Today I am relaxing, resting my knees on my chair, and eyes piercing across the glass panes, as t
The Sun began to sink beyond the White Oak. I want to be amazed by its beauty but all my feelings were drained with my agony. Still, I continue to gaze at the trees listening to its willows as wind gushed through them. They were the beautiful trees decked with red and green leaves, reigning over the narrow path, which twists and turns between the hedges. Through the window, I could see flapping of multicolored wings over the stems of these trees as if flowers are blooming to the heavenly rays. There was no human wherever my eyes could reach, but the nature resounding in many sounds. I would sit every day in the morning hours to capture in my soul radiance of the blooming flowers in the valley.
Just then my eyeballs moved swiftly below the Black Walnut where I saw two legs hardly unrecognizable scurrying through the bushes. I watched very carefully but the fog had covered the area, distorting my vision. I blinked my eyes, wondering am I dreaming, but no, there was someone behind the bushes, but who and why several questions continue to linger my subconscious mind. There is someone for sure but who would hide in that place which is only habituated by the squirrels and birds. I called Betty, but she was busy and undermining my nonsensical words continued to wipe the layers of dust from her light sorted furniture.
Betty was in mid thirty, never married but had a coquette persona. She has a slim figure to daunt, curly hair that would often fell on her round somber face. With her blue eyes and smile she could attract anyone to her. I don’t know when I drooled off only to be woken by a knock. Biting her teeth, Betty opened the latch of the door, to find blonde hair Ms. Clara, who with her perennial smile pushed Betty to reach me. She bends over me to give me a hug. Ms. Clara was our friendly neighbor. She was 45 but very nefarious in her attitude, and quite blunt. After pleasant gestures, she sat down cross-legged peeping through my eyes.
How are you Jenny, twitching her eyebrows towards Betty requesting for her favorite black tea with sugar. She would often give me company on a tea. I nodded at Betty who disgustingly winced at Clara but throng towards her Kitchen. Clara started with her narration about Mr. and Mrs. Crakes regular brawls who resides at the other end of the road that leads to the English Church. Their domestic fight was an episodic version of a war between the two enemy nations. Even though least interested, I would get completely engrossed in her story. Clara would speak in so revered details that entire episode would become alive.
Clara was married but has no children while her husband was often away on business tours, she would come to me to narrate the stories of the neighbors. After the tea she thanked Mrs. Betty and left promised to come the next day. I pulled the windows down as it was dark, and swirled my wheelchair towards my bedroom where Betty was waiting to help me with my night chores. Since the day I become paralytic Betty was only my sole friend, helper, and sister. I had literally forgotten about my past. Betty told me that I had lost my memory but nothing to worry. I just needed some time. I had to reconcile to my fate, and when Betty and Clara were there for me like humanly angels, I need not worry. I would still wonder what my parents would be, where are they now, do I have any brother or sister or I was alone, and if they are still alive? Several questions kept on haunting me, but the beauty of the Westwood, lively nature of Betty and Clara and other neighbors I would forget my grievances.
No one knows what happened to my parents, I heard there was a hurricane, everything was washed away, and I was lost. I don’t know how I happen to be landed on this side of Westwood, completely drenched laying unconscious on the hospital bed. Betty was invited a nurse in the hospital, she took pity on me and brought me here. Now it is almost two years, I am with Betty who is taking care of me like my Mother and Elder sister. She is so humble and sweet that I got attracted towards her. Though gets irritated quite often but that’s just ok. Her story is no different when she was young her parents had died in an accident, and so she was brought up in an orphanage.
I was hesitant to take any help from her, but soon I realized we had to complement each other. She had taken me as her companion in her lonely life and I also need her help and companionship.
Westwood is a lovely countryside, wonderful surroundings, and friendly local people, where modernization has not touched and with few people here and there, hardly anyone had smart phones in their hands. I never knew, we have in our country such a place, where people do not like smart phones. I was really amazed! When Betty brought me here, almost all the neighbors had poured to Betty’s house only to see me, as I am an alien, appeared into their land from the outer world. They would look at me with curious eyes, and some for anxiety and some want to be friend with me. Ms. Clara was more sympathetic though there are rumors about her having many men followings; I have not seen anyone else as lively as Clara. She had a wonderful heart, within her heart, there was something that was pinning her, I did not know about it till she herself told me. She could never become Mother as doctors’ says there is a problem in her ovary, which cannot be cured. “My life is dashed”, she cried, I tried to console her but I know consoling words are of no use”.
Though her husband had found solace in drinking, she was a fighter, started a School for the children of the working moms in the neighborhood. She offered me to be her assistant which I readily agreed. Thus began our journey of a new life. We played, dined and took care of the children. Whenever she would come close to them, there would be a shine in her eyes. Obviously, in evenings we would spend time together over Betty’s black cup of tea.
I got to my bed but in my dreams, I could see those two legs walking towards me, fear gripped me and I woke up. I could feel the sweat from my forehead. But I wiped, recited prayer, whisked back on my bed to again roll back to sleep.
Next morning was so refreshing for me as sun rays shone through the window panes, and flowers bloomed again. I thanked God and after saying Goodbye to Betty and having finished my breakfast I wheeled towards the School to be with my wonder children, yes they had become my children with whom I would play and enjoy. They were all around 4 to 5 years old. I would feel relaxed and over-excited watching them giggling, jumping and dancing. I would raise my both arms in the dance pose and would revolve my circle with Clara’s music. I would also help children with alphabets and narrate the stories. Later in the day, I would also help Mrs. Merry with her embroidery work. Mrs. Merry was staying only four houses away from Betty’s house. She was mid-forties, fat and bulging body, but curly hair that would suit her round face. She would often wear loose, long skirt and light colored shirt. Her husband was working as a foreman in a clothing factory. And so her husband got her contract of embroidery, which sometimes she would pass to me and I would gladly help her with it.
