I sit here in this deserted park on an autumn afternoon, gazing at the leaves that fall from the branches, thinking about what a tree must feel when a leaf falls from its branch and what the leaf must feel when destiny snatches away the shade it has been living under all its life. I wonder how terrible the pain must be for a parent to be parted from a being of it’s own. But I can relate to the autumn leaf that falls off and decays slowly into the ground.
Passersby adore the abandoned tree, but never stop to look at the fallen leaves.
That’s how I feel too, as a part of this society.
Turning to my side where two children are playing, I see their parents sitting close, keeping a watch on them. They seem to me, the most carefree children around. For all the worries, their parents are there to look after them. It unknowingly brings a smile on my face, thinking about the warmth of parents’ love and care, and how it makes a protective shell around the child.
As I turn to the other side, my smile fades away on seeing a teenager sitting on the other side of the road, begging. I’m then reminded of the brutal truth that every kid isn’t lucky enough to have a shadow of their parents guide their way. Some are mocked by destiny and thrown into the world to take care of themselves on their own. Neither do they sleep on warm beds, nor do they have cuddly toys to play with. They learn about life the hard way.
I sit and wonder how different these two worlds are, separated by just a road!
I then face the building in front of me at the end of the park. “Sunshine Orphanage” reads its name. I think about the kids who live there. I think about the first thought that crosses every kid’s mind – Will I be the one to get picked today?
That, and also the disappointment of many, for not being the chosen kid. It feels like a vegetable in a food market. People come and pick the ones that suit their eyes. Nobody bothers to know about the unpicked ones.
I then think about how other children don’t have to worry about how things will work out. Yet I see so many ungrateful children fighting because they can’t look better than their friend, running away from their homes, everyone having their reasons. Some leave because they cannot adjust with their folks, some because they feel like they found someone to spend their life with, some because their demands were not fulfilled by their parents.
I say, let them lead a life the children at orphanage do, just for one week. Let them struggle with the feeling of being left alone and no nearby door to knock for help. Let them live a week where each day starts with excitement while dressing their best when someone comes for adopting a child and the disappointment that follows when somebody else gets picked. Let them live the life of an orphan for just one week and I bet they’d never in their lives talk about leaving again.
Sometimes you don’t value what destiny has already rewarded you with. The more you have, the less you care. That is why sometimes you need to lose what you have so you can realize what you had, and appreciate what you get because absence is the best teacher.
I then look down at the grass beneath my feet and feel thankful for at least having a ground to walk freely on. Thinking about freely, I’m reminded that I’ll soon be an adult and I’ll have to find a place of my own to live. The home schooling has taught me many things that might help me to set up my own base. Orphanages don’t usually support children over the age of maturity because they don’t always have the funds to support our careers and further lives.
Looking back at the giant tree, I witness the last existing leaf on the entire tree fall off. I see it falling on the ground and getting mixed with the other fallen leaves, walked over by pedestrians and cyclists. I imagine myself as one among the fallen.
Yes, I am the orphan no one cares about. My parents left me here when I was one year old for god-knows-what reasons. I don’t know what mother’s love and being daddy’s pride feels like, unlike the other privileged children. I long to get my hair caressed, and my cheek kissed, to feel my father pat my back, just like every other parent does with their child. My unseen wounds ache to be nursed by the care and attention of my folks. I want to know what family feels like. My eyes fill with tears, thinking about how my parents must look or if I’ll even recognize them if we happen to cross paths. Will they recognize me? Whose looks feature more in me? Do they miss me? Will they ever come searching for me? Are they even alive?
A thousand questions to ask, just this deafening silence to answer.
I’m the orphan who goes unnoticed by this society. I’m determined to either make a place for myself into this world, or decay and mix with the ground, trying. For hope is my drug of choice and I’m certain that it’ll either kill me or get me what I want. Both the chances are worth a shot. After all, what’s there to lose anyway?
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