The Stained Cape

The people who say that money can’t buy you happiness are either liars or rich. Everyone living in the house no. 26, Blackdrop Street, except little Molly, believes in this idea. And by everyone I mean, Molly Smith’s hopeless father. Nobody knows yet if he’s hopeless because he’s poor or is it the other way round. But soon little Molly will prove the latter to be true.


It is that part of the day when Papa is out, and Molly has nothing else to do, but to practise football to gain the acceptance letter from the team of her locality. But today, her kick won’t be ordinary. She has drawn the net on the door of the room which she calls the Lizard’s castle. This is the room that her papa always keeps locked and tells Molly not to enter. For if she will, their house will be full of lizards. But Molly is a grown up kid and isn’t scared of lizards anymore.


In a moment after a kick, the door flung open. She laughs because things don’t go as she has expected. Nothing comes out of the door- neither lizards nor any creature who looks even close to the reptiles.


She grins as she keeps her hands on her waists. It is a moment of discovery for her. She walks into the room, inspects everything, or at least that’s what she thinks she is doing. And soon, she finds pictures of a man with long hair, holding something which Molly can’t term, unusual style of beard, and a look that she hasn’t seen before. But there is one thing familiar- the eyes; the man has her father’s eyes.


After going through photographs layered with dust, letters, and rusted trophies, she realises that her father was a guitarist and a singer. She sees a stack of cassettes kept in one corner and on the other side of the room, she finds the same thing which the man was holding in the picture. ‘Gibson Guitar’- she reads on the neck of that instrument. Molly is least bothered about the first word because it is too faded for her to read. “Juitar,” she says as she reads the second word with amusement. She keeps on reminiscing words that begin with G.
Giant- a word her father often says while reading her stories; Germany- a country from where her best friend is; Guitar- something she has discovered in the Lizard’s castle.


She grabs the giant guitar, or what she says- the Jiant Juitar, in her hands and walks out of the room. It isn’t the first time she has seen a guitar. But it is the first time she’s holding the six-stringed instrument and knows how to call it. She runs her finger through the strings and jumps with joy when she listens to a beautiful sound. But her pride and joy runs away from her face, the moment she sees an unwanted expression on papa’s face.


“What is this Molly? Why did you open the room?” he shouts.


“Papa, why don’t you play guitar anymore?”


Papa snatches it from her hand, showers some words Molly hasn’t heard before, and leaves. After a while, he listens to her sobs which are growing every minute. He knows they aren’t real, he knows that little Molly is not a good actor. But papa goes, bends on his knees and apologizes.


“Papa wants to say sorry, hun.”


“Juitar,” she says and sobs again.


“I have stopped playing guitar, Molly. Because of this, your father couldn’t be a superhero. He couldn’t save your mother’s life because he couldn’t pay the bills.”


“A superhero with a stained cape is still a superhero. And why do you think that a stained cape can’t make you fly?”


“Do you know why do we have to walk to your school while your other friends go in a school bus? Because we are poor.”


“If we had money, it could buy me a bus ride to school every day, but hardly any conversations with papa. It couldn’t buy me happiness.”


Mr. hopeless Smith might have had hope if he wasn’t poor. But he was poor because he was devoid of it. Little Molly proved it.


He played guitar for months and slept with a hungry daughter on many nights. Every time he thought of giving up, Molly fed him hope. It took gallons of tears, magical words of a daughter, a little dose of hope, and a Juitar to make a superhero, with a stained cape, fly.


The people who say that money can’t buy you happiness are those who speak the truth. Everyone living in the house no. 26, Blackdrop Street, believed in this idea. And by everyone I mean, Molly Smith and her hopeful father. Nobody knows yet if he’s hopeful because he’s rich or is it the other way round. But little Molly proved the latter to be true.


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