The new pink puffy gown the girl wore was beautiful, with layers of satins and nets; she looked exactly like the little princess from the fairy-tales, with her deep emerald eyes and coffee brown hair.
The jade eyes were now filled with desperation and dejection, as she stared wistfully at the entrance. People came in hoards, but no one was what she wanted to see; what she needed to see.
“Hi Pat. You look beautiful.” She looked up at her teacher, Miss Ellen Brown, and smiled; but the smile didn’t reach her eyes.
She was almost close to tears; but she refused to. This was her day; she wasn’t going to stain it by being a cry-baby. And crying wouldn’t get her anything, she knew that at least.
She squared her shoulders as she puffed air out; to control her tears.
“Patty, are you crying?” It was Sam. She knew he would tease her mercilessly if he ever saw her crying.
“No, I am not crying. What do you want Samuel?” She asked sternly, pushing her little nose up in the air. Samuel was such a bully, and she didn’t like him at all.
He always called her a cry baby, and would mock at her in every chance he got. That boy was her enemy, or at least close. She didn’t know much about enemies, but to her, Sam was like the Cinderella’s evil step-sisters, or the evil witch from Hansel and Gretel.
“Ah princess; keep your nose down and stop being a snob.” For being just a year older than her, he had such a vast vocabulary and she despised him more for that.
“Stop teasing me, Samuel and go do useful things.” She turned away from him and walked towards the backstage.
She was done waiting. It was going to be another one of the disappointment to her little heart. Her lips trembled slightly as she took one last look at the crowd.
“Patricia, are you ready? Your drama is next to this one.” A teacher said and the girl nodded.
Her once eager enthusiasm was now completely drained as she stared at the other children acting in the drama. There were 10, including trees and birds.
One little girl dressed as a tree said happily, “My mom said she can’t wait to see me act in stage and take my photographs.”
And to Pat’s irritation, the tree-girl was just going to be stand there, in the background; with nothing to say.
She had no lines to talk, like me, yet her parents are here.
Samuel came back, dressed in his breeches which fit him tight and he looked like he was trying hard not to choke.
“The suit Miss, did I have to wear it. I think it’s tailored for a kindergarten kid.” He complained to Miss Brown, in his usual snotty tone. The teacher waved him away.
When the current recital was over, the teacher ushered the kids to the stage, including little Pat.
“Break a leg, princess. Not literally.” Samuel yelled behind her back.
The first thing Patricia noted was the empty seats marking her parents’ name in it. Her eyes clouded again.
They missed her school-day, every single year; they always had a reason though.
Pat wondered what it would be this time; maybe they were stuck in the traffic; or they have to go to their friend’s birthday, as it’s more important; or maybe they have to work, again.
She didn’t miss her single line; it was like a flow. She did it exceptionally well. She was so cute and adorable in the stage and she spoke her lines with such clarity, that some parents were captivated.
There were flashes of camera, and parents cheering for their children. She knew no one would take her photograph; she’d not have any photograph in her album- of this year play as well.
Her eyes were stuck on the only empty chair in the auditorium; she didn’t look up at any other parents; she didn’t want to see them waving at their children.
When the drama was over, she ran towards the exit, just to leave the happy children and the misery it brought to her.
She was jealous. While everyone had a happy smile on their face, she was sad. Her little heart broke at the sight of her classmates pointing to their parents proudly.
She sat in the stone bench, and closed her face with her palm. The wind was cold and she shivered.
She wanted to cry; so she did, finally. And sobbed and sobbed. Tears trailed along her chubby cheeks, one by one, in a hurry.
There was a sound that disrupted the silence. When she looked up, Samuel was standing there, his little hands inside his pockets.
“Go away Samuel.” She sniffed. He came to the bench and sat on it. She glared at him through her blurry eyes.
His fingers wiped her tears away gently and he smiled.
“Come on princess; don’t be a cry-baby. I have something for you.” He said.
She sniffed again, but didn’t look at him. He was going to laugh the moment she look at him. She knew it; she also knew that he knew her parents were absent at the function.
“I don’t want anything, Samuel.” She said stubbornly as she glared at him.
Now her tears were long gone; there was only anger.
I’d punch him in the face if he laugh at me today.
She had had enough for one day. Missing parents were more than enough to rile her up; she didn’t need Samuel in the list too.
“Come on, don’t get angry. I really have something for you.”
Then he pulled a cover from his pocket and handed it to her. She looked at it doubtfully, and then almost hesitantly, opened it.
Her dull green eyes turned bright as she looked at the gift he had presented. Her smile widened and then she laughed as she saw through it.
“How?” She asked and he smiled shyly.
“I asked dad.” His eyes were on his fingers.
“I’m so happy. Thank you.” She kissed his cheeks and they both blushed a bright red.
There in her hand were the Polaroid photographs; showing herself in different poses up in the stage. The gift she craved; the gift of memories.
“You look like a very pink cotton-candy in that dress.” Sam said, and they giggled together.
When she left for home, she kept the cover of her photographs close to her heart, as if it was a treasure. To her- It really was!