The Perfect Picture
Meet the Johns. They are the perfect type family that one would love seeing on display with cute frames. But nobody knows the havoc and the painstaking one hour effort it took to get everyone calm for the picture.
“Will you just stand still for one second Jeremy!” said an impatient mother to her 10 year old son who found the studio a great place to toy with.
“Only one second? Dad, it’s not possible to take pictures in just a second right?” Jeremy asked his father. His father had given up. He just wanted to take the stupid picture and head home but it seems so impossible.
Jeremy’s little sister, Jolene was busy adjusting her frock and smoothing her hair. Ahh…! She loved taking pictures. She always wanted to look her best for her pictures.
Jeremy couldn’t resist being naughty when he saw his sister’s efforts to look good for the picture. He instantly tugged at her hair and her hair band and bobby pin came out messing the once neatly put together hair. Jolene widened her eyes and gave out a sharp screeching cry. Jeremy started giggling uncontrollably. His father glared at him and at once he stopped giggling. Frightened after hearing Jolene cry, the baby started crying too.
“Jeremy, you naughty boy! You are grounded!”said a furious mother to her son while trying to calm her two children.
“He ruined my hair. Now I can’t take this picture. I wont be able to smile. I want to go home!”
Mr. John had had enough of posing for one day. “Fine, let’s go home. I’m tired.”
“No, nobody is going home without taking this picture first.” said an impatient mother.
The photographer was having a great time watching the entire ruckus. He found it hard to control his outbursts of laughs. But he knew, if he didn’t control, he would be the next one to be at the end of Mrs. John’s temper.
“M’am, are we taking this picture or not? I don’t have all day.” said the photographer.
“Yes we are taking this picture. Just give us a moment” said Mrs. John who had no idea how to make her kids stop crying.
After about half an hour, everyone was tired and nobody wanted to take the picture.
Nobody uttered a word in the car, while heading back home.
“Dad,dad!!stop the car! Stop the car!!” said Jeremy in a drastic tone like as if he knew inevitably the car was going to crash.
“What?!” asked Mr. John who panicked instantly thinking something happened to him or the car and brought the car to a screeching halt in the immediate parking.
“Dad I want to buy superman from that shop. Mrs. Mary Brooks asked us all to bring our favourite toys for tomorrow’s class.” said Jeremy with unmatchable desire.
“That is why you made me stop the car from the middle of the road?!” said Mr. John who was about to blow up like a volcano. Mrs. John held his hand and looked at him signaling to calm himself and that she will take care of it.
“Jeremy, do you know that we all could have been in serious danger because of what you did? Dad thought something happened to you when you screamed like that asking to stop the car. Don’t do that again okay Jeremy?”
“Sorry mom. But I really need that superman figure for class tommorrow.” said Jeremy looking at his mom with pleading eyes.
“He’s lying mom. He just wants to get the toy and take it to class to show his friends.” said Jolene who was still mad at her brother for ruining her hair.
“You shut up!” said Jeremy to his sister and tugged at her hair again.
Jolene let out another sharp yell enough to partially deafen everyone in this car and even the next car. Hearing her scream, the baby started crying too.
Mr. John rolled his eyes. He was having a headache with all the screaming.
“Jeremy, you are taking one of Jolene’s dolls to class tommorow and not anything of yours.”
“What?! But my friends will make fun of me!” said a shocked Jeremy who was close to tears himself.
“Well, you should have thought of it before you pulled your sister’s hair” replied his dad.
“But she said mean things to me, dad.” said Jeremy about to cry.
“You did mean things to me, you big bully.” replied his sister with big soggy eyes.
“Enough! I don’t want to hear another word from the both of you.”
The next day, the John family was at the studio again.
The photographer saw them and sighed. He knew how exactly how long this would take.
And once again, the John family was seated to take the perfect family picture after a series of warnings and dire consequences of deviating from it.
Jolene looked at the mirror in the dressing room and adjusted her hair and her dress again.
“What a poser!” snickered Jeremy to his sister.
Jolene looked away from him.
“Hey sis, why don’t I make you look a little brighter for the picture. I think you didn’t put enough powder on you.” said Jeremy who was planning for fun in his mind.
“Really? you think so?” asked Jolene looking at the mirror again.
“Yea! don’t worry, I can fix it for you. I will make you look like a film star in a minute!” said Jeremy to his innocent sister.
“kids! hurry up!” called out their mother from outside the dressing room.
“In a minute mom!” called out Jeremy.
With that Jeremy moved his sister away from the mirror so that she can’t see herself in it.
