This short story became SPIXer (Most popular story) on 12 Oct 2013 and won INR 500
This short story is selected as Story of the Month September’2013 and won INR 1,000
This story is selected as Editor’s Choice
Wind ruffled his shaggy brown hair with its cold clammy fingers. His eyes stared at the distant sky, decorated with multitude of stars.
There were no hindering clouds. It looked like there was a carnival happening up there in the sky today. He giggled lightly at that thought.
He loved the night and especially the stars; they were, to him, a magic; created by God.
He didn’t believe in wonder anymore; or in girly-tales. After all, he was 8, and he was grown up, according to him.
‘I even has facial hair, dad.’ He’d say indignantly whenever his dad called him ‘Kid.’
Kid- he wasn’t a kid; he could bath himself and eat on his own; he got ready for school by himself- so he wasn’t a kid. Not in the least bit.
But he still hoped that he was wrong; that miracle did happen. That somewhere out there, God was looking at him and was waiting for him to wish for something.
He never wished, though. He was afraid to face the disappointment and the pain that’d accompany it.
The wind mellowed and it was now almost gentle like the fingers of a mother, touching her new born child. It was tender. He shivered.
/Close your eyes/
He did. The voice was so soothing; alluring. It almost sounded like his mother’s voice. Gentle and full of love.
He could feel his mother behind him; her lavender scent. He imagined her curly black hair tied together; her kind brown eyes gazing at his back.
He felt her; it was almost otherworldly. A gentle wind pushed him lightly and it felt like his mother’s touch.
/Wish for something. There is that shooting star/
He opened his eyes in time to saw burning stars, shooting into the atmosphere, one after the other; like beautiful fire-crackers.
His little fingers trembled, as he clutched them together for strength.
He closed his eyes again, as he wished with all his heart. His clasped hand shivered as he lowered them, and as if it was too much, his little legs carried him downstairs in a frenzied rush.
He reached the living room, his heart thudding.
There was a woman in his living room. She looked kind and beautiful.
Her eyes were not brown like his mother’s, but it was a shining blue; and at the depth of her eyes, he found the same kindness with which his mother would look at; when she was alive.
Two long years had passed since she left him; dad said she was happy in the heaven- but he wanted his mom back. He was sure, she’d be more joyous by him.
As time passed, he realized his mom wouldn’t come back.
Now all he had of her was memories. Memories of her feeding him; reading a bed time story; kissing him good-night; saying I love you, baby.’ He missed it all. And more.
Sometimes he fell asleep with tears, wondering whether she did truly love him or not. She’d not have left him alone, if she did. But his Dad said she loved him more than anything, and she couldn’t come back, even if she wished. He believed.
“So kid, this is Maria. My co-worker; Maria, this is Mac, my son.”
“Dad, I’m not a kid. How many times I have to say that?” He asked with a grumpy scowl. His dad ruffled his hair with an “Okay kid, whatever you say!”
The little boy sulked.
The woman smiled at him; her eyes shone, as she did. He stared at her in wonder, and flushed a cute pink, when she caught him starting.
“Hey champ, what were you doing in the upstairs?” His father asked as he handed the woman a glass of juice.
“I was wishing on a shooting star.” He said with a shy look at the woman and smiled hesitantly.
“What did you wish for?”
“Dad, it won’t come true if I disclose it to anyone. You don’t know the rules?” The boy asked with a small shake of his head. The woman laughed.
He sat next to the woman in the cushion and she asked him about anything and everything. He answered eagerly.
“I have two best friends. The boy is Carl and we play football together. The girl is Lilly; she’s whiny, and girly. She read only fairy-tales, and she pester Carl and me to play with her Barbie. God, we are men.” He finished huffily.
“I love reading; not fairy-tales. Classics. Carl calls me nerd. But I prefer the term brainy.” The boy said, puffing his chest out proudly like a soldier.
His father studied them with a small, genuine smile; for the first time his son was talking to someone else other than him, about his hobbies, friends and collections. He loved watching it.
“Will you come upstairs? I’ll show my pokeman collections and books.” He asked with so much enthusiasm that she smiled again and nodded.
The boy grasped her hand in his gentle hold and almost ran to his room, dragging her. She laughed at his fervour lovingly.
When they were alone in the room, the woman sat in his bed as he collected his cards and displayed it in front of her with a proud grin. He looked adorable, and happy.
“My family was dead in the fire accident happened three years ago.” He stopped his descriptions about the cards and looked at her.
Thank God, she didn’t look like she was crying.
He sighed relieved. He didn’t know what to do with crying girls. Carl and he would run away whenever Lilly started crying.
“I saw that shooting star through the windows too; you know what I wished for?” She asked with a small smile. He nodded eagerly but then protested saying it won’t come true when you said it out loud.
She just smiled; she was so much like his mother, and he liked her. No one could replace his mother, but…
“I wished for a son; a family, again.” She said in a low voice.
He didn’t say anything to that, instead placed his little hands around her shoulder in an embrace with an innocence that only young children had.
Late at that night, when she left for home, she kissed him on his forehead. He clutched her hand tightly, afraid to let her go.
He was scared that if he let her go, she wouldn’t come back, just like his mom.
“Promise you’ll come back?” He asked as his father tried to remove his hand from hers.
“I will, darling.” She said as she kissed his cheeks again and again.
As she left, he whispered silently to the wind,
“I wished for a mom.”