The Road Less Traveled
Deep within a dream Alexia feels someone stroking her forehead. A gentle, soft touch of a cool loving hand. It must be mom. She squints her eyes. A slim sunbeam thrown across her face, its warmth brushing against her nose and cheeks. Alexia stretches her arms overhead under the pillow and startles. She does not see her mom there but Ms. Janet the supervisor. She adjusts her black cat eye shaped eyeglass on her nose. “It is almost eight o’clock. Get ready in half an hour and come downstairs to my office. Mrs and Mr Archer are coming in the morning and Ms white will come in the afternoon to meet you. The White family is very rich and if they like you , then it will be a fairy tale for you.” From the trail of her eyes Alexia glances at Ms Janet’s face. From her expression she seems to be strict but she has a soft corner for Alexia. Ms Janet taps on Alexia’s shoulder to get her attention and then continues her speech.
“Make sure to sit straight while playing the piano.” Suddenly miss Janet’s small mouth twists, her gray eyes gets wider and she whispers through her clenched teeth. “You don’t have to be loud and obnoxious but at least speak clearly. Otherwise when people hear you, they think that you are withdrawn, like a turtle more comfortable in its shell. You don’t want that, do you?”
Alexia tucks her stray straight black hair behind her ear. She says twisting her favorite fake silver ring on her finger.“ Yes, I will try my best to improve. I will get ready in a few minutes.” She runs to the bathroom. Behind the door she stands quietly staring at the ring. It says Expect a miracle. But it has been so long! She has met so many couples wishing that her adoption will be quick. But it has not happened yet. Alexia sigs. She tries to remember her real mother or father but her earliest memory are of being in an orphanage. Sometimes she squeezes her own arms around herself. She would pretend her arms are her mother’s, holding her. She would close her eyes and imagine the scent of her hair, the softness of her face, the warmth of her lips on her forehead. But as soon as she opens her eyes the reality sinks in.She is tired of living in a orphanage.
Alexia is nine years old, has beautiful bright black eyes, brown skin color just like the raw almond. Her head is full of intelligence. Her manners are kind, sensitive and courteous. But she is very shy and short stature. She does not like strangers or too many people. All the other children in the orphanage always make fun of her. Some say that she has autism. Ms Janet wants her to get adopted as soon as possible. So she has started another new skill; playing piano.
Alexia opens the blind from the bathroom window. Outside it is very bright and sunny. She touches her ring and makes the wish. Downstairs in the office, Ms Janet sits on a chair and on the opposite side of the table sit the couple. There is a warmth and a motherly affection in the eyes of Mrs Archer.After the initial introduction Ms Janet asks her to play the piano. A small smile appears on Alexia’s anxious and fearful face. At the right side of the big square room sits the ebony color piano. Alexia pulls out the stool from beneath the piano and settles her small body in the ivory cushion. Her back is very straight and takes a deep breath.Now her shoulders relaxed.She stares for a moment at all the keys then slowly lowers her fingers on the white key and presses. The soft sweet music fills the room. The couple could not wait to the end. Mrs Archer pulls her from the stool and hugs her. The air gets alive. “ O’ sweetie you are so talented! It is our pleasure to meet you. You are an angel.” After they leave Alexia meets the other couple the Whites family. They like her so much that on the next day they invite Ms Janet to visit their house.
The house is like from a fairy tale. A long circular driveway with perfectly trimmed hedges on both sides. Evenly spaced apart are charcoal gray lamp posts. On the sides there are large red maple trees with leaves that look like dark rubies. The rooms are brilliant with beautiful chandeliers and candles. The decorations inside of the house is just like from the houses from movies. Alexia hops from one room to the other. There are eighteen rooms and they are decorated beautifully in bold colors and different designs. Suddenly Alexia stops and looks around. Mr White is furiously typing on his phone and Mrs White is adjusting the big diamond necklace in front of a mirror. The housekeepers are busy in their jobs. This family will provide her everything for her but she does not feel the warmth of Mrs. Archer in her. Everything here seem too much superficial. Alexia leans against the black marble pillar. She wants motherly affection, love and lots of it but about money she is not sure. She climbs down the circular staircase and ready to leave.
As they slid themselves into the car seat Ms Janet clears her throat. “ Are you not happy? Do you know that they will make all your dreams come true. You will live like a princess.”
Alexia sits there in silence staring numbly into the space.
Next morning Alexia visits the home of Mrs Archer. Mrs Archer runs towards the front door to welcome them inside. She hugs her like she has been gone for years. It is a small one story house with four bedrooms. The front yard has different colors of rose plants and a neat square lawn with trees tucking it into shade. From the kitchen comes the aroma of cooking and baking. On the wall of the narrow hall there are pictures of a little girl. Alexia turns around. “ Mrs. Archer, who is this pretty girl in all the pictures?” Her face is quite grave now. Sadness flickers across her face.She stands there still. A long pause. “ She is Hope, my daughter. I love her so much. She was a bundle of energy. Tears gather and fall.Three years back she passed away in cancer.” Alexia leans forward and touches Mrs Archer. “ I am sorry to hear that.” Mrs Archer wipes the tears from her eyes and changes the subject. “ I play piano which is your favorite and I will show you how to play fluently. On the weekends we go to help in the soup kitchen and in our neighborhood food pantry. We will love to take you there. I am a teacher so in summer we take one month off and travel different national parks and do hiking. And what about you? Tell me the things you like to do.” She asks Alexia
The final decision has been made. Mrs Archer is now Alexia’s mother. She is ready to share her dreams with Mrs Archer and be her loving daughter. She feels that certain places on the earth must produce happiness and love, just as a plant that languishes everywhere else thrives only in special soil.
Pinpoint a moment in your past where you had to make a big decision.