The Orphan’s Wish
“The Orphan’s Wish” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Tanya Grace, India.
The Orphan’s Wish
Paula Mary Cristofer, that was the girl’s name. The girl whom I’m about to tell you a story about. Paula lived in Rome, Italy. She was an orphan and had been one, for nearly 12 years - and she had recently closed 16. Her dream from a very young age was to become a singer. She loved to sing and had a wonderful voice.
“Paula! Where do you think you are going?” cried Miss Camille, the caretaker at the orphanage. Miss Camille was secretly called Miss Camel among the children at the orphanage.
“Just to-to pick up the-umm-ball that I threw outside.” replied Paula. “In that case, I’ll escort you outside” said Miss Camille with a stern look. “No-no, it’s okay I don’t want that ball anyway” squeaked a frightened Paula. “Then, what are you waiting for? Go to your dorm – it’s nap time!”screamed Miss Camille.
Later, when she returned to her dorm, her best friend, Victoria Ashly was waiting for her as predicted. “Another attempted escape I suppose?” she said, with slight distaste. Paula replied, “You mean another attempted and failed escape”. Trying to escape was frequent with Paula; but she never gave it her all -since if she did escape, she didn’t have anywhere to go or anything to do.
The next morning, the usual wake-up bell and breakfast call was heard at the orphanage. After breakfast, Paula went to play with her friends. Soon after, a paper, flew into the orphanage’s playground. Paula saw it, picked it up at once and read, “Come one, come all, to this wonderful occasion where you can show off your talent at Milan’s premier talent competition. The acts allowed are magic, mimicry, singing, dancingetc. Anyone from the age 6-25 is allowed to enter…” and all the details for registration were provided in the talent show advertisement. Paula had been waiting for an opportunity like this forever and now it had finally arrived. Moreover, she now had a purpose to escape.
So, at midnight, she snuck off with few clothes and belongings of hers and asked Victoria to cover for her incase anyone questioned her disappearance. A few heart-wrenching minutes later, she escaped – as she had tried so many times before. Now, she had to go to Milan. This wasn’t going to be easy - she had to cross half of Italy! All of a sudden, a bulb in her head lit up. Trains! She thought. “Since I don’t have any money I probably have to become a stowaway”.
Fortunately, the train station was very near and she knew the way there. When, she reached she took a look at the board where the timings for all the trains and locations were put up. Luckily for her, a train to Milan was due to arrive minutes later. Since it was in the wee hours of the morning and there wasn’t crowd on the platform, she was able to get into a baggage section without anyone noticing her. She covered herself in a cloth and hid in a dark corner. No one came to check though and she reached Milan in 3 hours.
She somehow made her way out of the train station and used her little savings to travel to the talent show address. Now all she had to do was register and sing her best. But her luck seemed to be finally out, as the staff broke the news to her that she needed a parent or guardian to register her since she was below 18. Completely disheartened and without any further goal, she returned to Rome immediately and went back to the orphanage. Luckily, Victoria did a good job covering for her and so no one found out about her escape.
A few months later, she was adopted and her adopted parents encouraged her singing and helped her get professional singing lessons. Years later, she became a world-famous singer and Victoria became her manager. During a concert tour in Milan, she passed by a familiar place – where they were conducting a talent show for youngsters. She quickly joined the line and asked the surprised staff, “Can I participate at least now?”