Cost an arm and a leg

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By 2018-01-28

By Priyangwada Perera

"Amma, why is Thaththa late?" Kusal asked. His mother knew the reason Kusal asked this question. Kusal loved his father and he always waited for him to return from office. But today the reason was special. He knew a surprise was on the way. So, he waited for Thaththa even more eagerly than on other days. Kusal found himself looking at the clock every other minute. It was 8.30 when he checked last time and now it was only 8.35. He thought the clock was broken and went to have a closer look.

"What are you doing, Putha? Your nose will hit the hour-hand of the clock!" said his mother who appeared from nowhere. Kusal was embarrassed. He was so keen to check whether the clock has stopped. "Everything is going against me. Thaththa is unusually late. Out of all days, today the clock too has chosen to go slow. Exactly on the day my birthday gift comes," Kusal said with such a gloomy face that his mother could not help laughing.

Just as they were finishing their little conversation, the car honk was heard. The gate was already open and Kusal almost burst out of the living room; Thaththa had come. More importantly he had come with what Kusal was waiting for. His father got down with the box and both Kusal and his mother knew it was the laptop.

Kusal had been performing well in school consistently. He was scoring good grades in class and at the same time, he had got selected to the school football team as well. These were achievements his parents were proud of. But more than anything else, they thought the laptop might help in his studies. Kusal was jumping up and down that his father was anxious the boy would drop the box. "Here, it is – the gift you have been waiting for, darling. Amma and I wanted it to be given on your birthday itself. But unfortunately the exact product we wanted was unavailable. So, two days after your birthday, finally we got it," he said while the boy beamed. He has been so eager to have a laptop. Their computer had broken a month back and the parents decided a laptop would be better.

Kusal was bouncing with joy after unpacking and exploring. It was quite late when the excitement was over. He was still meddling with the new gadget when he heard his parents in the kitchen. "This was not the brand we were hoping to buy, right? I bet this cost an arm and a leg," Kusal heard Amma telling Thaththa. Kusal was all alert. But he did not hear what his father's reply was. 'Cost an arm and a leg?' What? He had no doubt that his father looked the same and complete. Did he actually miss something? Thinking all this to himself he went in search of his father.

The parents were still up and talking to each other when Kusal walked in. He first stood there and took a long hard look at his father. Thank God, his father was fine. His limbs were all intact. But Kusal had to ask them. "Thaththa, what did Amma mean when she said 'it must have cost you an arm and a leg'? Did something happen to you? Did you hurt yourself trying to buy this for me?" Kusal was almost in tears. They were both surprised to hear Kusal say this.

"No, my dear. Nothing happened to Thaththa. What Amma meant was that the Laptop must have been expensive. That is what is meant when you say 'cost an arm and a leg.' You do know that certain changes in the plan happened. But don't you worry about it. We managed fine," he said as he patted Kusal's little head. His mother came closer to him and said, "No darling, Thaththa is fine. When you have to spend quite a bit of money, the term is used. But that does not mean Thaththa had to sell his limbs to buy the laptop. Look at him, all happy and smiling with both his hands and legs intact. We are happy we still managed to buy it for you. Don't worry about it. Just make use of it well."

Kusal was relieved. Yes, he had been wishing for a laptop but he did not understand how expensive it must be. However, Kusal was so glad that his father did not have to sell his hands and legs to buy him the gift.

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