The lady who had been sitting next to me all this while, smiled at me as I entered the bus. For all I knew, she was my birth mother. I mean, how was I supposed to find her? I stared at the hastily jotted down address which the Matron of my Orphanage had given me. AS a rule, she wasn’t supposed to reveal the names or addresses of the birth parents but I could be very persuasive when I wanted to be. I had offered to donate an obscenely large amount of money to the Orphanage for the address.
As I had walked into the Orphanage, from where I had been adopted, the Matron had approached me. She mistook me for someone wanting to adopt and came forward with a beaming smile. Her smile expanded as I told her who I was. She remembered my adoptive parents and thought she remembered me as a baby.
She introduced me all the nurses who gushed over how I hadn’t changed a bit and even though I knew they were lying, it felt surprisingly good to have them fuss over me. It was as if I had come home after a long time.
As I explained to the Matron my need to find my birth parents, her smile vanished. “Let bygones by bygones Ira” She tried to talk me out of it, but I remained firm. “I have to,” I told her, “Please, won’t you help me? I’ll try helping out the Orphanage from time to time” I had offered.
Finally, after hours of persuasion, the Matron searched through some some old files and noted down the address for me. Hesitantly, she accepted the cheque from me. As I walked out, wondering how I was going to go on this quest of mine without
anyone any money, the Matron came running behind me. She thrust something in my hand. It was my cheque. “Give when your heart wants you to, not for that.” She indicated towards the note, which I held tightly in my fist.
I had left then, promising to return when I was financially more stable.
“Travelling alone?” The elderly lady asked me politely. I could tell she was bored and I was in no mood to entertain small talk. I nodded non committedly and put on my head phones. The lady, didn’t get the point. She kept tapping me, forcing me to take off the head phones, each time, to answer her queries. Finally, frustrated, I took off the headphones and pulled out a map. I wasn’t familiar with the area and had bought a map. The place where my parents stayed was off the road. Once in the city, I would have to find my way on my own. I ran a finger on the map, trying to trace the path that I was to take.
“Where are you going?” The lady peered at the map spread out on my lap.
“Just, tourist places.” I answered politely. I wasn’t going to share why I was here, with a complete stranger.
“Here?” She pointed at where my finger was on the map. I nodded.
She clapped her hands in excitement. “I stay there! you must come with me!”
How could I refuse a free ride? Fifteen minutes later I was telling her my entire story.