Authors: Scarlett Brukett
I OWE A HUGE DEBT OF GRATITUDE TO
you were my backbone from the very beginning. In fact, you were the lifeline of this novel. I love you.
Mommy Greatest… You came up with the whole
‘coincident stuff’ giving this story a FANTASTIC head on start. Do I need to tell you that you’re the best? (Only when you don’t nag.)
Dad, you supported me
from the beginning. I am glad you’ve got my back. Thank you. I am more than lucky to have you...
Moses, I haven’t met you once, but your feedbacks on the parts and your support has been a pillar to cling on. Thanks a ton. :)
Bestie, I can write a book about your good deeds, you were there forever. I am not joking when I say that I need you like the Oxygen.
, to enlighten me on all the possible topics that I had no idea but finally wrote a great deal about.
Lord almighty, for giving me the strength and a vast imagination to complete this piece.
Last but not the least, I thank you, dear reader..
‘ For we don't really exist if you don't.’
Shimmers & Shrouds
The skyline of Texas was a beautiful thing to admire from the terrace of a skyscraper. I wished Tash's dad wouldn't come to know of this; he would think we were a pair of rebels― something that we were not. Everyone likes sitting on the parapets of tall buildings, right?
I hummed along with Taylor swift's 'Our song'. I loved her voice
. She had the power to take me to another world altogether. And I was glad for her to exist. Really.
“O, do you really think my grandma would lie?" Tash asked, worried.
"Its not what I think. You know that." The conversation wouldn't get over this soon. Everything was over the limits for girls like Tash. I switched my iPod off.
"Then why don't you take it seriously?"
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. It was my way to keep calm and not react like a bear. I needed to have patience with her, I was aware of what I was capable of. A gentle push and she would fall off and die. We were sitting on the edge of a hundred and sixty floored building, of course.
"Tash, I doubt it. If you're asking me why. Does this make any sense to you? What did she mean by near death experiences? I don't like adventure." I rolled my eyes. Her grandma and the premonitions. How in the world was it possible to see the future? And who would risk one's life for the sake of adventure?
"I've heard of people risking their lives for the sake of love."
"I'm not in love."
She cocked her eyebrows and threw a wicked smile at me. "Really?"
Crap... it’s just that I'm his fan. There's no chance of me being friends with him. I consider the thought of us being in love as a plain bullshit.
"Tash, he's 'the Orpheus Albert' for heaven's sake. Getting to see a glimpse of him from a distance of fifty yards would be a miracle." I jumped and stood up. Staying here another minute meant talking about him, and Tash was the last person I wanted to talk to, about him, obviously.
"When two people are destined―"
"To meet," I cut her. I had heard this phrase a million times; it was the only thing I’d memorized apart from my home address. "They'll meet each other somehow." I sighed. "There's nothing like destiny. Our life is what we make it. Destiny, premonitions― these are just philosophical terms used to sound smart when you speak. Do you get me?"
She got down from the parapet as well. I was anxiously waiting for her to speak.
"Are you sure you're going to go UK for your higher studies?"
"I couldn't find a better place than that." I confessed, smiling.
"Then I think that’s exactly where your problem starts, O." Her words alarmed me of an unknown danger I was going to put myself in.
What was so important to me than my own life?
The sunlight peeked in through the windows, and the entire room was bright
, radiating happiness. I lay still in my bed. Another day was up. Living alone in a city this big was definitely a hard task all by itself; but today was the day of celebrations. It was too late already and my stomach growled like a whale for some food. I smiled at myself and got out of my ultra soft tempting bed to make it up. I pushed the button on my phone for the message and started cleaning up my room using my time in a very appropriate way.
"Hey Oceana! Birthday girl, bless ya, lots of love, Summer."
my best friend since the first day of my college. I would not be exaggerating if I compared her looks to …umm… a hot Hollywood actress. It was no wonder when I noticed the seniors checking her out like she was a hot trophy. She reminded me of the summers of California and the winters of Yorkshire, all at the same time. It had been just a few months that we knew each other, but in such a small span, we got to know about each other kind of inside out. I had the knowledge of even the minutest details of her life. Like for example, I had the long list of her exes memorized because she usually kept blabbering about their present girlfriends. I knew the last boozing session or the sleepover that she had. Even slight irregularities in her monthly periods were not a secret. I simply smiled at her cheery message.
The second message that amused me to no end was from Wilson Kenston, (popularly known as ‘the KILLER WILL.’) in his usual cold voice.
“Hi, this is W
ill...Heard it's your birthday. Happy birthday. I was―I wanted to talk. Call me if you get this message."
s perhaps the most awesome guy in the college, whose existence on this earth was solely to prove the statement. ‘If looks could kill' true. The guy was a year senior to us. He was two years elder to me but his attraction towards me was something I couldn’t comprehend. He was the only person who had not yet given up on the idea of dating me― wholly. It was a usual thing for him to find me trailing off on his half sensible statements which he delivered to impress me since his major was anthropology which was completely different from English literature. Ifound his failed efforts as a completely ridiculous stuff.
By the nickname that he had been given by his seniors, and the number of girls who use to crowd around him (like he
was ORPHEUS ALBERT), often made me wonder why an enthralling and ‘wanted’ guy like him was trying to claim my attention. Not that I wasn’t pretty at all― but, it kind of freaked me out that he liked me more than Summer. I hated to ponder over the self made fact that he wanted to date me because I guess he sympathized with me and felt sorry, since Summer was the star of every event and got all the attention. I couldn’t see any other reason why he acted that way.
I was never in favor of dating, not here at least. And he made it almost impossible for me to stay anywhere near
him. But today, I guess I made up my mind on calling him and asking him for forgiveness for my super rude behaviour all these days. It was my day after all, and I wanted no grudges.