“Hey! I want to see too!” told Jolene to Jeremy who was dumping powder on his hands.
“No, in the end you can see.” said Jeremy applying powder all over his sister’s face.
“hmm..okay. But make it fast.” said Jolene with excitement. She couldn’t wait to look as pretty as film stars.
“Nowwwww…some lipstick.” said Jeremy applying lipstick on his sister which went everywhere around her lips except properly on her lips.
He smudged some lipstick on his hand and applied it to her cheeks. Next, he removed her hair band and tied her hair up in the middle of her head. It looked like a newly erupting underground spring on the top of her head.
Jeremy stood back and admired his sister. He couldn’t control his laughter.
“Kids! what’s taking you so long? Come out here now.”
“Sure mom” replied Jeremy who was pushing his sister ahead of him.
“Hey I want to see how I look.” said Jolene who wanted to desperately look at herself in the mirror.
“You can look after we take the picture.” said Jeremy and took his sister to where his parents were standing.
Jolene entered the studio room all smiling and waiting to hear comments on how pretty she looked.
Her parents gasped at seeing their. she looked like she fell into a tank of powder and the lipstick made her look like an alien who wanted to be a clown of this planet but wasn’t sure how exactly to. The photographer instantly knew the photo wouldn’t happen today either.
“Jolene! What did you do to yourself?!” screamed her shocked mother.
“Huh?what ma..?” pondered Jolene and rushed to the mirror to take a look at herself.
One sharp scream deafened the whole studio. Mr. John took his two kids and made them stand for the photo. He wiped Jolene’s face and tried to make her look human again.
The photographer knew it’s now or never
The Secret Admirer
“I’ll get that mom” said Adrianna running to the main door to answer it. She was hoping it was her new friend Sam from the library. To her surprise, she found a box with her name on it. She looked around to see if the person who dropped it was around. But she just saw the delivery van from the nearby courier service.
“Hmm so weird” thought Adrianna as she doubted anyone would send her a parcel. She took the box inside, closed the door and was heading with it to her room. Normally her mother would have asked who was at the door, but after her dad died in the plane crash, she seemed to not be interested in anything at all. It was like as if her dad took everything human about her mom with him when he died and just left her emptiness. She hated seeing her mom this way. She wished her mom would get over her dad soon enough like she did. She never cared much for the man.
“Well why should I cry over someone who never had time to spend with us at all.” thought Adrianna.
She found her dad to be more of a house guest who used to come home rarely to pay a visit, get them some stuff and leave within two days. She had no real father-daughter relation with him at all. When she complained about her dad to her mom, her mother was always defending him. She said that her dad loved her a lot and that when she was a baby, he could never get enough of her.
“yea right…pffftt!” thought Adrianna aloud while trying to tear away the cover on the box.
She opened the box to find beautiful flowers with a note saying “for my princess.”
“Hmmm that’s odd. There is no name or address of the person who sent it to me.”
She wondered if it would be Sam. But they jus met each other once and if he actually sent flowers to her, then sure the dude was creepy to do it this way. She figured it couldn’t be him since he didn’t look that retarded to her.
There was no other guy whom she could think of who would send her flowers. She thought of letting it go for the moment as she really had no wise guesses, and decided to wait to see where all this would go.
The following day at school, she found a note in her locker which read, “Good morning! You look lovely today.”
Adrianna smiled. She loved that someone was noticing her.
“Hey what’s that, Ade?” asked her best pal, Duncan. She handed the note to him and he had a wicked grin on his face, “O o o o o … someone has a crush on Adrianna! Who gave you this note?”
“Honestly I have no idea. Yesterday I got a box that had flowers in it and a note but no name or address.” replied Adrianna while walking with Duncan to class.
Duncan couldn’t take his eyes off her pretty face. He had fallen in love with his best friend.
The history class was so boring, thought Adrianna. She took a quick scan around the room to see if anybody was noticing her or looking at her, just so that she could have a heads up on who was sending her flowers and leaving her notes.
She actually liked it, and was waiting eagerly for her next note. She couldn’t wait to go to the school library during the break hour. She secretly hoped to see Sam and even though it would be really lame if he were doing all this, she really hoped it was him because he was really cute. She met him at the library and he asked her for her phone number and asked if she wanted to get a bite sometime.
She was thrilled! “Maybe it is him after all!” exclaimed Adrianna to her best friend Duncan while heading back home.
“naa…I don’t know Ade..I don’t think it is him. He comes totally off to me. Just something about him. I don’t know.”
