? How did it make you feel?
I would also appreciate any grammatical corrections and very insightful feedback. Thanks in advance!ESSAY:
To the rest of my family, it was a formality just like it is every year. However, I've been looking forward to this day every year ever since this 'formality' started. The day I look forward to each year is Christmas day and it isn't because of Christmas Eve dinner or the exchange of expensive gifts between the members of my extended family, but it is because of this 'formality'.
The visit we are paid every year by an employee of my father that still visits us even after my father left the house is the 'formality' in the eyes of my family. I long for this visit every year because the fact that Mr. XXX still visits us after my father left the house epitomizes his sincerity, by coming to our house he runs the risk of getting fired and that is a risk he definitely can not afford.
The bell rings and I quickly rush to the door. Mr. XXX and his son six year old, XXX, wearing the same worn out suit and button down shirt that they wear every year are at the door. After catching up with Mr. XXX and playing with XXX I am filled with glee because the time to exchange gifts has come. It is not the gifts that we present to Mr. Ahmad and Safa that define the experience but the tokens of appreciation that they offer us. One cannot possibly expect Mr. XXX to give us gifts of the same financial caliber as those we give him. But little does he know that they mean so much more to me than the money we offer him to get through the winter do to him and his family.
With a little nudge from his father, XXX gave me a parcel rapped in shiny wrapping that I later reveal to be a toy robot. This however, is no ordinary toy robot, which was apparent by his missing eye, missing arm and the dent in his chest. I rotate the robot only to find a "Made in Cambodia" sticker on it.
I can only but imagine the journey this toy robot has gone through, but why the obvious flaws? A fortnight long brutal journey from the sweatshop in rural Phnom Penh to Yemeni shores through the ports of monsoon India and finally driven through XXX to reach the safety of my hands might explain the dent in his chest but what about the eye and arm that were so obviously plucked out of their places with intent?
It was an unusually cold night in Phnom Penh with temperatures reaching a near zero, but there was nothing anomalous about the events of that night. Sakngea had just finished his shift at the factory where he spends all day putting together the same pieces in the same manner to produce the same result: a toy robot that he can only imagine playing with. On his way to his house, Sakngea passed by the library he always passes by but it looked different, there was a "now hiring" sign on the door. Ignoring the sign, Sakngea arrived at his door and wished that when he opened it he would find a rupture in his normal routine, but to no avail. He came back to his father screaming at his mother for the usual reasons: because he was drunk. He tossed the same old wages in the same old plate, trod the same old path and lay in the same old stained mattress whilst trying to ignore the same old argument because the last time he tried to break the routine it ended in a scar under his left eye.
This time, however, it was different. Lying down on the mattress, Sakngea felt... different. This strange power overtook him, a motivation of magnitude that he has never experienced before. This feeling that engulfed him made him want to do something. He felt as though he had to break the routine. In a moment of ordered chaos, Sakngea chose to take up his father on his constant threats, which entailed him leaving the house if he was disobeyed. Sakngea halted in his tracks and remembered that his mother's fate was in his hands and his decision had to be a calculated one. The internal struggle raged.
If he kicked his father out of the house he had to shoulder the financial responsibility of his family. He knew that working over time in the factory and dropping out of school was not the answer. The solution was knowledge. Be it academic knowledge or general knowledge, it was the only way he could indefinitely improve the quality of his family's life. It was that moment that he decided to take up the job at the library, he would be able to go to school and study whilst working. Not only that, but he would be able to satisfy his thirst for knowledge in the library by answering his unanswered questions that ranged from why emeralds are green to the origin of the cosmos.
But was he ready? His family could live on his and his mother's wages but could he shoulder the responsibility of being the only male figure in the family? He believed he could for he was no ordinary 13 year old. Seeing his father pass out drunken before him made him mature before his years. His father also provided him with the perfect role model of what not to be. He was not going to waste his potential sulking as his father did. He was not going to settle with what he had. He was not going to neglect anybody who needed help, be it a family member or a stranger. He was not going to remain uneducated. He is going to set himself ambitious goals that he is going to achieve. He is going to become a better person.
With that, he was ready. The thunder roared and the light drizzle turned to heavy rain that pounded on the metal roof. He felt it in his bones, he felt radioactive.
Sakngea got out of his bed and marched towards his father. With determination in his eyes he screamed at his father, "LEAVE NOW! We don't want you or need you anymore in this house! Leave my home and never come back." And with a sinister laugh his father grabbed the bottle of vodka and left.
His mother instantly burst to tears and held him. He couldn't decide whether they were tears of joy, but he could sense the fear in her cries, the fear of oblivion. He held his mom, looked in her eyes and told her that everything will be fine, he will help support the family by working at the library and will be the man she always needed in her life. It was then that her cries turned to sobs of pride. He threw away all the empty bottles and told his mother, "See things are looking up already, trust me when I tell you this is a new age." The cacophony caused by the droplets of water seized. He proceeded to embrace his mother once more and they both curled up on the mattress together.
The next day was his last day at the factory and he felt it was fitting that he break his routine. The first robot he made had one arm, one eye and a dent in his chest. The next robot and every robot after that, however, had no defects. He mutated the first robot to symbolize what he was, his destiny was not in his hands, he was blind to all the possibilities in life and he was hurt. That would be no more. For after last night he became a new man with his destiny as well as his mother's in his own hands, he realized his potential which created an inner fire in him that strived to succeed and he was on the way to healing the wound his father caused. All the other robots with no defects symbolized the new him.
After finishing 50 robots he put them all in a cardboard box, stamped the word (insert name country I live in) on it and hoped that the person who would receive the mutated toy would understand the purpose of all the defects and ultimately, relate to him. And relate to him I did.