Khushi, was quite perceptive for a 5 year old and she acutely noticed that he rarely interacted with any other girls too, keeping his distance from all, except a few boys of his age. She wondered then, why, every time a girl or little babies left the home he would look sad, dejected and wretched all over again. She couldn’t understand his turmoil, she wished to know his plight, but he never let her near him, not even in his sight. The orphanage was not very big so they often crossed paths, but he treated her like a complete stranger even when she attempted saying Hellos or bestowed a private smile.
Then one day, she saw him surrounded by all the girls and boys from the home. She went up to see what the ruckus was all about and was dumbfounded to witness him in his stupid state, looking like a fool.
Isaac stood there, dressed in a worn-out pink floral dress with muddy white socks and tattered black lace shoes. His short, rough, brown hair, adorned two pink and white Hello Kitty clips, his brown eyes were lined with thick strokes of kajal and with his cheeks dabbed pink with help of a cheap lipstick, he made quite a sight.
He stood there arrogantly proud, staring pointedly at his feet, whilst fighting off the occasional hands that snarled out to tease him. Even through all that ragging and mocking laughter, the only thing she could hear were his controlled sobs and she felt like punching each one of those clowns who were tearing him down.
When the caretaker came and shushed all away, the mob dispersed but they both stood there silently, he, too embarrassed to move, she knowing he wanted someone to be there for him.
“Will you be my friend?” Khushi asked cautiously with a voice just for his ears.
Isaac shook his head in a negative but finally looked in her eyes. She saw the pain in them and knew he wanted to be friends but even though he was a boy he was acting like a grown up, shielding his angst.
“Why?” she pressed tentatively pursuing his approval.
In a few minutes he hesitantly spoke “I don’t make friends with girls.”
“Why??” she insisted on knowing.
“Because sooner or later each one of you will go and I will be left behind thinking of you, missing you whilst you forget all about me in your new home.”
“But one of these days you might leave too and chances are that you might forget the ones left behind, so?”
“That won’t be happening, not unless I leave on my own,” he said with a finality trying to put an end to the inquisition but her questioning eyes compelled him to open up, to share his fears and to let someone in his lone world.
“Everyone here says nobody wants to take home boys, especially not a five year old who can’t unlearn his way of things. How is it my fault that I was born as a boy? Every day I wish I was a girl so that I could find a home too.”
“Is that why you were dressed like a girl? So that someone could take you home?” she knew the answer to the question posed.
He bobbed his head, she shed a tear, and unknowingly they both formed a bond that day stronger than blood, deeper than an ocean.She reached out to him, took his hands in hers and with an honesty which he had never witnessed before she said, “I will never leave you alone. I promise. Never Ever!”
They have been best friends since that fateful day, both looking out for each other and were soon tagged as inseparable siblings. Other children came and left like the seasons of the year, and though he still felt sad to not be the chosen one, he would quickly forget his sorrow and quest for a new home and parents.
Isaac would however wonder why no couples took her in. He was pretty, healthy and happy child too. It was a mystery he couldn’t resolve.
Every time Khushi was sent to see a family, he would be anxious with fear gripping him. Little did he know that his worries were needless because she had vowed to never leave him and go.
“I can’t leave my brother,” she would say. “But if you take us both we will be the best kids in the world”.
Many argued with her, others rejected her upsright and there were some who tried to reason it out saying how no one would want to adopt two kids at a time.
Without a blink of an eye, her answer would be “Think of us as twins…would you still want to part us?” which would put any further discussion to rest.
Though every time Isaac privately rejoiced knowing that she wasn’t going anywhere, Khushi would hope that someday, someone would be big hearted enough to adopt and love them both together. And even if not together, she prayed for Isaac to find a home. Until then she will keep her Promise even if that meant forever.
Written By : Jyothi D”Mello. A Book Lover, storyteller, dreamer, foodie, mother and a writer (an Amateur one albeit). Writing is her way to express fears, anxieties, inner demons, bottled love, guarded feelings and cherished memories. She writes because that is what she loves to do, that is what keeps her sane.
You can find more of her stories here.
Picture by : Soumi Haldar
Picture by : Soumi Haldar