“Yea right. You hardly know him. He is a great guy” said Adrianna pushing her friend around. Duncan hated Sam now. He hated having competition.
“Maybe I should just tell her how I feel” thought Duncan looking at his dreamy best friend.
That evening Sam took Adrianna out for dinner. She put her favourite dress on and tried some make up on.
“Wow Ade! You look gorgeous.” said Sam on looking at his new friend. But Adrianna did not respond. She was staring at the same type of blue flowers that she had gotten the other day in the parcel.
“Oh in case you’re wondering, yes, this is for you.” said Sam to Adrianna who was acting quite strange on seeing the flowers.
“Ohh umm thank you so much” said Adrianna pondering over all the questions in her head “could it be him”, she wondered.
The evening went great and Adrianna grew more and more inclined to feeling that Sam was the one who sent those gifts and notes.
However there were no notes for the next two days and she was quite disappointed. She felt that perhaps Sam stopped it after their one evening together. He had been acting aloof lately and he hadn’t called her after the date. She felt bad about it.
“ohh forget it Ade.he wasn’t that great either.” said a happy Duncan.
“But I was so sure that it was him, Dunky” replied Adrianna rather sadly.
“Hmm after you told me about your date, I had that feeling too. You know maybe it was him. He wasn’t interested anymore and that’s why he stopped sending you notes. It kinda adds up, Ade”said Duncan wondering if this was the right time to swoop in and get his best friend.
“Anyways you know, Ade I think your really great and you deserve someone else who loves you a lot and would do anything to prove it to you just how much you mean to him.” said Duncan with longing in his eyes.
Adrianna felt like there was something in his words there, and also at the way he was looking at her. It looked like as if he wanted to kiss her so badly standing there. She hadn’t thought that way about Duncan at all.
“Get back to class, both of you. Break time was over 10minutes back!” yelled an annoyed principal to a pissed off Duncan who spoilt his moment with Adrianna and to a rather relieved Adrianna.
At dinner, she was telling her mother about school and constantly talking of how she got selected for the school play and about the audition for it. Her mother seemed to be in another world altogether and Adrianna stopped talking, picked up her plate in a haste and left it in the wash and left the room.
“Adrianna,stop. Im sorry. Tell me about it...”said a troubled mom.
“Save it mom, I’m tired of putting up with your drama. He’s not worth your pain.”
“Come back here right now. I told you not to talk like that about your father.”
“He’s not my father. Leave me alone!!” replied Adrianna and banged her room door shut behind her.
She burst into tears in her room. She loved her mom a lot. She wanted to help her but she couldn’t. She hated her father even more for making her mom this way.
Just then her eye caught something glistening in the dark. She switched on her room light to find a shiny stone on the ground. She picked it up and found two others right behind it. It was leading somewhere and right out through her window. She saw many more lying like a trail outside her window. She got scared. She didn’t know whether to go behind it. But her curiosity got the better of her and she decided to follow the stones. She climbed out through her window and once she got down, she saw a note under one of the stones right where she stood.
It read, “Don’t worry. I’m right next to you, just follow the stones.”
Adrianna looked around and she called out, “Hello, where are you? This isn’t funny anymore. Is it you, Duncan?”
But she got no answer. She followed the stones down a narrow path. The only sound she could hear was of her heart thumping wildly inside her.
The stones stopped in front of a tall bush. She realized she had to go through the bush and so she went through it, moving all the leaves and branches to find the most beautiful sight she had ever seen. The bright stones made a huge pattern of her name in a heart. It glistened so spectacularly in the moonlight. Adrianna had never seen such a beautiful sight ever before. She couldn’t believe someone loved her so much to actually go through the pain to do this for her. She had tears in her eyes and a smile on her lips at the same time. She had the most amazing feeling and love for the person who did this for her. She went back home in a dazed feeling. She was on cloud 9 and she couldn’t stop smiling. She had to find out who was doing this and when she would, she would hug him and tell him to never let go ever. She wondered if Duncan was behind all this because of what he had told her earlier in the day. He did mention about her being with someone who would go to any extent to prove his love for her.
She kept getting more parcels from the courier service day after day. Most of the time it would be flowers or small mannequins or her favourite chocolates. She knew she had never told Duncan about her favourite chocolate, the mystery of the admirer kept getting more mysterious.
To worsen it all. she bumped into Sam at the library one day.
“Hey ade!whats up?”asked Sam.
“Nothing much. I got selected for the school play and so just busy with that. You can come watch me if you are free next Saturday.” replied Adrianna hoping at least someone would come there to watch her.
