Disclaimer: Mostly fictional.
“Mommy! Mommy! Can I have another?” asked the little girl, jumping around her Mother, at the Cafe. I caught myself staring at her. She reminded me of someone.
“Oh, sure, honey!” replied her Mother. The little girl wanted another sweet. Her Mother bought another one for her.
I smiled in their general direction. Generous, I thought. My Mother would never have relented so easily. Of course, that was always just a momentary no. If I ever needed something and was denied, she would put it under my pillow, if small, or under my bed, if big, that very same night. She always made sure that I was happy.
I looked down at my poached egg; my hunger had suddenly abandoned me. I had to think before I spent now. I was away, far away from home, where a tantrum would get me what I wanted.
The smile I had had on my face just seconds ago, vanished. All that remained was a ghost of a smile, if at all.
I left the Cafe without eating anything and rushed to College. Lectures dragged on the whole day. I had no time to think about anything else.
So there was a study tour coming up, and the girl sitting two rows ahead was very excited about it.
“Well, obviously, the true reason we are going on this trip is to see the place and have fun! Who cares what the “tour” has to offer! I’m all packed already but I might shop a little more! I’ll probably have to get another bag to stuff it all in! Too much work, don’t you think!?” she kept chatting, incessantly with her girlfriends.
I looked at them and looked back down at my tattered, used copy of the textbook. I can’t go for this trip. I can’t pay for it. I was already working two jobs to help me through School, a trip was an expense I could avoid.
I couldn’t travel in reality but I could travel down memory lane..
“We are going on a holiday, my dear!” said my Father, as soon as he came back home from work that day.
“Yes!!! When, daddy, when!?” I shrieked, running to him and hugging him.
“Next week sounds good, right? Is your schedule all clear my busy little daughter??” he asked me.
“Let me check my Diary, Daddy! Hehe” I giggled, pretending to check an imaginary Diary. “Yes! I am available! Let’s go!!”
That had been a happy day, I thought, coming out of my reverie. I too had been in a position of not bothering where the money came from. I too had been happy once, excited and looking forward to the next day. That just seemed like a long time ago. All that remained was a ghost of that excitement, of years ago.
After classes and the shift at the library, I walked back home. A home, away from home. My responsibilities and the cruel realities weighing me down, making it difficult to walk. The day had reminded me too much of my carefree childhood; reminded me too much about the stresses I face everyday; of my demons, lurking around the corner. When my friends tell me to be content in the small things and that this too shall pass, I agree with them. But it is easier said, you see. As a child, I would dream big. About things I would achieve, do. Places I would see. People I would meet. But I found myself walking home, alone, a home, away from home, thinking how only the next day mattered, at the most. There was just worry, exhaustion now. The dream had faded away, and all that remained was a Ghost of it, if at all.
P. S. I guess I put a little too much of my current state of mind into this protagonist.. I guess that is just separation anxiety talking. Happy mind-clearing! 🙂