Scholar-Journalist

The Key: A short story

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By Shreya Aggarwal

It was a hot June day, and I was just doing the last thing which was on my household-work-list. I was on the balcony, drying the clothes on the line. Finally, the last thing on my to-do list for the day was also done.

As I turned to return, I realised that the balcony door had got locked! I tried to rotate the door knob but nothing happened.

“Oh dear, oh dear, does that mean that I would not be able to get inside and would have to stay in the balcony for the entire day that too on this hot June day?” I thought to myself as I sat on the floor, struck by horror.

All my plans of watching my favourite TV series were ruined. Time passed and I was still on the balcony drenched in sweat. I was debating what to do, when I saw my fifteen-year-old daughter Aashi, in the lane downstairs. She was coming home. I had never before in my life felt so happy upon seeing my daughter.

I waved my hands crazily at her while she was at the main gate. She then looked up and saw me, “Mummy, what are you doing there?” she asked as she came to the lawn just below the balcony.

I told her everything and asked her to get the ladder from the store room so I could get down. She brought it, put it there, and I finally got down. I hugged her on the lawn.

“Now finally we can go inside! Give me the key, Aashi,” I said. “Key? Which key? I do not have any key,” she replied, astonished.

“You do not have the key to the house?” I asked.

“No,” she replied, and my heart sank.

“What will we do now?” I asked her in dismay.

“Maybe we should wait for papa to come home. He has the key,” she replied.

“That would take ages. He will come home at around 7:30 pm. It is twelve noon right now,” I said.

“Then let us break the glass on the front porch. We can go inside then,” Aashi suggested.

“Ok,” I replied and took a stick.

I was just about to break the glass, when I stopped.

“What happened?” Aashi asked.

“I remember that the last time you broke the glass, it cost us a lot of money to replace it,” I said.

“Oh mummy, you are thinking about money? Just break it,” she said.

“Ok,” I said and after taking a deep breath, I swung the stick and…BANG!! The glass broke.

I was still taking huge breaths when I heard my daughter gasp.

“Now what?” I asked.

“Mummy, what’s that dangling from your pocket?” Aashi asked.

I looked down. It was a shiny metal thing dangling from my pocket, and that’s when I realized what it was…the key.

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