“Thirty one, thirty two…… Thirty … three.. Hey I counted you …! Oh no , I’ll have to do it all over again..” Said five year old Alice, trying to count the stars.
Her sister, Anne, three years elder to her,laughs and asks her, “why do you want to want to count them anyway?”
“Because they’re so pretty and they twinkle! Now tell me.. Why are there so many stars in the sky?” Said Alice
“Well .. When someone you love dies… They turn into stars … And they can be seen every night… They twinkle so that they can attract your attention…” Explained Anne . (she had been told so by her mother).
Anne’s mobile phone woke her up and brought her back to earth. It was her mom.
“Where were you… I kept calling you… Messaging you but you didn’t respond” , said her mother.
Her mother knew that she would be disturbed today more than any other day.
“Sorry mom, I fell asleep.” She replied. She looked at her clock : 11:00 pm.
She talked to her mom for a while and then walked over to her sofa.
Fourteen yrs. Fourteen years had passed away …. But still this memory stayed intact. Most of her years with Alice , is now something that felt like a dream. But this was her best memory with her and one of the last too. She was too young to die. If i could live so long why is it that she had to leave so soon? , she used to think.
Life is always so confusing. How can something like losing your loved ever be for a reason? What reason? She was an innocent little child… Had only started exploring the world…. Why should she ever be worthy of something as grave as death …… she thought.
Today she would have turned nineteen. If only she had been there… Her life would have been so different. She wiped her tears away and went to bed.
It was on her way to work that Anne had first noticed her. A small girl in rags, unkempt hair , begging on the streets. But her being human T-shirt caught her attention because it was better compared to her otherwise dilapidated condition.Alice saw her the next day and the day after that. But after that the girl disappeared.
A week later, she saw her again, as she exited a cafe. She tried to avoid the girl, but then the girl caught up with Anne.
“Please , if I don’t earn enough, they’ll starve me. They’ll beat me up.” She squeaked, in her weak voice.
Anne caught her breath and her heart stopped beating for a second. For this girl reminded her of Alice, that innocent look on her. Like water flowing out of a dam when it breaks, suppressed memories started flowing into her mind. Confused she tried to walk away, but the girl caught on to her dress and gave it tug, like Alice used to when Anne would not talk to her.
She bent down on her knees and asked the girl, “what’s your name?”
“I don’t know… I don’t have any name” she replied.
Anne took out her purse and was about to give the girl some money (the girl had an expectant smile on her face) when she noticed marks on her small hands. They looked like cigarette marks.
“What are these? Who did this to you?” Anne asked the girl.
“They did” the girl replied, a timid expression on her face.
“Don’t you have parents? Family?” Anne asked her.
“No” the girl rreplied.
Suddenly an idea struck Anne.
“Come with me”, she said , guiding her to Anne’s car. Anne stopped on the way to buy a few things.
An hour later , Anne was looking at the girl with a smile. She looked much more cuter now that Anne had bathed her, combed and tied her hair into a neat ponytail. She no longer wore those dirty rags, instead she now wore clean new clothes.
Anne took her to a nearby orphanage.
“From now on you’ll be called Alice and no matter what your problem is, you can always tell me. You will never have to go back, ever again. You will be taken care of here, and you will also go to school. Ok?” Said Alice
The little girl was speechless, because all people ever had showed her was hatred and disgust. And this warmth and love from Anne made her eyes watery. She nodded her head yes, hugged Anne tight and kissed her on the cheek.
On her way back, Anne, for the first time in years felt complete again.
After reaching at a better financial status maybe I could bring her home, to live with me … she mused, smiling at the thought.