“Michael, don’t be a poet !! Guests are waiting lad, get going !! “. This was an everyday phrase used by the manager come owner of the bar in which Michael worked as an apprentice bartender. He was a young man still in his teens and a student of literature. Wordsworth, Shelly, Keats sent him to a romantic dream world where he used to walk through the roads and enjoyed the dwindling daffodils. He dreamed of being a poet and his amature poems were praised a lot by his teachers. He didn’t actually liked to work as a bartender, but it was the best option he could get for a living at that age as a poet surely didn’t have any permanent source of income . Furthermore, the owner of the bar was actually a kind man at heart, however rough his accent may be.
Jim was not really Michael’s father, but frankly he cared a lot for the young boy. He found Michael alongside a remote road, bleeding badly due to an accident. Michael was only ten then. Jim took him to hospital. Michael was saved but he lost his early memories. Jim tried to find Michael’s parents but his all efforts went in vain. Jim took Michael in his home and brought him up with care and admitted him to a good college. Now Jim’s bar needed a bartender and he decided to employ Michael as an apprentice. Jim felt bad inside for that, but he was not a wealthy man enough to pay for all the expenses for Michael’s education.
Michael used to be very popular among the guests. His sweet behavior and innocent face used to please them and his poetic talent mesmerized them. Steve was a big businessman and one of Jim’s regular customer. Whenever Steve saw Michael, he felt a strange bond present between them. It felt like Steve had known Michael for ages, but couldn’t understand the reason. He was a bachelor and in mid-forties, and lived a happy life with his parents, his friends, his neighbors and his beloved pet dog. He never felt any void in his life prior to his meeting with Michael. Day by day after that, his suppressed father’s instinct became alive and it felt to him that he was meeting his son. Steve wanted to take away Michael from his bartender’s life and provide him all the facilities and openings to fulfill his dream. Michael was also fond of him. Steve’s kind words and friendly pats melted his heart.
Finally one day, Steve stated his proposal of taking away Michael to Jim. Jim was totally taken aback – “You are not serious, are you sir?”, he asked Jim. Steve replied, “Yes Jim, I am serious. Michael is a talented boy and his talent will not flourish if he stays as a bartender at this age. I hope you understand this. Rest assured, I will take care of you as well. You just come to me in any problem, I will always help you.”. Jim was in a dilemma. Michael was not his own boy, but the thought of letting Michael go was so painful to him. Jim needed money to expand his business and to take care of his own family and he really understood that staying as a bartender was doing Michael no good – but Jim just couldn’t think of the fact that after Jim taking care of him for 10 years, he would leave Jim. Steve tried to persuade Jim but he was unable to decide. Jim told with a shaky voice, “I don’t care about money Steve. I care about Michael. I know I am not doing any good to him but you tell me, how can I live without him after literally bringing him up? I.. I am confused.”.
Meanwhile, Michael was standing behind the curtain, listening to their conversion. The more he listened, the more his eyes got filled with tears. He could never thought Jim cared so much for him. All these days he knew, Jim was a kind man who fed him, and gave him a job. But today it seemed that Jim was being his father – who was crying inside at the possibility of Michael leaving him. When Steve first hinted about this to him, he didn’t reply but inside, he really wanted to go out of this apprenticeship. But today, it seemed he didn’t know Jim. He thought he was an orphan, but now he found his father.
So he came in front of them. Before anyone of them could say anything, Michael went to Jim and hugged him. This was the first time Jim was in tears in front of Michael. Michael comforted Jim and in a calm voice he told – “Steve, I can’t go with you. I know what I am doing. Maybe I am missing a lot. But, for any reason, I can’t leave my father.” Both Jim and Steve were speechless. After a while, Steve rose from the chair, shook both Michael and Jim’s hand cordially, and said, “I will do anything for your son Jim. Just tell me when you need me.” and went out of the room. Michael held Jim’s hand and said, ” Come on Pop !! Guests are waiting !!”