Once upon a night…

“Don’t you remember?” Meera sounded annoyingly confident to Sia’s ears turning them redder than they already were.

“I do. It is you who is clouding my memory with your words.” The stuffy room made Sia’s eyes water, as she claimed.

“My words? I am trying to tell you exactly how it all unfolded. On that dark and rainy night, when the winds were blowing so hard that you could almost feel the house shaking. We had lost electricity so it was pitch dark. Just a twinkle in the clouds of tiny stars.”  

“Stars are technically not tiny, they are just too far away.” Sia growled, showing off her red ears, glaring at her sister, Meera.

“Wow! You really look upset! Don’t you remember any of this? It was a horrible night. I get shivers just thinking about it.”

“Of course, I remember, Meera. I broke my arm that night, tumbling off the stairs in the pitch dark only lit by tiny sparkly stars of yours.” The room felt muggy now for some reason. She rubbed her eyes to rid of the cloudiness. She was due for a check-up and new glasses, Dad was not going to be happy about this. He hated any kind of delays when it came to health. Typical Doctor!

“Oh yeah! That must have hurt really bad.” Meera peeled the silver foil off the yogurt cup with grace wrapped in confidence.  

“Really bad? I was a toddler, for God sake.” The whole atmosphere was making Sia uncomfortable. Mom and dad were away, it was just the three of them. And one of them was being treated in emergency after a car accident.

“Oh please, now don’t exaggerate, you were a kid, I agree, not a toddler. You were like, mmmm..let me think. Yes, you were 9 years and 8 months old. Well, almost 10. That is not a toddler.” Her sharp memory was known in the family like Sia’s emotional outbursts. There was no hiding in this family.

“Fine. I was 9 years old. Still, a kid who would cry if hurt that badly.”

“And 8 months…..fine I am shutting up. Your story. You narrate as you like.” Meera finally quiet down letting her sister have a moment at explaining the frightful night when they had to spend 5 hours without electricity in pitch dark.

“So as I was saying, Naina you remember how kind you were to me. You picked me up in your arms and walked so fast screaming for dad. And not run because I had a broken arm and it was pitch black. You were so careful. And so scared for me, your little sister.”

“I remember”, Naina spoke in a hoarse voice, trying to smile which was tough with chapped and bruised lips.

Meera fumbled into her bag for a chapstick. Gently putting some on Naina’s lips, she thought of their mom. The beautiful soul who brought all these 3 girls along with their dad. They all looked different but were still the same. Sent to their mom and dad by the universe. Actually, really granted adoption by the judge after fighting in court for years. “Naina you need water? I can get you some.”

“No, I am fine.”

“Well, good that we did not have to go too far for the doctor.” Naina, was still listening even when Sia had stopped talking. Trying to concentrate on breathing. Naina was going to be fine.  

“Just to the next room.” Meera had to give her input.

“Do you think it is funny?” Sia snapped.

“No, it isn’t. All I am saying is it was a convenient fall since you know dad is an orthopedic surgeon. I mean that is like an in-house on-call doctor available on a..”

“Pitch dark moonless night. Yeah! We get it. it was really dark.” Sia rolled her eyes.

“Girls, why are you both arguing about that night?”

“Because it was my favorite night. The night I fell and broke my arm and truly felt like I belonged in this weird family. At that moment when you picked me up with that horror look on your face almost in tears, but staying strong so I did not worry too much about my limp arm. I knew I was in the right place with exactly the people I belonged to.”

“To be honest, that hurts, you were adopted at 6 months, practically a baby. Did it take you almost 8 years to accept us as a family? Ok, I am officially hurt.”Meera’s yogurt was finished and her focus was back on Sia now.

“Aarrghhh! I am going to kill you. And no one will be able to save you from me, mom and dad are on a vacation. So shut up, Meera.”

“I was only stating a fact.”

A chime of small laughter lifted the room as the girls turned to the sound. It was the mom and dad staring at them but with only love.  

“Yeah! Try as you want. I called dad last night when the hospital called about Naina’s accident. So as you can see, I have my in-house doctor available. You wanna go for a fight outside right now? It will be convenient to get you stitched up since we are already at the hospital.”

Their mom rolled her eyes and yelled, “Oh good lord! Quiet girls. And how are you doing naina?”

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