A Visitor

The heavy downpour from last night had finally receded. There were many leaves and twigs lying on the pavement. Drops of rainwater were still dripping under trees, and puddles can be seen everywhere along the street. Visibility on that muggy morning was shrouded by thick mist. The eerie street was waking up from last night’s shady businesses. Old men were setting up their food stalls along the street, and the morning rush hour had begun. It would only be minutes before the roads become gridlocked.

    The breakfast scent makes its way to an old, abandoned and condemned shop house, where a ragamuffin was occupying. His name was Colin, he wore a threadbare shirt, threads barely hanging on, an oversized trouser which he had been wearing on and off for more than 6 months, and a faded red band tied around his left wrist which he believes it’s the only clue about his parents. He lived in a really cramped place, but the kid had no choice neither if he wanted a bigger room. The years of bad weather had beaten the building hard and water can be seen seeping through the joints. “I wonder can this building hold any longer,” he often asks after every single storm. Just outside the room, there was a small half complete balcony which faced the street outside, a grand front façade from the pre-war era. Every night, once the sun sets, Colin would often look out towards the moonlit street, from the balcony for hours, uncovering many street secrets along the way. The boy was unusually tall for a kid on his on record, his hair was curly, he had freckles on his cheek and had a high-pitched voice. It wasn’t unusual to see kids like him stay on the streets, as this part of town is really poor. Despite being right on the edge, he is very meticulous about his presentation, he tries his best to look smart.

    It was a big day for Colin. He climbed down, grasping the gutters and made a soft landing on a trash pile. There was a florist located on the opposite side and every morning a truck would come to deliver fresh flowers from the hills far away. The atmosphere was filled with thick smog from vehicles, cars honking and people rushing to their workplaces. “The truck had arrived! I was right on time,” Colin said and zoomed across the busy street. The driver had just gone in to have a word with the boss inside, and Colin ran behind, grabbed the railing, and tossed himself into the truck. The scent inside was so appealing and it’s no wonder why that kid liked the flowers so much. Colin brushed himself against the newly plucked Jasmines and jumped out before the driver arrived. He now smells good, despite not having a proper shower for months.

    A well-renowned school nearby had organised a buffet. Getting in there was no big problem for Colin since it was part of his life getting in and out of other people’s events. While walking to the school not far away, he met his 4 other friends heading for the same destination. They were all hungry and looking forward to probably a “once-in-a-year” tummy filling meal. As soon as they got to the school, they then realised how big of an event was this. Cars were parked everywhere, every yellow box screamed a clear “park-on-me” sign, the whole stretch of a lane has become a temporary parking place and traffic was building up. “I don’t think we can ever enter here, not with this many people Col!” said Jack. “I think it’s worth a wait, stay put,” replied Colin, determined. After a look around, the boys had found an alternative entry, through the fences. The guards were busy entertaining angry motorists, and this was the chance to slip in. The boys squirmed through a gap between the fences, and it was Colin’s first time stepping into a school. The other boys were too impatient to wait for Colin’s admiration of the school, and rushed to the hall without him. Colin walked past a classroom, in there were very few students, and unfortunately, the teacher saw him and asked him to come in. Unsure of what to do, he slowly walked in. Colin’s eyes were literally as big as tennis balls, and he gazed around. The students found him adorably cute and asked him several questions. Colin remained mum for minutes, as it was his first time being under the spotlight. This was Colin’s first time in a classroom, but it’s also his first time, for people outside his usual social circle, to accept him, as a welcomed visitor.

    Colin introduced himself, and the other students seemed really interested in what he was saying. It was a story from the other side which was rarely heard, a story not the rich would understand. Confidence in him rise the longer he spoke. He now was the star of the classroom. The kid’s “story-of-a-street-kid” ended slightly after an hour. The other students were completely speechless, they did not have anything to say, of course, they did not know what to say. The teacher, Ms.Emerald approached Colin, step by step, as she did not want to scare the kid away. “I know the perfect place for you little boy, and I promise, you will be well taken care of.” She continued “you know the white building near the post office along this road, head over there alright, and don’t forget your things.” It was then Colin have reached a crossroads.

    Later that day, Colin walked along the street towards the white building together with his black sack. He only carried a few pairs of shirts, some torn out magazine pages of airplanes, and a piece of twisted metal art which he made by himself. Colin has not been to this part of town before, so it was really new for him. He then arrived at the white building, there, a beautiful Corinthian structure stood. It was a foster home. Having run away from foster home twice because of abuse, Colin just stood out there. Did his excitement for getting cared ended up the wrong side? “Hello kid,” a disembodied voice echoed from the alley beside the structure. A person was walking out from the shadows of the alley. It was Ms.Emerald, the teacher from school. He was legally accepted and adopted by the foster home and it was from that time onwards, his life was so blissful.

    Over the years, he studied in the same school he first stepped in, and had Ms.Emerald as his class teacher 6 times! Unfortunately, just one week before the major examinations, Ms.Emerald strangely disappeared from school and society. Another teacher replaced her spot and the foster home changed ownership. No one actually knew what happened, Colin did not want to hurt anyone while finding for his answer. He went on, aced his major in piloting and settled as a very successful pilot with the local airlines.

    It was several years later, he owned and ran a very popular airport hotel, far from where he used to be. It was a successful hotel, and it was his normal time of day to check out the kitchen to crack some jokes with the crew. A worker went out to put out the trash, and returned “Looks like we’ve got a guest of honour outside our popular kitchen, how dare she wants food from this kitchen!” the worker said to the other staff. Some joked around and did not take the woman’s request seriously. Fifteen minutes later, Colin wanted to head back home after a long day’s work. His car was parked in the parking lot behind the kitchen. He grabbed his coat and headed outside. There was someone lying on his car, an elderly woman, going through her scavenged food. ‘How dare you scavenge your findings while lying on my sports car!?’ he wondered. While keeping his temper like a cork stopping a shaken gas drink, he approached the person. “Excuse me, my car, you’re lying over there,” he said in a very soft voice, and pointed to his car.

    She looked up, her curled up long oily hair fell in front of her worn off eyes, those eyes kept staring at Colin for a long time. She then called out “Colin…Colin…Colin,” in her gruff voice. The young man could not understand, nor say anything, he himself was lost. It was later known that, that very woman was Ms.Emerald, the woman who vanished from Colin’s life, without a word or trace, the very woman that accepted Colin as a welcomed visitor despite trespassing, and the woman who carved him into who he is. Suffering from a great depression, after a freak accident, which she never spoke much about. “It was the woman, that accepted me as a visitor, the visitor of a lifetime,” was what he said to his children about where he came from, enjoying his last few moments, in a hospital.


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[1510 words]

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