Laura was lying on the green lawn, a cool breeze air gently tickling her face. Her hazel eyes as always looking to the sky; dreaming of wonderlands, of fairytales princesses, and all the lost kingdoms. The school bell rang. So immersed was she that she barely heard it.
“Laura! Laura! Let’s go we better not be late… I don’t want to be scolded by Ms. Julia, again.”
Laura, with a frown on her face, stood up and followed Tina, wishing never to reach the classroom. SHE HATES MATH!
Although ,excellent at seeing beauty in everything around her, she was never able to give meaning to all the symbols and equations she was studying .
“What good do these symbols bring me?” she would always say.
They finally reached the classroom and sat next to the big window. She can’t help but be close to Mother Nature.The sun was shining, forming weird yet mesmerizing forms on her desk. Two little birds were singing on the top of the cherry tree next to the window. Laura was trying hard to focus and forget all about those incentives.
“I won’t look at the window,”whispered she desperately.
She was always gusty, yet such a call is way much intriguing to resist. She just surrendered to the spell in front of her.she looked at birds,thinking.
Are they singing? NO! They seem more discussing… What are they discussing… Maybe a mysterious treasure, a treasure hidden far away in their clouds castle. Maybe, some covetous monster is trying to steal it...
“Laura! Laura!” Ms. Julia , called. “Focus please.”
“Sorry, ma’am,” Ms. Julia ,carried on explaining.
“Did she called for a long time?” she whispered to Tina.
“Yep, but you were looking outside, daydreaming as always.”
Laura frowned and turned back for fear of another scolding.Laura and Tina were always best friends. Almost every friendship starts with a fight. But theirs was different, sweet ever since the beginning. Laura would always smile at the memory of Tina reaching out to her,a shy child, sitting at the corner reluctant to interrupt the children playing in front of her. Once their hands met, they never grew apart. Tina would always tell boastfully their classmates how their bound is different “we’re more than friends, we’re soul mates”. However, the only thing she rebuked was Laura’s long hours of meditations. She was never able to understand what her friend could see in a blue velvety sky that she couldn’t. “Your world is so impenetrable,” she would say. The thought of her comrade enjoying a world she did not pertain to made her wince.
The school was over. They both went back to the dorm and took a rest. Soon the sun was waving goodbye behind the towering spruce trees. Tina remembered the assignment Ms. Julia had given them earlier that morning.
“Should I wake her up?” Tina thought,
“NO! I’ll just let her have some sleep…I’ll better go to the library.” She, then, tiptoed to the table next to her bed, grabbed her book, and left the room, closing the door cautiously so it wouldn’t creak on its hinges. By the time, she came back, the night had already fallen. She entered the room to see that her friend was still lying on her bed. She neared her to discover that she wasn’t asleep after all. Tina was a little bit puzzled, having expected to see her roomie by the window having her usual hour of Talking to the moon.
“Maybe the moon isn’t there?” Tina thought . “I’ll go check.” she walked towards the window, and the moon was shining as bright as always.
“Did you have a fight with the moon?” said she jokingly.
She just carried on: she sank to her knees, begging (trying to role-play the moon) “please…please my dear, talk to me…life is nothing but a hell without you.”
Laura sat in her bed knee-high, and said with a lump on her throat,“My parents…it’s been a long time since I last heard from them…I’m afraid they’ve got in trouble. You know Ms. Julia told the other day that the pandemic they’re trying to halt in china is really dangerous. What if they’ve got inflicted?”
Tina stood speechless. She had never seen her friend that withered before. But she, by no means, could relate to that. She’d been there too. Her parents were also doctors who gave help and traveled to different regions of the world.
“Oh! hon,”said Tina, with a squeezing hug.“Don’t worry, they’ll be okay...Remember last year? I didn’t hear from my parents for months, but then it turned out that they were in a very isolated region giving medical help.”
She was hugging her tightly, thinking meanwhile of something that can tickle her heart.
“What about a floor bed?” Tina screamed triumphantly. She ran to her bed and dropped her mattress to the floor.
“Can you stand up honey,” she said and dropped Laura’s too. (She was always feverish).
They laid, facing the starry night. Tina was trying her best, cracking all the funny even ridiculous jokes she knew, just to entertain her friend.
