F I C T I O N – F L A S H
Adwiteeya Rupantee Paul
Later when I came to think of it, I realised that if you grow up with orphans, you’re not supposed to feel that you don’t exactly have anyone in this world, of your own. You start supporting each other, start filling everything you all lacked, together.
Unless you are different. And my age didn’t matter. Figures fell short before their words.
These dark lanes leading me home strongly remind me of those days. Or is it the darkness looming over me? I let myself stroll down them, down those dark memory lanes?
I didn’t have a name in the orphanage. Or perhaps I did. In their documents. Which never caught my eye. Names dead before born.
People without their parent’s names are orphans. What do you call people who don’t even have their own names?
You name them, offensive names. You point out what you only assume they lack, you start to make them feel different than the others. Yes, I must have seemed different to them, they were orphan kids as well, nobody to enlighten them and me being the only odd one. But what about the adults? Not even the adults running the orphanage felt for me. The older kids intentionally decided to make me feel abnormal.
I wonder how I’d react if I were a bit older. Would I rather use those words to make myself feel special? Turn the guns to roses? Use their attacks as my defense? Hard to tell.
Yet, their words only made me feel ugly. Not unique, but abnormal. Not out of the ordinary, rather odd. Not exceptional, but as if everyone else was okay, except me. They injected negativity in me, until my insecurities become palpable, so intense as if almost tangible. That is what they used to attack me again and again. It was me who handed them all the weapons they needed.
“Blackjack, there she goes, crying for food!” They’d scream, running after me, calling me names, starving me for days, throwing me off my bed, casting me deadly stares. I’d have fallen in love with the fact that they offered me names, but even a child of 4/5(?) years knows well enough the difference between torture and affection.
Of course, a young orphan child, like me, might not know her age, her birthday, the names of all colors like civilised kids, but I did realize what the color of my skin was, and that it was my dark skin that made me different from them, that allowed them to mock, even though they were around 10-12 years older than me.
Dark skin, dark memory lanes.
I didn’t just hate them, I also learned to hate my body, my face, my hunger and thirst, my tears, anything that gave them an opportunity to bully, in other words, anything that made me, me. I washed myself every day with a hope that it would take away the ‘dirt’, and would make me look like them, to find them holding out their arms to welcome me, to find a family.
But, can I escape from my own body?
At the age of nine/ten, I learned to give in. Give in, in a way that eventually made me win. I stopped expressing my fears, my tears, my… colours?
I painted my insides as dark as my skin.
Buried everything, all my emotions that’d give them a chance to complain, made myself prone to their words, killing what I thought was me?
Somehow my sudden coldness scared the older kids, they were suddenly afraid of what they themselves created. I was scared to see them scared too.
I feared what made my fears leave: my apparent lack of emotions.
“She’s turned into a witch! Doesn’t cry at poking anymore, doesn’t even look back!”
Dark magic, dark skin, dark memory lanes.
I return home.
Adwiteeya is a random kid who gets super soft if someone spells her name right — ’cause it’s a rarity, as you can tell.