She was sure her mom wouldn’t be interested at all to come since she still acts like as if her father passed away yesterday.
“Oh shoot,I don’t think I can. I got plans with my girlfriend. Anyways catch you later,Ade! bye” said Sam and checked out of the library with his books.
Adrianna was shocked that he had a girlfriend but at least she knew he wasn’t her secret admirer. She wondered if it were Duncan then, since Sam was clearly out of the picture but she had no heads on for it. She wanted to go check out the courier service building to get some details about her secret admirer but she had no time as she was always preoccupied with rehearsals for the school play. It bummed her out a lot that she didn’t know who he was. But the thought of her admirer always brought a smile on her face.
The day of the school play flew by soon and Adrianna was nervous. Everyone in the cast of her play had someone or the other coming to encourage them and reassure them and watch them play. She had no one to come and watch her play. In a desperate moment, she went down to the kitchen and asked her mom.
“Mom, today is my school play and I would really like it if you could make it. It starts at 4 in the afternoon. I am really nervous. Will you come to see me play?”
“Oh darling, you know how I feel. I am too exhausted from working and everything else in my life now.But I will try to come if I can.” replied her mother.
“I’m sure you won’t come, mom. You know what, just forget I even asked you to come. You were never like this before. I have nothing or no one who cares about me anymore. I don’t want you to come to see my play at all” said a broken hearted daughter to her mother.
With that she ran out of the house determined to find her secret admirer. She needed him the most now. She went to the courier service and told the man in charge about the parcels she has been getting and asked if he knew the person who has been dropping them. He said he goes by the name of Frank Thomspon.
Adrianna was left speechless.
“What??!! You have made some mistake that cannot be. Check again.”
“No mam. There has been no mistake.It is Frank Thompson.”
“Do you know him?” asked the man to Adrianna whose eyes were filled with disbelief and tears.
“Yes. I do. He was my father”
“Ohhh he always used to mention about you to me. I know him from a very long time. He comes here whenever he comes back from working on the ship to have a nice long chat with me and send out couriers. I was surprised too when he asked me to deliver the parcels to his own home. I figured there might have been some problem at your home and didn’t want to remind the poor man by asking him.”
“My father died in a plane crash 6months back, mister. I guess you never heard of it”
replied Adrianna to the man who thought she was crazy or playing some kind of joke after hearing what she said because he saw him frequently to come give out parcels to his daughter.
“That can’t be! I saw him. It’s no a good thing young lady to lie about such things” said a positively irritated man.
“Oh then I guess my mom and me are just paranoid for arranging my dad‘s funeral and actually seeing him dead”replied a heavily shaken Adrianna.
Adrianna left for the rehearsal without going back home. She didn’t want to see another note from “the beyond.”
Before the play could start, in the dressing room, she saw so many kids’ parents hugging their children and encouraging them. Adrianna started to cry.
“Hey Ade!! I got something to give you.” shouted Duncan from the other side of the changing room. Adrianna quickly wiped her eyes and went to meet him.
“I got this from Tom. He told me some guy gave him this, to give it to you. I thought it might be your admirer dude, so asked him to give me a description.”
“Tall guy with sandy hair and green eyes?” asked Adrianna describing her father
“Hey yeahh Ade.How’d you know?”
“I always knew Duncan. Now go, I need to get ready.” said Adrianna
“Sure Ade…best of luck!” replied Duncan.
Adrianna nodded her head and went back inside. She was afraid of what the note contained and she wasn’t sure whether she should open it. Then she remembered the beautiful stone pattern her dad made for her and with tears in her eyes, she opened the note.
“Dear princess. I wish you didn’t find out about me this way but it was inevitable. I want you to know that I have always loved you, my precious daughter. I was so preoccupied with my work and never had the time to spend with you. I’m so sorry for being such a disappointment in your life when I was alive. I wanted to make up for it after I died. I want you to know that I am so proud of you, princess. I might not be there with you physically with you but I will always be watching over you, my baby. I could never come before you because I know you never forgave me. I hope you can forgive me for what I did, princess. I love you baby so much.”
Adrianna burst into tears. She felt so comforted like never before in her life. She forgave her father with all of her heart. She didn’t feel alone anymore. With all of her courage she went on for the play. She entered the stage and she froze when she saw the huge crowd in front of her waiting for her to perform. She lost all her confidence. She panicked and couldn’t open her mouth to say a word. Then among all the faces, she saw her dad walk in and stand there right in front of her eyes. He smiled at her and she could hear what he said in her ears like as if he were standing next to her, “You can do it princess. Just look at me only in the crowd and no one else. I know you can do it.”