Days passed by, and Laura still did not get any news from her parents. She was faking smiles, laughter, but her heart was smoldering with trepidation.
Another moonless night went by, Laura woke up and went to school. She Sat next to the window. It’d been a long time since she last had one of her long walks. Yet, every single muscle of hers hurt. Despite all the bustling sounds, she heard nothing but her rising breath. A devious voice constantly whispering evil,
“what if they’ve got inflicted…What if they’re dead?”. She was trying hard to fight back, but it just felt like being stuck in a whirlpool.
“Ms. Laura!”The secretary called. “the headmaster wants you to go to her office.”
“Is she going to get a penalty? what did she do?” her classmates whispered into each other’s ears. As careless as ever, she stood up and followed the secretary.
“Ms. Laura is here ma’am,”said the secretary.
“Let her come in,”Answered Ms.Smith.
“Take a seat, please!”Laura sat in the left chair.
“I’ve got some news from China,” said hoarsely Ms. Smith, the headmaster. Laura hopped, asking piles of questions.
“Is it about my parents…Is there something wrong?”
“I’m really sorry to be the bearer of sad news, but your parents had a car crash, and passed away.”
Laura felt as if someone was squeezing her heart. She was drenched in sweat and desperately gasping for air. Far away voices calling “are you okay!”. The grip grew tighter and tighter, and then the world went black.
She opened slowly her eyes. “Where am I,” questioned she, scrutinizing the white room. She tried to move, but she was caught up by the serum tube in her hand. The memory of her last conversation with Ms. Smith Came stroking. She was again gasping for air, shouting, and crying.
“Doctor!she is having a breakdown!” the nurse was calling. The doctor arrived and gave her an injection to calm her.
A week passed by, Laura was finally discharged from the hospital. She seemed to have recovered, but she definitely became another person. She, with eyes that can no longer dream, looked to the world around her. Whatever beauty she cherished before meant nothing to her. The moon, her best friend, became a yellowish planet that deserved neither looking nor talking to.
Tina was extremely worried. All the warmth she could once feel with only one look disappeared. Laura’s eyes, as if it by a snowstorm became so icy, so frozen that nothing could be discerned through them, not even pain.
The classroom was so quiet. Everyone seemed to be so focused on the literature text in front of him. Someone was knocking on the door: it was the secretary. She called again for Laura to go to the headmaster’s Office.Laura followed disinterestedly.she reached the office and entered.
“Have a seat, please,” said Ms. Smith. “I am really happy to see that you have recovered.”
Laura was certainly not listening for something else caught her attention: It was the pen Ms. Smith was constantly playing with. She was almost sure that a calamity is about to happen because the last time she saw that pen spinning, she spent a week at the hospital.
“You know that your parents had paid only your first semester. We really tried to contact some of your relatives, but there was no response. For that, we called the concerned authorities, and the only solution for you is to be sent to an orphanage.”Said Ms.Smith.
Laura looked Ms. Smith into the eye, and said flatly “okay!”
The headmaster was shocked, almost not able to believe that the girl who just went out of her room was the same girl that passed out days before.
Laura went back to her classroom. Tina was so curious to know what happened, but she was afraid to ask. She was always the type who speaks before thinking. However; for some reason unknown to her, she, with the new Laura, seemed to think twice.
The school was over, and they went back to the dorm. After so much hesitation, Tina finally managed to ask,“What did Ms. Smith tell you?”
“I’ll be sent to an orphanage in a week.”said Laura.
“What!!”Said Tina, tears filling in her eyes.
“No this can’t be,” She grew hysterical, “how this can be…NO it’s not true we’re not going to be apart…” She just couldn’t imagine the school without her childhood friend.
She looked back to see her roomie as quiet as ever. Her face reddened (she seemed to grow furious).She wiped off her tears, ran to her, and started shaking her by the shoulder;
“Can’t you see, we can no longer see each other…Don’t you get it!”
Laura didn’t utter a single word. She was just staring blankly.
13th March was Laura’s last day at school. All the girls she knew came, kissing her goodbye, except Tina. The latter was lying silently in her bed with her back to Laura.
