She looked down at her toes as if she was fascinated by them, like she had never looked at them properly before and they offered her a whole new world of exploration. Finally, after the coaxing power of her friends was exhausted, they ran off leaving her alone to look from afar.
He had come again today, as he always did, every weekend every month of the year. He had a bright blue bag out of which he extracted various colors of crisp, bright paper within which there were a myriad collection of candies. The candies had the most amazingly different flavors…musk melon, rose, cherry and lemon.
She closed her eyes. She knew the scene before her eyes without even looking at it. The children surrounding him, happy, squealing, their hands outstretched to gather the candy he had come again to distribute. Again.
She had wondered often why she didn’t join her friends when they went to acquire the candy. It was not like she didn’t want to taste them, to enjoy their sweet roundness lolling around in her mouth….so then what stopped her?
She didn’t know, couldn’t find the answer to the problem even after so much deliberation. Perhaps it was a prevailing shyness or a strange inhibition that told her that asking for something she wanted would be a mistake. She should wait for the thing to come to her. Was it an odd sense of pride??
She had seen him smiling at her often, a kind of invitation or a question in his eyes…She wondered if he would come and give her the candy after he was done with the others. He never came. She gradually got tired of waiting.
Now, she speculated if she was waiting for him anymore. She quietly limped back towards her house in the next street. Her prosthetic leg was giving her a little trouble that day.
A few weeks passed, when she wasn’t able to go and play outside on weekends because of a persistent cold that had left her weak. she thought of the candy man and his sweets as she walked towards the garden today. But today he didn’t show up…and she realized: She didn’t care for the candy any longer; perhaps she didn’t all along….
This thought gave her a calm feeling of liberation. She was free again.
She felt older, wiser….but she couldn’t pass up this opportunity to indulge in these outdoor games again. She yelled as one of her friends came up right behind her to catch her and she swiftly hobbled to her region of safety.
Her clear laughter rang through the garden. She was saved. Again.