Never Been Home

“What an unfortunate little boy, entangled in a ruthless web of destiny! His wretched streak of bad luck doesn’t let him catch a break!!” lamented the cook while arranging lunch for the boys at the residential home.  

“It’s been five years but I remember it like yesterday. The boy had winded up here after losing both his parents in an accident. The amazing grace he showed in the face of a terrible tragedy is found wanting in boys his age.” she sighed. 

“Ms. Trudy, the secretary was completely taken in. When she realized that little Johnny wasn’t just another average bird, that he had more smarts than an average Joe, she chased the rainbows to bring a smile on his face and to organize the adoptions!!” 

“It started off with Menons. He was barely six when he was carted off and as luck would have it, was back before his seventh birthday. The wife had decided to meet her maker due to her heart condition, and poor Johnny had to take the brunt, for the husband alone was in no condition to look after a boy Johnny’s age.  

Next in line were  Brittons. Johnny had hardly stayed with them for three months when they lost their little daughter to the serious injuries sustained due to a fall from their high-rise apartment. Little Johnny came back with an odious tag of being star-crossed and jinxed.  

The last nail in the coffin was the car crash and consequent death of the third and the final family,  Whitneys. He came back within a month this time and has been here ever since. No family looking for adoption is ready to touch him with a barge pole”, the cook shrugged her shoulders abjectly.  

Little Johnny put down his book. The conveniently placed chair had allowed him a peep into the cook’s mind. A smile sneaked in as he recalled his so-called dismal past. 

Mrs. Menon with her heart condition—the unaccustomed exercises, (he smirked as he remembered gasping, petered out Mrs. Menon, trying to play tag), and that too without her husband’s knowledge, just to make little Johnny feel included in her home and her heart. After that, he just had to hide her nitroglycerin stash for the destiny to take its course. 

 His books, his accomplices, had guided him all along, right from the time he had taken care of his abusive father and always drunk -as -a-skunk mother. 

The Brittons and Whitneys were easy. Precarious placement of the little girl’s teddy on the parapet and a brief trip under the car to fidget and fuss, were the only efforts he had to undertake. 

“All of that, just for you, you feel like home!!” He threw a loving glance towards the secretary, his Trudy! His gaze traveled down to the much loved hastily scribbled words. 

Now I know it’s true,  
My every road leads to the you!!” 
“If you know you’re going home, the journey is never too hard”. 

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Supriya Bansal
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