“isn’t she really upset,” Tina was thinking, “maybe, I don’t matter to her after all…But we’re BEST FRIENDS, or maybe I’m the only one who thinks so. She never regarded me as her BFF. No!! I’m sure she loves me, but she just couldn’t get over her parents’ death…She didn’t even tell she’s going to miss me or she loves me…PFFF whatever, I’ll go to sleep.”
Tina was standing on the window, looking at her friend who was walking toward the gate with her heavy bag. She was mad at her, yet she really wanted to hug her and bid her Farewell.
“Maybe, it’s my last time seeing her. I don’t want to end this way. Well, there’s one thing I know: she’s my friend, and I’m not letting her go without me kissing her goodbye”. She finally made up her mind. She flung the door open and ran as fast as she could.
Laura neared the gate. She was about to end a big chapter of her life. She knew she was supposed to be sad, but she just couldn’t. She didn’t show it, but even she, herself, didn’t know what was going on.
Laura was about to open the door when she heard someone calling her name. She turned back to see that her roomie (or ex-roomie) was running toward her. She stood put and waited. Tina clung to her with a hug
“I love you. We will keep in touch.” Laura, for the first time in weeks, felt the urge to cry. But, for some reason unknown to her, she just sustained it, and answered with a whisper “I LOVE YOU TOO”.
Laura stepped out of the car and threw a scrutinizing eye over what was to become her new lodging. It was an old two-storied building, surrounded by an iron fence. It had a yellowish wall painting that was almost peeling off. Having waited for what seemed like half an hour in the yard, she was finally admitted to the building.
Laura, having opened the door, stood facing a long dim hallway, with nothing but a melancholic silence to be heard. She was clutching to the door lock, overwhelmed with a sense of dread when she heard the clicking of metal heels on the floor. She was trying to discern who was there: it was a woman, a tall thin woman approaching her.
“Hi! Laura,” Said the woman finally. “I am Ms. Tatiana. I am in charge of this orphanage. Go upstairs, to room 50. You’ll find an empty bed, it’s yours.”
Laura went upstairs and knocked at the room door.No one answered, so she just opened it, and entered. Having stepped in, she was surprised, almost shocked to see that instead of one roomie she had NINE!!!
She, trying to avoid the eyes staring at her, went to the empty bed, and put all her staff in the small wardrobe next to it. Then, she laid there silently, until one of the girls told her that it was time for dinner.
“Where’s the bathroom, please?”Asked laura.
“It’s at the end of the hallway,” responded the other girl.
Laura was again astounded to discover that there was only one single bathroom on the whole floor. She’d never imagined that she had to queue to just wash her hands.
She went down to the restaurant. Instead of bowls and plates, she was given a round divided iron plate in which there was what seemed to be a potato soup and some bread. She sat in the first empty chair she saw and took a spoonful of the soup. It was too sour with an acidic onion flavor overwhelming all the other ingredients.
Laura took a look at the girls next to her: they were eating earnestly. She was a little bit puzzled because for her such a soup is certainly not to be eaten.
“Too bad, heh!!”A girl with long curly hair interrupted her thoughts .“you’re new here, but you need to know this: whatever food is given to you in that iron plate you need to devour it, otherwise, you’ll spend the night with a stomach growling noisily.”
She tried her best to eat it, but she just couldn’t so she just gave up and went up to her bed.
Laura woke up in the dewy morning. She queued for the bathroom, went down, and had a cup of milk and some bread. She was about to leave the restaurant, when Ms. Tatiana came in ,blue eyes staring venomously from a wrinkled age-spotted face.
“Laura! Come here. You’re going to your new school, today…..Perrie! (She was calling for the same curly-haired girl of the previous day).Accompany her to school.”
Laura got dressed up and went to her new school. This one wasn’t private. It was a public one and was overcrowded with hundreds of students walking all directions. She was stressed out, and couldn’t help being nostalgic about her old school, and the small community she pertained to.
Perrie didn’t leave her alone and showed her her classroom. She was the sort of strong rude girl who fears nothing, but Laura liked her and felt that under that mask she’s wearing there’s a good even fragile heart and a childlike soul.
