I see a little girl in her unkempt hair, running. No shoes or slippers adorn her Cinderella feet. She isn’t twirling in the red frilled dress like Red Riding Hood. But a sunshine of happiness radiates her angelic face as her lips part for the effervescent smile. Her eyes reflect an image of a pure soul. She looks like a diva, an unembellished diva. I watch from my window, sipping my tea. The little girl, oblivious of me, prances her way to the rectangular hopscotch. Her body glides gracefully. She picks the stone and looks up, our eyes meet and she greets me with a bigger smile. She waves at me, I smile back. She hops again, second round on hopscotch. But she stops midway and looks up again, she has mesmerized me completely. She signals me to come down. I don’t need another invitation. I put my cup on the table and run for the stairs.
I join her, she is humming something. She gestures for me to play with her. I look around, what will people think? She looks at me, “What”? her eyes demand. And I scold myself for worrying about others. I pick the stone and throw it, lands on number 3. She hums while I hop, my foot lands on the line, and my anklet comes off. I pick it, she comes near me and takes it in her hand. We play it again and again, she shows me the skipping rope. This time I don’t look around, I take it and start skipping. She comes and joins me, we are laughing, unabashedly. I don’t know for how long I play, but soon she accepts me as her partner in crime.
Today I see her after a long time. I have been waiting for her, I have a surprise for her. She comes with her unkempt hair again, today I invite her. I wave and gesture to come up. She hesitates, but can’t say no to her accomplice. She comes home, I offer her milk and cookie. She smiles weekly, but she takes the cookie. I ask her questions and she just hums. She doesn’t reply. I ask for her mother, her father, school, where does she live. No reply, at that time I realize I’ve never heard her speak.
” Can you talk? ” I ask. she shakes her head in negative.
“Oh” I am surprised how I never understood that she couldn’t talk. But then, I remember whenever I tried talking to her before this, she would either smile or hum.
“Ma, papa?”, She nods her head. I ask her to eat. She finishes the milk and cookie. Then she takes my hand and touches her cheek with my hand. Her way of saying ‘thanks’, I figure. I smile, she doesn’t let go off my hand but gets up and signals to go out. I leave my tea once again and head to our little Lala land. Our meetings have been serendipitous for both us, and as she has taught me how to relive my life. I slide a small little anklet in her hand, she looks at it.
“For me?” her eyes ask me. The small little trinket brings joy to her, and the effervescent smile erupts again. And I get joy to see her happy.
Just then she starts twirling in yellow today, I twirl with her too. I don’t know her name, but I call her ‘Serendipity on a Hopscotch’.