It was October and the cool breeze was blowing, locks of my hair fell on my face, as I moved them away, I saw same two legs coming in my direction, though I still was not able to make out who it was. I yelled, and Clara who was by then narrating rhymes to the children rushed towards me. I pointed towards the direction. But soon afterward, we burst into hysterical laughter as Clara shouted, “Hey Adams come here! “, and Adams came rushing, “Yea”, the pairs of legs was of Adams who was a gardener whose house was three blocks away, just towards the edge of the bushes, and Adams would often go there to clear the same. Clara asked him, “Why you are going behind the bushes in the evening”. Adams replied, “After mowing the grass, I could see some peaches fallen behind the bushes, must be from the tree right down there so I went there to collect the same.” Have some, he gave us four , we took a bite of one of the peaches, it was so delicious. We thanked Adams.
By the evening I was waiting for the Clara but she did not arrive, Betty was in Kitchen, preparing cereals. “I kept looking at my watch, it is now five, six, but she had not arrived as yet. I kept wondering what could happen to her, never a single day would go by when she would not come but today? I asked Betty, “Did you hear from Clara”, Oh Yes, it skipped off my mind, she would come.
When I still was in my thoughts, lights of my room went off. Before I could yell I heard laughter. Soon I saw the burning of the candle flame and from the flame immersed the two smiling faces, as sudden divine faces had appeared from out of the world, whose reflections fell over one of the mirrors. It was a face of a lady and one man, gray-haired, wrinkles on their face, they looked so familiar, I rubbed my eyes, soon I heard a gentle, loving female voice, “Dear Rose, “What”! I shrieked, who Rose? There is no rose, but soon the room lights lit up and Betty with the smile on her face pointed out, “Here they are, your Mom and Dad,” but I plainly said, “I don’t remember”.
“Yes they are”, exclaimed Betty, they are your parents, we know your memory is lost so I brought you here, and now it is almost two long years.
Oh my Gosh, after two years My Mom and Dad, I exclaimed with half nervousness and anxiety. I should be happy to see them after such a long time, but it was a mixed feeling. I would look at Betty and sometimes at my Mom and Dad. Betty nodded, here are your parents. I felt tears rolling from my cheeks as both my Mom and Dad rushed forward to hug me.
At the dining table, while we all sat together to enjoy cheese balls, and burger with juice, Betty recount how she found my parents.
“I had been looking for your parents since I brought you here. I had even filed your missing report, but I did not tell you about it as you might get tensed that could cause extraneous strain on your mind and you might get hysteric. This is a right time to tell as you are recovering, and had started remembering the things, and can bear the stress”.
“It was Tuesday morning I was on my duty, attending to my old patients suddenly I received an emergency call. I was supposed to attend to an old lady, who was suffering from severe stroke and hypertension. While I was nursing her, I noticed a photograph of a sweet blond young girl beside her bed, her face seemed to me like you, I politely asked her “Who is this,” and as soon the lady told me the name, my excitement knew no bounds, I shrugged my shoulder with broad smile. This was our plan to surprise you on your birthday. Yes, today is your birthday and here is a gift from all of us”.
With this, she brought a cake from the kitchen and soon our tiny room was thronged with Clara, Adams, our neighbors and children with cheers, gifts and lot of wishes. I cut the cake to the birthday song and clapping. We sang, danced, ate and had lot of fun.
After one hour, when all the guests except Clara had left, Betty brought her favorite black tea. I and Clara sat together as usual and my dad began to unfold the events that had occurred on that horrible day when we were separated.
“When Tornado came, we were at the market buying groceries. It was so sudden, everything came dashing down, and we were swept away holding each other arms. But Jesus is a savior, we found ourselves landed on the road, half conscious, with bleeding elbows and fractured legs. There was chaos all around, ambulances and police vehicles were zooming around. Soon, two good Samaritans took us to the hospital. As I was anxious about your whereabouts, so after I am sure your mom is comfortable, I went straight to our home, looking for you. I could not believe my eyes, my legs had started trembling, everything was destroyed, rooms were stinking, clothes and furniture were scattered, but you were not there. I searched everywhere for you, called your friends, neighbors, but of no avail. Devastated I returned back to the hospital. Sitting by your mother’s bed side who was sill unconscious, I posted your picture on Facebook and other social networking sites and even filled a missing report.
Months went by, one Sunday I received a call from a stranger, he said he is from Westwood and he had seen a girl whose face seemed so familiar to our daughter. We instantly hired a cab but when we reached here, your Mom fainted, as she was suffering from high fever and hypertension. I had to bring her to the St. Jones hospital where to the God’s grace we met Sister Betty. She took care of your mother like an angel.
“But I can no longer walk, Mom”, I sobbed. “Its’ ok, when we are now together again, we are again alive, everything will be ok now, when we will go back home”.
I looked straight towards Clara, who would come rushing to me with her stories, was now standing silent, it seemed the words had seized to produce from her mouth. I wheeled towards the window, there was stillness outside but this time it was different, no singing of birds, and swinging of the branches. I pulled the curtains down.
Thought of separation was unbearable for all of us. “How could I leave them, they had been so nice to me, our evening tea parties would come to an end I murmured, and how would Clara manage the School and the children all alone” , these thoughts were haunting me.
Betty read my mind, as she was a good psychologist too and a great counselor. With a broadened smile on her face, she came close to me and hugged me, “You should go, dear, they are your parents”. Clara nodded in conformity. She too joined us and we all embraced each other.
Indeed, “Humanity never leaves you stranded; it ties unknowns in long lasting bonds.