I switched the phone off. I was done with cleaning and I needed to freshen up. So I took a long minute to brush my teeth, and untangle my hair and another forty minutes to wash myself nicely from head to toe.
I dried my hair that smelled of strawberries; all because of the
shampoo that I bought the other day from the store .I turned nineteen today but I fancied Barbie too much, and in no way was I ashamed of it. Every toiletry of mine, right from my face wash to the shampoo, was a Barbie branded stuff and I found it just irresistible not to buy. My friends consider me as an idiot; I term it as ‘self satisfaction’.
After dressing up in faded
blue denim and a full sleeved lemon yellow top, I finally started to prepare food to feed myself.
My mother babied me too much. That resulted the burnt
lunch or dinner for the first few weeks after I arrived here and found myself a perfect place to live; but it was not the same case now. I had unexpectedly turned into a master chef here, and during vacations, I would make myself dishes that I hadn't ever heard of before.
he only thing that saddened me was not to have a staple food. No matter how hard I tried, my food lacked that aroma which had the capacity to churn my stomach in anticipation and force myself to get up from my bed and check out the food in the kitchen. I missed her more today.
I finally fed myself and washed the dishes. After getting rid of the chores, I gathered the little gifts I had been packing since last week for my little friends. I made my hair and collected the package, with one destination in my head― 'The Savior'. It was an orphanage aproximately ten miles away from my apartment and apparently, my second home.
mber I went there with summer and her mother for the first time. Her mother was desperate for a little brother for Summer who wasn't excited by the whole idea. To end with, poor Mrs. Silverfox had to change her mind about the ‘brother concept.’ However, she gave me a place I longed for― to be with kids― funny, intelligent, bright, innocent, charming, and sometimes annoying. I just love them. I could be with them and frankly, I wanted to be like them. Carefree young, sprinting little buds, believing in things which are impossible to think for someone mature like me. Fearless brave people stomping off after a fight so that you could hold them back and plead them to stay. Every little girl is a princess in her own special way and every boy, a prince. Stubborn yet charming. In the last eight months that I spent here, this was one of the most beautiful places I had ever been to. A place so inviting that it doesn’t feel right to leave its premises.
My train of thoughts took a halt when the bus stopped. I had to get down here and walk probably five hundred
meters, but my excitement to see them on my special day gave me all the reasons to be there. I was really excited to meet them. My heart was beating unexceptionally loud like there was something unusual waiting to happen..
I entered the office
where I met Mrs. Thomas, a sweet old lady from Ghana who had shifted here with her husband and two children after 1987.
“You look young Mrs. Thomas." I greeted her with a smile. She blushed immediately.
"Thank you, young lady." She bowed.
I bowed back
. Dad used to say that it was necessary to respond like this. A salute for a salute, a bow for a bow.
"The kids are anxious to see you." she smiled as she pointed towards their dorm. "That way."
I gave her a silent nod which meant thank you.
When I opened the door, it was dark in there. I wondered how they managed to do that. It was noon after all. I couldn't see a thing. Sadly, the switchboard was on the opposite wall, right across the room, and I was afraid to stumble over the toys.
"Guys?" I squealed.
I thought I heard a giggle from the direction I had no idea of.
Suddenly there was light in the room. The kids ran here and there. It was so sudden that I didn't know how to react. Everybody was synchronized to the rest. A moment later, they stood in front of me wearing little birthday caps, and all of them had coloured papers orderly folded in their hands. Before I could speak I heard the most beautiful voices of the world singing a strange yet familiar song.. For me.
"Happy birthday Shalalalala…" Each kid was singing with the rest like they’ve had practiced it for years. I was brimming with love and other emotions; the only thing that crowded up my mind was to have every single child like that as long as time permitted. They had compensated my urge to talk with my mom. They replaced it with a greater joy that now relieved me of all the stress, somehow.
"Happy birthday Oceana! We love you." They cheered and applauded. All of them were smiling, and that was exactly why I broke into tears. My emotions were hard to control at this point. I knelt to open up my arms and my heart. All of them ran right into me hugging me back.
When we were done, the little gu
y named Andrew, who was the eldest and the most intelligent kid I’d seen, and who had a crush on me, which was as funny as it sounded, gave me the paper he held for so long. It was a handmade birthday card with my name on it.
Fresh tears started to ooze at such a heartfelt gesture.
"You liked it? The song?" he asked me shyly.
"This is the best gift I could ever think of to receive. It is undoubtedly the best."
Everyone gave me the greeting cards they had been drawing since a week. They were beautiful, I told them the same. When it was my turn to distribute the gifts that I’d brought for them, I asked them to come one by one. It was certainly easier that way. The kids came, received the gifts, and hugged. This continued until my packages had only a few gifts left. They were for the staff members, who were now standing at the door.
I gave them their gifts and they hugged me, wishing me back in return.
"Lunchtime, guys!" Mr. D'souza called out.
I turned back to look at the young ladies and gentlemen who still had the birthday caps on; that reminded me of something.
"Who gave you that?" I pointed at the caps, and among all of them, little Maria shivered like she received an electric shock. She ran towards her bed and vanished. I removed the other kids out of my way to see what she was doing under her bed.
I was taken
aback when I reached there. She had already dragged a box from the underneath her bed. I helped her with it and placed it on her bed where she'd asked me to.
"What's this?" I was curious.
"Our friend who gave us the caps asked me to give this to you." she beamed her perfect milk teeth smile.
"Friend!" Strange, very strange.
The package was for me, I didn't care who the sender
was― I just wanted to see what was inside.
I impatiently struggled with the gift wrapper and that made everyone laugh. As I opened it, the entire hall full of cheers, turned into a graveyard.