“Time will heal everything,” they’d said. She knew that sounded too easy. Some people wondered why she took so long when others forgot so soon. “The healing process is unique for all,” she’d reply. Nobody was satisfied with her progress but she didn’t care. The day she realised that she had moved on, she defined healing as new habit that we are forced into.
The girl asked him to write her a poem. “What kind of poem?” He looked confused. “You’re a writer. You certainly know how to write a poem,” she replied with irritation. He agreed with her but had a valid excuse this time. “But one needs to feel something in order to write,” he muttered. The girl tossed back her hair and gave him angry eyes. She wondered how he dared to call himself a writer.
Chiki Kangaroo was a good girl. She did her homework without any help. She ate her vegetables with no fuss. Her friends’ mothers all said, “Look at Chiki. She is so disciplined.” Chiki would smile and enjoy watching her classmates turn red with jealousy. Mother Kangaroo was proud of Chiki, but she did not like her thinking that she was better than the others.
“Chiki, you should be nicer to your friends.” “But, Mother, what have I done?” Mother Kangaroo tried to explain how Chiki should not like making her classmates jealous. “Chiki, sometimes you can thank the person offering you a kind word and say that everybody else is good too.” Chiki looked confused as she played with her brother who was peeping out of his pouch. She replied with a frown. “I’ve always been the sweetest girl in class,” she thought. Hearing she was wonderful was nothing new. It always happened. “So it must be true,” she said to herself.
One day, Father Kangaroo brought home a little game for Chiki. It looked like a tiny box with some buttons on it, and a small screen. “Here is a toy for you,” said Father Kangaroo. He told her to play with it after she finished her homework in the evenings.
Chiki Kangaroo could not wait to get her hands on the game. When she did, she didn’t want to stop. The screen was full of letters and had a little clock too. Chiki made word after word with the floating letters as she raced against time. She started writing down the scores. “I have to show this to everybody at school,” she decided.
The next day, Chiki Kangaroo showed the game to her classmates. Then she showed them the little piece of paper with her scores written on it. She made sure that all the aunties saw it too. “You are the best speller in class, right little Chiki?” Chiki Kangaroo grinned happily. “If only Kiran played such useful games instead of watching television,” said another aunty. Everybody was angry – except for Chiki Kangaroo.
At the dinner table, Father Kangaroo and Mother Kangaroo were upset. They were waiting for Chiki to stop playing her game and talk to them, but trying to beat her own Highest Score was keeping Chiki busy. She pressed each button excitedly, her eyes not blinking.
Suddenly, she leaped up and announced that her score was very high. Nobody looked interested. They continued to eat. Chiki Kangaroo looked sad. She wanted to hear them say that she was the best speller in the world!
The family went for a walk. Chiki joined them with her game. “You can take a break from the game,” her mother told her. Chiki shook her head, her fingers busy on the buttons.
As they turned into a dark corner of the neighbourhood where the lights were dim, Chiki Kangaroo almost fell down. She had missed a bump on the road. Father Kangaroo asked her to stop playing the game while they were walking. Chiki Kangaroo nodded and stopped playing – but just for a minute or two.
When they were almost home after the long walk, Chiki Kangaroo found herself and her new game in a puddle of mud. The game was ruined and Mother Kangaroo and Father Kangaroo were happy.
“See, Chiki? Everybody says that you are a good girl, but that doesn’t mean that you should stop listening to your parents,” they said. Chiki Kangaroo knew they were right. She said sorry and promised to listen next time.
The leaves drifted away with the cruel wind. Every tree felt the impending nakedness. Across the rippling lake sat several flocks of birds. They struggled to hold their fur down, looking somewhat shy. The little boys and girls giggled with delight as their clothes threatened to fly away. One little child fought the busy air and water because he had to. Still, his hat could not be rescued.
He bit into his toast. She focused her attention on the melting butter that rested on her pancakes. The rhythm of the kettle kept things under control for a bit. Then he made the coffee that burned his tongue and left her wrist scalded. He threw the kettle onto the floor while her butter lay in a pool of tears.
Darkness filled the sunny morning sky. Every singing bird sang a song of sorrow. Even the heaviest trees swayed with dread. With every tick of the clock towards disaster, offices felt their usual stress. The smell of caffeine transformed into dangerous odor, leaving everybody’s mouth dirty. A few seconds before the shaking, the pigeons landed into a lifeless pile.