Highly Commended Story - Dad, Where Are You?
“Dad, Where Are You?” by K.G.Ushiri N.D.Perera, Devi Balika Vidyalaya, Colombo 08, Sri Lanka, is the Highly Commended story in the senior category of the first biannual Short Story Contest 2019.
Ushiri is a 15 year old talented girl from Sri Lanka. She is the junior deputy head prefect at Devi Balika Vidyalaya, Colombo 08. She became the 'best all-rounder’ at her school for the past 2 years. She is the youngest player in national roll ball team of Sri Lanka who represented the 4th roll ball world cup 2017 in Bangladesh. Her hobbies include playing table tennis, swimming and speed skating. Music has become her passion and she is going to face the Visharada exam for instrumental conducted by Bathkande University, Lucknow, India. She is good at Drum set, Bass guitar, Lead guitar, Box Guitar, Violin and Flute. Ushiri had won the outstanding performance in this short story contest in 2017.
Dad, Where Are You?
“You are sentenced to 10 years.”
I didn’t hear any more of what the judge said. It seemed like his voice had just trailed off. It was just a faint voice as my mind carried me far back to where it all started.
Every night all I had was cold wind and shivering dreams. Old dirty rugs which I shared with my big sister were all I had to warm myself. Mum cuddled us when we cried feeling empty but she had no love in those motions. It was just to stop us from screaming. I never knew how it would be to live under a roof; sleep on a proper mattress; eat till I feel I am full. No, never. Street was my home, life and everything.
My mum had a lot of other things to distract herself from us, which she did very happily. I always ganged up with a few other boys who were of my same age. All I had was my elder sister. But one day she disappeared forever. I cried for days, but she never came back.
Every night, I wrapped my old rug around my bare body and looked at the beautiful families that passed by. There were some kids of my same age clinging to their parents. They went to the restaurants around me. They seemed so happy. I always wondered why my dad never came to take me for a happy meal. I never had anything that smelled so sweet and delicious. All I had was those leftovers and some findings from dustbins here and there. On some days all I did was to go up to the restaurant windows and look inside at those plates filled with yummy delicious edibles that wet anyone’s tongues and filled my taste buds only with the smell. How often have I heard these phrases?
“Don’t look at that rusty kid!”
“Darling, turn the other side and have your meal.”
“Those street kids! They are such a nuisance.”
What is all this? Aren’t we all the same? I see no difference between those kids and me. Once I asked my mum, “Mum, why doesn’t dad come and take me out like those other kids?”
“Well, to be honest, you don’t have a father. Now will you go away and sleep?” Mum said in a very cold tone of voice, so I was afraid to press her again on the matter.
I don’t have a dad? How come? Is that why I don’t have all those luxuries as the other kids? Ist hat why the society ignores me? Aren’t there anyone who can love me like other people do to their kids? Am I lost in this society?
I didn’t feel like I wanted to be with my mum for even one more second. I left her in that very instant sobbing to myself no knowing where I was going.
I felt so miserable. I had not had anything to eat in two days. I started to wander around the streets and got shooed by shopkeepers. I slept in old sheds under broken roofs in muddy, dark places. I found nothing to eat, until one day a gentleman came and sat beside me. He gave me delicious, yummy foods. He came three or four days, and I was really thankful to him. Gradually I grew very fond of him.
One day he asked me to do him a favor. He gave me a little parcel and asked me to drop it by a lamp post which was about 500 meters away. He also gave me a big bundle of money. Several days later, he came again, with a much bigger parcel. He asked me to drop it by a bush. I went skipping along with it when suddenly I was handcuffed by some strong policemen. I was taken to the police station. I had no clue what was going on. I never know until I was sentenced. It was all drugs!
The jailors dragged e to the cell, where I saw two more guys no more than my age looking at me with concern.
A fresh tear trickled down my cheeks. I was about to faint. The only words I could mouth were, “Dad, where are you?”