Adrianna felt a burst of energy and confidence. She was no longer panicking or scared. She did a hell of a show and the audience stood up and clapped at her performance. She saw her mother amongst the clapping audience. She hadn’t noticed her before as she had been looking at her father throughout the play. Her mother was happy and looked so much better than she ever had. Adrianna was wondering what caused the sudden change and thought maybe dad had come to her too. Adrianna smiled at her mom and turned to look at her dad, but he had gone.
She received no more notes or no more flowers from him and she hadn’t seen him after that but she knew that her dad was watching over her all the time and every time she thought of all that he did, she smiled and knew that he would be smiling back at his princess too.
-Dedicated to my best friend Rebu
Childhood is a phase in one’s life which nobody can ever forget because it holds life’s fondest memories. Mine is a lot more memorable because of my cousin who also happens to be my best friend.
I guess the only time we were apart were the two and a half months in which she was born before me. I joined kindergarten later than her because of two reasons. One being that I remember I would never go with the treacherous looking nanny who came to take me away from my mom until two weeks later when a pretty teacher came to take me to class. The second was that I don’t remember seeing my cousin anywhere in that new class of crying kids. I honestly don’t know where she was that day. Truth is, I don’t really remember knowing her then. But somehow, we met, which I do not recall and we instantly became best friends even before we knew that we were cousins or what that word even meant.
I still remember hurrying with my tiffin to her in kindergarten, during the break period, so that we could eat together and share our secrets with each other which of course couldn’t have gotten more serious than the new candies and chocolates that our grocery shop had below our buildings and how according to the each of us, we owned nearly two full rooms of the chocolate. Of course the quantity kept increasing proportionally to beat the quantity the other person had, until it went to the extent of one of our house’s being unable to hold all of the chocolates that we had to borrow some more space in the neighbor’s home too. We could never get farther than that because break time would be over.
The habit of hurrying with my tiffin to her for break time went on for another twelve years as we studied in the same class, in the same school except for two years from grade 5, when we were put in separate classes because our then class teacher had some major issues with students having best friends and she put me in section B,which I detested so much as it was the nerdy section and I didn’t know anyone in this class. But my best friend and me would still meet at break time and the teacher who put us in different sections would throw a fit upon seeing us together and then finally after seventh grade she gave up and we were together again in the same section! This break time habitual huddle saw us and a lot of other friends who, over the years, came and went, but we always remained rooted in our huddle.
Our parents could never understand then or even now, how we have so much to talk about and still wonder if we would ever finish talking or laughing. If the either of us dropped by at the other’s home, our parents have to literally pull us from there to go back home and we would be still laughing and talking all the way to the elevator.
We had our own little adventures growing up, that still nobody, except us ,know about, and then some adventures, which our parents also knew because of some misfortunes and tattle tales! Grrrr…!
In short, we were partners in crime, had the biggest influence on each other, were the best of friends and more than that soul twins. I cannot begin to imagine what my life would have been like if she wasn’t there along with me in every stage of my life. She is the only person who knows me inside out, knows my every little story, my every secret, and my every thought even when I don’t say it.
My best friend is the best part of my childhood memory. What’s yours?
When my life came to a halt
and I didn’t know how to tread
you came along and held my hand,
you showed me this land,
where we would build this world together
It was just a small milestone away…..
We built it with
so much of laughter
so much of love
and above all
We fixed each others broken hearts,
we repaired our souls,
the love was bottomless and
our kiss was endless
and then slowly your hand started slipping away…
I didn’t notice as I was busy building my dream away...
And then I found myself standing again at the same milestone
my hand got cold, I got so scared,
my dream lay in front of me like a broken mirror…
I turned, looked everywhere
the truth was bare,
You left my hand
At the same milestone…
I stretched out my hand again
hoping you would hold it again…
but it was just my empty hand again…
I looked afar and thought I saw your hand with someone else hand
I shut my eyes so tight… So I wouldn’t see
it just couldn’t be
I keep looking around to see if you came back
but I only see others so happy in love
I wanted to cry, I wanted you to hold me… but I know that you didn’t love me
The harshness of the wind tried to pull me away from the milestone,
but how could I go
I don’t have a place to go
If one day you return
I know u have to walk past this same milestone
and so I wait
at the same milestone
and there I will be holding my hand out again for you to hold
At the same milestone…