Our protagonist. The picture depicts the...two sides of everything perhaps? She's imperfectly perfect!

The truth, that *insert participle*

‘The further you go, the better it will be. Where you go does matter, but what matters more is how you go there.’

My choppy bangs fell over my eyes, and I flipped it back irately. “Look yonder,” the shopman said. I looked over to where he was pointing. Twilight was tepid today, with bugs flying around in the summery warmth, the air perspiring with sweltering little molecules of heat. My heart skipped a beat as I looked over at the grimy wall. A dusty piece of paper was plastered sloppily over it, and on it was a photograph. Above the photo were the words – ‘WANTED’.

The man looked closely at the picture, and his amiable expression changed definitely. His brows furrowed, his lips pursed, as he looked from the picture to me to the picture. My hand rested cleverly on the bag of fruit I had purchased with the stolen money, and slowly, as realization dawned on the shopkeeper, I got ready. His eyes turned to me with a mixture of terror and resolve. I deftly grabbed the package and hurled the money on the wooden table, as I ran.

Hey, hey you!” the man yelled behind me. “Come ‘ere, help me! The girl on the poster’s gettin’ ‘way!” he shouted at everyone sitting around. My heartbeat accelerated, as I held the fruit close to my body and sprinted. I could hear many pairs of feet behind me. I jumped over plastic pipes and sewer canals as I maneuvered cunningly around the narrow lanes. “Get ‘er!” some man yelled, and someone in my way stood up, blocking my path. I clenched my teeth. I flung my arms foolishly to keep anyone from getting close to me. After a long, wild goose chase, I perceived my getaway.

I slipped into a cramped street, shadowed with the cloth roofs of roadside outlets. I jumped over a brick jutting out of the old wall, beseeching myself not to fall, and flung myself over the parapet wall above. “Where did she go?” I heard cries of anguish, of irritation from below. I sighed slowly, my breath trembling, as I lay low for as long as I could. Stupid, stupid poster. I crawled forward in the sultry dust, finding some space to stay for the night. I opened my bag of fruit under a sheet of canvas and bit into it. Gratitude filled me gently.

When I could finally breathe again normally, my eyes stung with hot tears. I looked up at the palm trees at the distance and was reminded of the coast, of our little home at the seaside. The smell of wet sand, the feeling of shells breaking under your feet as you walked; all of it came back to me. The tears spilled from my eyes. ‘Outcast!’, ‘Destitute!’, ‘Criminal!’ echoed in my mind – the crude voices of those trying to get me, those who didn’t know me at all. “You’re the only true person I’ve known.” I shook my head, trying to get her voice out of my head. “I’m with you, always, you know that.” I crushed a fruit without really knowing that I was doing so; the soreness washing me over callously was far too much to bear.

My sister, the sister I’d lost. “What more can I lose?” I whispered grievously, even though I’d wanted to scream it out loud. My voice came in sobs. I watched a tomcat strut around the litter tossed all around, and make its way to me. “You may lose me today, but I’ll be there when you need me.” The cat faced me, its marble-like eyes questioning. “You’ll just have to look around; it’ll be me by your side when you need me most.” I beckoned the cat forward. It got on its hind legs playfully. I chuckled.

I remembered the horse that stood on its hind legs. It scared everyone away. I laughed as I recalled how I had leaped onto its back, and how I’d acquired dinner for the mother and her child. No one had dared to come my way when I was on that horse.

The cat meowed. I tickled its tummy, and it snapped at my fingers willingly. I was reminded of my brief stay at the garret of a warehouse. I’d bundled up all the cloth I had found and had given it to the residents of the streets. If I thought about it now, I too was a resident of the street. I was as homeless as any other on the streets. An old man I had stolen food for had called me the ‘robin hood’ of his life.

Our rebel girl. She's the savior of many, the threat of many. She's...perfectly imperfect.
Everyone makes mistakes. And there are always two sides to everything. Perfection is a myth, and so is the idea of someone being perfect. One of my favorite lines from a Disney song says – ‘Imperfect, perfectly.’ I like that, don’t you too?

The cat rested its head on my lap, purring softly. “Is it you, irmã?” I asked. The cat meowed again, looking up at me. Maybe this cat was my sister. It was a bizarre thought, a remarkable one. And yet, I wanted to believe it tonight. If not for myself, I thought, I had lived up to the expectations of my sister. She had saved me countless times from the wrath of men and women trying to get me into jail for my ‘atrocious’ acts of theft. My sister believed me, nonetheless. Her faith in my goodness was as unflinching as the priest’s faith in the supreme.

My sister’s favorite catchphrase was – ‘ The further you go, the better it will be. Where you go does matter, but what matters more is how you go there.’ This was the truth that we shared. Maybe I wasn’t going about my job the best way possible. But for now, I had to figure out my means. What others saw as mistakes in me were my biggest successes.

I had no one but my sister, I had thought, when she too had left this world, had been peeled away from me. But now, I knew somehow that I was not alone. It is the truth. Was it the truth? It was the truth. I was a lifesaver to so many, and an imprudent hazard to many others. But when no one did anything for these people, they were helpless. And no one does anything for me, so I am helpless, too. And I understand their pain. Nobody did us any good. We had no money. Our lives mattered, too, didn’t they?

So I am an outcast. I am a threat. I am a rebel. But that is my truth. And my sister saw this truth. “Not everyone needs to understand your truth,” she’d say, holding my face dearly. “You have to live it, not them.”

One Comment

  • Hairstyles

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