77088-20120920110901-lbIt was the fourth time that her phone rang. She stared at the screen, it was mother again.

She was only 10 when her parents had decided for her – Emily would go to boarding school for rest of her life. It was hard for her to understand the reasons behind. She had cried whole night, cursing her parents. She had assumed that her parents did not love her anymore.

She stared at the screen again. It was 11:00pm. Parents would not call her now. She switched off the phone and threw it inside the side drawer – among her hair clips, rosemary and candies.

Ms. Johnson had greeted her with open arms that day – ensuring that Emily meets the best of people and love the school. She was offered front seat near the window at class, Ms Johnson arranged for extra candies during break for her and also took her out for stroll during late evenings to watch rabbits behind the school.

She looked herself in the mirror; she was grown up adolescent now. She tried smiling hard, but her face seemed cold without emotion.

It had been 6 years now that Emily had made home away from home.

School did not allow phone calls during weekdays, Saturdays and Sundays were meant to be Emily’s best days in the week. She would get up early, visit church and would wait near the only phone on her floor at the corner of the building. Every weekend, her mother would call her sharp at 10:00am. It had become a ritual for her. After a hearty conversation with mommy dear, Emily would play with her best friend Carrie for an hour and would slurp delicious lunch at Ms Johnson’s house. Evenings were spent painting and completing pending home works. After dinner, Emily would again watch the phone till 9:30pm when her father would call. Everything had been routine.

Among the clumsy pool of 36 beds, she had got the 5th bed beside the window. After every 2 months, the settings changed, to ensure every girl gets a bed near the window- the only place where the fans looked bit effective.

She changed herself in the pink night dress, which she had brought herself last year from the Christmas money. She admired the settings for the last time and started packing her bags.

In 6 years, not even once had she been called back home. During vacations, her parents would come down to meet her, often carrying unnecessary gifts. Father would send ‘extra money’ after her 3rd year in the school, giving excuses she never understood. Sometimes, mother would talk about a little girl named Julie whom she disliked for no reasons. Everything was bizarre for her- her family, Julie and her ‘forced family vacations’.

She collected memoirs gifted by her friends on her 15th birthday, she then swept the ‘tiny wax animals’ on the table top she had brought from the Zoo; she also folded the bed sheets in neat rectangular shapes to fit the only truck she had.

After 3 hours of hard work, everything she had accumulated in 6 years was packed in a truck and 3 bags. She gave the final look to her bed and window with nostalgia and bid adieu.

Last weekend, she had not received any call from her parents but a letter explaining her things she did not know till now. Problems in marital life of her parents had compelled them to send her to boarding. During her 2nd year away from home, they had applied for a divorce to end daily remorse. Soon after the first summon from court, parents had realize the dreadful end of their love marriage. Mother had cried in father’s arm, recalling the happier times and missing Emily. That is when Julie had happened to them. They had then reconsidered their divorce appeal.

However, after Julie turned one, things got worse yet again. Both had their own reasons to get out of the marriage they had nurtured for 18 years. Mother was fed up of father and his emotionless life and father would complain of her demanding nature.

The letter they had written was a request more than the information. Divorce was at its final stage and before applying for custody, both wanted to know the decision of Emily -whom would she choose to stay with?

Mother had specified categorically that Julie had been the only hope when Emily was not around and she was too small to live without her.

 But nowhere did the letter mention- who wanted Emily to stay with them?

She was called before the jury in the witness box. She could see her mother sitting next to a girl in blue stripped frock, caressing her curls with her fingers and crying occasionally. She also saw her father sitting at the far end of the court, looking drunk, he seemed staring and conversing something to his feet.

Emily handed a letter to the jury and looked at the floor, trying to avoid stares if any. She was now confident of what she wanted.

‘Dear Mom and Dad, I have always seen you together and would love to see you guys like that. I want to imagine this as a nightmare I had because I did not do my daily prayers last night. I want to imagine this as a stupid game you guys play with me when I am angry at you.

Mother, I don’t like the little creature Julie, she is luckier than me to have you around but I don’t want to complain. Father, I don’t like to see you absent minded when you visit me.

I can’t choose one of you. You both are willing to let me go to the other one. I would rather assume my life intact by your divorce and return to my dear Hostel, where I have got a family which still awaits me.

All the best, do see me during vacations like always (if possible)

Emily’

She received message from Ms Johnson – ‘When do I see you?’ and she replied ‘TONIGHT’.

She left the court without a word, her eyes unable to see anything because of the extra water. No one stopped her, and she did not wait.

Once she was out of the court, she dumped her phone and walked slowly towards her only home.

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