“It’s your last day. How’d you feel?” the familiar gruff voice of the patrolling prison warden sounded through the emptiness of my claustrophobic cell. “I… I… I don’t know,” I mumbled hesitantly, my heart overwhelmed by a tempestuous blend of feelings. My cell was devoid of life: it was just me, the wardens, and a few scrawny, furry visitors scavenging for food. The day had finally arrived. The smell of freedom lingered in the air, so close, yet slightly out of reach.
Sighing heavily, those fateful moments came flooding back to me. That morning, I woke up with a start as there was a sharp rap on the door. I rubbed my weary eyes and slipped out of bed. My mother had reached the door first. To my horror, we were greeted by a few policemen standing in our doorway. My heart instantly sank and I knew that the game was up. “Ma’am, your son is being arrested for illegal online betting.” A knot formed in my stomach when I heard those words. Before I could react, one of the men in blue slapped a pair of handcuffs on my bony wrists and escorted me out of the apartment. As I trudged past my parents, I did not have the heart to steal a glance at their surely devastated looks.
A single tear rolled down my cheek and stained the letter in my hand as I was jolted back to reality. I gazed at the letter with the word “sorry” scrawled across the cover and was instantly reminded of those lonesome, sleepless nights during which I penned this letter. It was a reflection of all the hurt, embarrassment, and disappointment I had caused.
Just then, the creak of the cold steely door derailed my train of thought. It felt surreal as I stood up and stepped out of my cell. Being at the end of the corridor, I walked past all the other inmates and they all cheered and whistled as I strode out accompanied by the prison warden. The warden bade me farewell at the gates and I made my way home. Before long, I stood before the white door at the entrance of the apartment where I had spent my entire childhood.
A film of perspiration coated my palms as I braced myself for whatever might come – for I knew I deserved it. Hesitantly, I knocked on the door, unsure of how my parents would greet me. I took a deep breath and waited as each second seemed to stretch on interminably. What if they were unwilling to take me in?
Finally, the door creaked open and two familiar figures greeted me, their faces plastered with shock. “It’s been so long… “ I stammered in a voice tinged with remorse. “I have something to read to the both of you …”
Before long, I had poured the contents of the letter in my hand out. My voice trembled and tears welled up in my eyes.
Taking a deep breath, I paused and sneaked a glance at them. Tears were streaming down my mother’s cheeks as she reached to envelope me in a hug. “Welcome home son,” the words like honey flowed into my heart.
Seeing how they had forgiven me, it was as if the weight of the world had finally been lifted off my shoulders. For the first time in years, I relaxed and melted into their embrace. I could not help but tear up again too, for finally, I had made amends.