‘Hey look, an eyelash.’
‘Close your eyes and make a wish’
And she did.
‘I wish that I get a new teddy bear on my birthday’
It was then she realized that she needed money to buy a pencil. With that thought she remembered her mother’s wrinkled face. Their savings had run out last month. Ever since dad ended his life in a railway station six months ago, money has always been a problem. The twelve year old had never been so responsible all her life. She did all the chores and looked after her mother’s needs. The forty year old widow never looked this old. Her smile faded away. Her eyes couldn’t accept the reality. She would sit all day on her bed and stare out the window.
A meager salary of ten thousand rupees and huge ambitions for business led Mr. Nath to loan huge amounts of money from a lot of moneylenders. However when his plans didn’t work out he found a way to escape the loan sharks forever. He chose death over his wife and daughter. Sandhya never shed a tear over her father’s death. ‘He chose to leave us’, she said. She was angry, alone and helpless. Every night she would look at the moon and sing a song that soothed her mind. She would pretend everything was alright. Eventually a smile would rise on her pretty face. During lunch break in school she would spend her time in the playground to avoid hunger pangs. The last time she had a proper meal was on her friend’s birthday party. She would get lost in her thoughts that one day aliens would come and take her away to a land far away where there was nothing but happiness. A land filled with greenery and mountains where horses spoke like humans and a handsome Prince Charming would sweep her off of her feet. With all these thoughts, she would gradually drift off to sleep. The days were dark but the nights were colorful for her.
‘Can I change my wish?’
‘I wish I have enough money to buy food for the next month’, she said out loud.
‘My father needs a staff member for his shop. Do you want that job? Said her classmate who overheard her.
She readily accepted the job offer where she was given 10 rupees for an hour. She took the job very seriously. She did her homework at the shop whenever she got free time. The good shop owner who knew her father gave her bread and milk to eat for lunch every day. Her mother recovered and began smiling again.
Life was harder. But it was easier at the same time.