Every day for about three years, I would walk down to my bus stop. Once in the morning, and back home in the evening. I would walk alone, sometimes humming to myself, sometimes sleepwalking and sometimes brooding. The walk was familiar to me in so many ways – I knew the number of steps between each turn, I knew every puddle, every bump on the lane.
I knew where young Jay had crashed his bicycle and left a mark on his neighbor’s wall. I remembered how Mrs. Reddy’s house would smell sweetly of the hundred roses that bloomed in her garden.
These few things remained exactly the same in my memory for three years, except that one house…
It was a small house with a bricked roof. the front porch was decorated with about twenty different potted plants and beautiful fairy lights. The gate was short and had a wooden board that said ‘You can try and beware, but our dog is very friendly!’
I would stop to look at the house often and every day it would look different. As if it had a new emotion. It had also become a part of my routine… waiting in front of the house to get a glimpse of her. Missya.
She would come out of her house, with a watering can or a cup of tea in the mornings – unaware that beyond the tree in front of her house, I was watching her. She was so beautiful. Her hair was salt and pepper, but thick and wavy. She had hints of forthcoming wrinkles, but her eyes shone with the youth of a teenager. Her skin was flawless and her body curvy, she was truly the most gorgeous woman I had ever seen.
She defined the mood of the house. It was always fresh, new and creative. She was an artist, and she looked her part. I never saw any painting of hers, but her everyday moods were paintings in themselves.
It wasn’t her beauty that hooked me. It was her walk, bold and confident… her voice, booming yet soft… her gaze, knowing and caring. She was everything that I wasn’t, and I was jealous of her and idolized her all at once.
And like clockwork, pattering feet would hint the arrival of the love of her life. She would turn with joy and bend down to pick up in her arms her delightful little girl, voicing inaudible murmurs of her genuine love.
The little girl, Missya’s daughter, was a peaceful sight. She had a warm, loving face that mirrored her mother’s beauty. I had always wondered, how can God have filtered so perfectly (with bias, perhaps) only one parent’s trait into her child. The girl was Missya’s, with no sign of any other DNA, as if she was a gift only to her mother.
That was true too! The house, often looked down upon, often ignored during neighborhood celebrations, and often avoided, belonged to only these two. There was no sign of the girl’s father, and Missya wasn’t married.
The world looked at the house and saw blasphemy or a societal flaw. Neighborhood gossips followed around Missya, every time she stepped out. But I looked at it with awe, because of Missya and her phenomenal aura.
I wanted, as that plain, meek girl hidden behind a tree, to be as lovingly confident and beautifully radiant as Missya. She was everything I dreamed of being.
I would move on, after a while, bidding farewell to that beautiful sight of a mother and daughter who needed nobody else. I would go back to the familiarity and monotony that was for a minute or so interrupted by something fresh. I would walk back into the world that deemed their love and lifestyle as flawed.
I disagreed, but never out loud. And one day she left the neighborhood, and my daily doze of wonder left me as well.
I wonder, sometimes, if dreams felt the way the sight of Missya did. And I wonder if I would meet her some day… Missya, my sister, beyond these dreams.
You see, the world may have seen me as the ‘good child’, but I knew the truth deep inside.