The School was over; Perrie was waiting for Laura to accompany her back. Laura was almost sure that she knew everything about life in the orphanage, but she went back to discover that all the girls had to do the laundry, and clean the floor. No one was to keep lights on after 11: PM, even if they had an assignment or an exam. They were punished severely for trivial things. So many girls had to spend the night with no food, no blanket to put on just because they broke a glass cup. As for Laura, she was constantly scolded by Ms. Tatiana for she didn’t know how to do things appropriately. Life was harsh, harsher than she’d imagined. She would spend the night thinking of her before-the -orphanage self, recalling how imaginative, and unrealistic she was. She would sometimes go as far as mocking her for that self was living in a bubble where everything she needed was afforded to her. Laura was sure: That self didn’t know life.
It was a foggy morning; Laura opened lazily her eyes to see that she was late, and almost all the girls had gone down to the restaurant.
“I AM LATE!!”Said laura(She didn’t use to sleep that much but with all the work she had to do she was shuttered).
She washed and went down, heart pounding for fear of a penalty. She opened the door slowly and entered, head down trying her best not to have eye contact with the others, hoping not to be noticed. She was totally aware of how foolish the attempt was, but she just did it. She took a plate, and put some bread and milk, and sat next to Perrie. She didn’t know whether she wanted to be her friend, but she liked sitting next to her because she was quite unlike the other girls, and Perrie seemed not to mind it.so, that’s how it went.
Ms. Tatiana came in. Laura was scared for she was about to get her first punishment.
“Oh god! Who did tell her? (She needn’t be informed, she’s all the time spying on you) her subconsciousness echoed back sarcastically.
Ms. Tatiana neared her
“You pretty little girl” she looked to the other girls, and said.“Look how good-natured, and well-behaved she is. You deserve extra food and milk”
Laura was a little bit puzzled. She thought maybe that was the calm before the storm. But, there was no storm, not even a single blow of wind. There was only a rainbow hovering above, with Ms. Tatiana’s smiling face (can u imagine!!).
She was constantly receiving rewards (extra food, no laundry, no cleaning…). She felt guilty, and she couldn’t sit crossed-legged while all the girls were working. She actually tried more than once to refuse them but it was in vain because Ms. Tatiana almost forced her to accept them.
The last reward was a big one. Laura was to go for a walk in the central park. Her before-the orphanage –self would have loved, but that one didn’t. She was afraid to go to the park, and surrender to the spell of nature just like she did hundreds of times before. She didn’t want to go back there and fool herself with a beauty that didn’t exist in reality.
Albeit her fears, she did go. The Park was mind-blowing. There were all kinds of flowers, roses.
“Their beauty is certainly to be cherished, but not worshiped. They can make a house, or a restaurant prettier, but they can’t make my life any better,” Laura was constantly whispering to herself.
Having walked for what seemed like 20 minutes, Ms. Tatiana finally decided to leave. They were about to exit when they came across a woman Tatiana seemed to know. Laura took her in with scrutinizing glances.it was an elegant young lady, very well-dressed, and beautiful too. She has a rosebud mouth and wide hazel eyes just like Laura’s.
“How are you ,sweetheart?” said The woman.
“Good, thank you ,Miss,”Responded Laura.
“She’s a very well-behaved girl. That’s why I’ve rewarded her with a walk in here,” said Ms. Tatiana boastfully.
“I see,” said the lady smilingly.“I have to go, goodbye” added she, wincing.
It was a sunny day; Laura woke up a little bit early, got dressed, as always, and went to school. When she came back, she went directly to her room for she was exhausted from last day walk. She was about to fall asleep when Perrie came in.
“Ms. Tatiana is asking for you,”said Perrie.
“Okay” answered back Laura lazily.
“Hey, I am not gonna beat around the bush. Haven’t ever thought why is she treating that well? Careful! Laura. Don’t believe the-well-behaved-girl-lie. There must be some other reason,”said Perrie.
Laura was freaking out, but she didn’t answer. She just flung the door open and went to Ms. Tatiana’s office.
She opened the door to see that she was not alone; she was in company with the lady of the other day.
“Have a seat, Laura. I guess you remember Ms. Lydia,”said Ms.Tatina.
Laura nodded. She was afraid. She grew hating the-have-a-seat-sentence for whenever she heard it, a calamity followed.
