Short Stories, The Pen

Myths, Wishes and Failed Hopes

Rishab held a newspaper over his forehead to block the piercing evening sunrays burning his eyes while they lay in the middle of a Cotton field near an abandoned well. “Chuck it”, he said as his arms started to hurt.

“Weak ass”, Sameer smirked.

“Yeah, whatever..”, Rishab smiled,” that’s something I used to tell you. Look how times change.”

Sameer lay silent for a while beside Rishab. After what seemed like a minute he exhaled,” Yeah, your parents spoilt you for good. I really am happy for you bud.” Rishab touched his crutches just to ensure they were still beside him.

Rishab sat up and faced his best friend in a hand-me-down shirt torn around his right shoulder whom he hadn’t met in three years since he was adopted by his parents. These two were inseparable troublemakers who played football for their district and Sameer now has become a state level player and Rishab ended up being paralysed in his right leg.

The parents on their way to adopt a child (a toddler on their mind) rammed into Rishab who had somehow appeared on the road while trying to go for a header which as events unfolded led a guilty couple adopting an eleven-year-old orphan.

Rishab and his family were moving to Canada and Rishab wanted to meet his friends at the orphanage, especially Sameer before he left. Or the last time he’d meet Sameer.

“I’m sorry, I never meant to leave you alone here,” Rishab said with a tear running down his cheek. “Especially with warden sir” He was super strict and the two rarely went to bed without being bet up but the warden and overworked doing chores every day with that smile which resembled the smile of Satan himself. He made the two work so much over weekends that weekdays and school seemed like a vacation.

“You really turned into a sissy.” Sameer punched into Rishabs ribs. “You always deserved something better. And, warden sir isn’t an ass as he was before.”

After a moment of silence between the two (ignoring Rishab’s failed attempts to stop tearing up) Sameer said sitting up and looking and pointing at the old abandoned well,“ Remember the day we were right here?”

It was a myth amongst the villagers and also the children of the orphanage that the well brought wishes to reality when they stood on the ledge, close their eyes and wish with all the truth in their heart. Or was it? The well now was a house to insects and bats and weird aquatic animals and memories of all those children who didn’t survive the fall.

“We stood on the ledge, well you forced me to! We wished we’d find parents”, Sameer said with a sigh,” And you found them.”

“I did …” Rishab paused guiltily “…too.” I wished I found parents. That was one of the only times he did something selfish. And the worst part, He never even realized he didn’t wish for them until he was adopted. In his defence, myths were just myths and this was just a coincidence. They did lose in the state level semifinals the year before even though they wished for a victory.

“So much for a wishing well. It’s a bloody fraud!”

After an hour of Rishab showing Sameer pictures of his life, his parents called up asking him to be ready as were about to leave.

As Sameer helped Rishab stand up he said, “I know it doesn’t work. But, let’s wish once more. I know it probably won’t work. But you know… There’s no other reason to keep going on here other than hope.” A hope that always seemed to fail, and yet he clung on to it like a leech.

Rishab’s guilt got the better of him “But..”

“I’ll hold you, buddy. You won’t fall.”

And there they were standing on the ledge of the Wishing well with the setting sun casting their shadows into the well. Sameer put his hand over Rishab’s shoulder to help him balance and both closed their eyes and took a deep breath.

I wish I could play football again. I wish I can feel my legs.

I wish I had found parents.

A guilty and an innocent child wished, all clinging to hope, that seemed to evade them while one wished something else, and one stuck with the same wish. Times changed for both differently and neither wished something for each other. Even amongst close friends it seemed that it was each man for himself.

**********

Rishab sat in the back of his Jaguar XF, rolled down the window and waved goodbyes to everyone. Sameer was too overwhelmed to come down and part with him, instead he sat in his room and waved him goodbye from the window with teary eyes.

As the car moved away Sameer sat on his bed which faced a mirror, closed his eyes and took a deep breath and slowly drifted sleep until a chill seemed to run through him.

As the car passed the arch that thanked them to visit the village and hoped they visited again, a chill seemed to run through Rishab. All the windows seemed to freeze and the temperature dropped suddenly.

As he opened his eyes startled Rishab found himself staring at himself in the mirror sitting on Sameer’s bed wearing Sameer’s shirt which was torn at the shoulder and two legs that were perfect to play football.

A pleasant scent or car perfume brought warmth to Sameer as mother turned back and asked, “Rish sweety, How was today? Tell me about Sameer, you guys spent most of the time together right?”

Sameer saw Rishab’s reflection smiling back at him in the rearview mirror of the Jaguar with mom and dad sitting right in front.

“Sameer, Who’ll wash the dishes?”, a furious warden stood facing Sameer.

I wish I could play football again. I wish I can feel my legs.

I wish I had found parents.

If only a myth were just a myth. And if only hope failed.

The End.
Or is it?

This is an attempt of mine with magic realism. I really hope this one is worth the read and time!

It’d be really great if you could let me know what you thought of this! It’ll help me improve my writing!

Until then,
#stayWonderstruck

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