“Ms. Lydia wants to tell you something.”
“Hey, Laura…UM when I saw you yesterday, I liked you…I don’t have children...so what do you think about coming to live with me.”
“Yes, Ms. Lydia wants to adopt you,” added Ms. Tatiana excitingly.
Laura was surprised. It was her first time experiencing such a feeling. She’d never thought she’d be asked to go to live with someone she doesn’t know. She was staring blankly, immersed in her thought when Ms. Lydia added,
“You can come this weekend to see my house, and how I live…Just give it a try. I mean you may like it.”
“Yes, she will” said Tatiana patronizingly, and again Laura realized she didn’t have a choice after all: She had to go.
The car stopped in front of a big beige brick house, with a small yard.
“This is my house, pretty” Said Lydia, and gave the keys to Laura to open the door.
Laura stepped in what seemed to be light brown parquet. At her left, there was the living room, with dark brown sofas, and a big oil painting of a weird screaming man. At her right, there was a huge polished glass table. long wooden stairs led to the second floor, where Laura’s room was destined to be. The room was so small, yet cozy with silver-pink wallpaper and a window overlooking the mesmerizing flower bed of the back yard.
Lydia was so nice to her, she never let her alone. They went together for grocery shopping and prepared lunch. The next day, at the very morning, the door was knocked on. Laura opened it to see that Ms. Tatiana sent her the remaining stuff. At that moment, she understood that everything was pre-arranged, and she wasn’t to decide whether to live there. She looked back to see that Ms. Lydia was standing behind her,
“I know it seemed like we’ve tricked you…I really wanted to come, see, and then decide, but it was legally impossible. No one was to take a child without completing the procedures. I am really sorry, but I like you so much.”
“t’s okay,” said Laura flatly.
Lydia, having expected a naughty rebellion, was astounded of her reaction.
“She’s a good lady, she treats me well…but what if she starts mistreating me, or patronizing me, just like Ms. Tatiana….”
“Let’s have our breakfast, and then go shopping” Ms. Lydia interrupted her thoughts.
Lydia treated her just like a mom treated her daughter. She would take her for long walks, grocery shopping, she even helped her with her school assignments. She never divested her of her honey-sweet phrases: she would call her darling, sweetheart, but most of the time “my fortune”.
Laura liked her, but she sometimes felt that there was more in what Lydia said than the words themselves.
“Am I a fortune? Why is she calling me so?”
09th April was Laura’s birthday. Although it was a cloudy rainy day, Lydia prepared a surprise party for her and invited Ms. Tatiana and the girls who used to share room 50 with her.
Having prepared everything, Lydia went upstairs to bring her down. The moment they showed, the girls started singing the happy-birthday-song.
“Blow it off, blow it off…”
She was about to blow when Lydia stopped her
“Wait! Make a wish first”
She finally blew it off. They had a good time eating and chatting. Ironically, it was maybe her first time talking to her ex-roomies. She’d known none, but Perrie.The party was over, and the girls left for the orphanage. Laura thought they were supposed to clean, but Lydia suggested going to the sea.
“It’s a cloudy day, the sea must be turbulent”
“We’re not going to a beach; we’re going to a cliff. Trust me, the view is mind-blowing.”
They put on their coats and went. The sea was much more turbulent than Laura imagined it would be. Lydia was enjoying the scene, but Laura was shaking like a leaf.They were both standing silently when Lydia ventured.
“You know I was once marriedTo a doctor.He was at china”
Laura’s eyes grew wide.
“He was your father’s friend," added Ms. Lydia.
“So that’s why you’ve adopted me?”
“No, I didn’t know that you even exist. My husband and your father had a business, and they left a big fortune…I was to inherit it all, but my lawyer told me I could only take 50%”
“You adopted me to take the 100%” said Laura furiously.
“Yep” said Lydia, and pushed her into the sea.
“Lydia, please No! No! Help me!” Laura cried, clinging to a tree bush.
“I like you, but I love money more," said Lydia.
She left, and all she was thinking of was her fortune, and how to spend it.
“Heeeeelp! Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeelp!”Cried Laura helplessly, but no one was there. Who would go to a sea cliff in such a cloudy day?
Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, TaninaWrite a Review