Waking up early, hiking up the hill, raising those flags, and then doing it all over again the next day. What I have been doing my life is not a habit, nor a routine, it's a communication. A note to my parents who left me long ago. A desire for their safe return. A message that says, "Come back."
The four flags that I raise every day are the symbols of my hopes. They dance in my hands as I analyze their intricate designs The first one is navy blue with a glistering grey moon and a letter in the middle. The second a yellow flag with a house and two praying hands in it. The third is a light royal purple with white lines aligned like a chart, the letters dN, cM, m on the left column of the chart, and the characters lae, bc, and aoe in the other column. Finally, on the last flag, it is arranged the same way as the third flag but light orange with the letters ot, Oe, and e on the left side of the flag, and Ec, Ak, and L(l)n on the right side of the flag.
I made those flags. They are one of my greatest achievements and are one of my greatest sorrows. My parents abandoned me in this orphanage, giving my life to someone I didn't know. Though they parted from me, I know that there was a reason for why. I still believe that they will come back for me. They will. No matter what anybody says.
This morning, I wake up early to raise those flags. I was hurrying to the top of Serjah Hill and began raising them to the upcoming sun.
I rose them up to the pink blue sky skimmed with light purple and orange clouds. I lift them to the clear salty ocean reflecting the stirring sky, just as the water crashes the shore. I elevate them as they stand high, overseeing the city of Meddlebrook. The soft wind sways the flags towards the milky waking of the town. On top of the hill, those flags loom over Kalie's Orphanage, casting a shadow over the shelter for abandoned children.
The city ahead shined, the sun warming their hard cold roofs. Even though the buildings contain a mix of breathtaking colors, they all came together into a boring scenery. The same scenery. The quiet, small, simple, town. Where everybody accepts their fate. Losing their parents, and just go with random ones like their actual parents never existed. But not me. I’m not accepting my fate as a sad orphan.
My confidence grew as a fire ignited inside my heart.
I take a deep breath and wrap my hand around the steel grey pole like a monkey around a tree. I stare off into the line where the sky and the ocean meet. The ocean made a soft swish, greeting the upcoming Sun. I smile as the wind throws around my dirty blonde hair, which was put into a braid. I have a feeling that today was a big day, but I just wasn’t sure whether it would be good… or bad.
I climb down the soft green hill and hustle to the orphanage, ready for breakfast. The bland orphanage knew I was the cause of those flags. With its huge box feature painted like the color of bricks, it’s hard, iron doors guarding it. The black, dull metal fence surrounding it. They also had been acknowledged the pain hidden in them. They didn’t question me, but they knew it would have to end soon. Though, I keep on raising those flags, waiting for a response. I know that my parents didn’t leave me for no reason. I know that they still loved me no matter the issue for why they abandoned me those years ago. I didn’t care if the orphanage wanted it to stop, and I didn’t care about the people who didn't. I just cared about my parents.
I charged through the giant doors. The cleaning ladies looked at the bottom of my grey dress in disgust. The hem was covered in mud. So were my black boots. I ignored them, dashing off.
I ran past the office where kids have an interview with people who want to adopt them. I’ve been in that room so much that you could call it my second bedroom. The room filled with blue velvet chairs and the brown desk piled with papers and candies. There were pictures and certificates hung on the wall to represent our glory. Though, I didn’t find any glory in giving innocent kids away to random people.
I have turned down many couples before. Although, I don’t do it to hurt them. I do it so because I still believe that my parents are coming back to me. I will not make those chances slim. I’ve rejected the Moners, the Yokmens, the Potels, and the Serouns. And those were just a few. Other orphans get mad at me like angry hyenas. They scolded me, saying that I ruin my chances for ever being happy. I didn’t listen to them. Being with strangers doesn’t make me happy.
Now, I think that the orphanage has had enough declines from me. I got in and started running to the dining hall when Susan interrupted me. Susan was our mistress. She had light honey blonde hair, pale skin, and a stern expression. Her jaw was sharp, giving her a queen appearance. She controlled the orphanage and everybody in it. She was wearing her violet dress with the three buttons at the top. When she stopped me, she had an excited look on her face. This was unusual, which meant what she had to say must be bad.
I was in distress when she started explaining how a person wanting to adopt me was coming tomorrow. I tried to protest but she kept talking as if she knew I was going to refuse. She said she already signed the papers and are arriving to pick me up. I was devastated. I was panicking. My face darkened, my head running with strong thoughts. I asked her who would raise those flags. With bright eyes, she replied,
“Well, no one would need to raise those flags anymore.”
That stuck with me for a long time. I was enraged and devastated. How would my parents find me? I couldn’t let that happen. However, I didn’t know how. I was completely helpless. Maybe. Maybe it’s time to give up. Let’s face it, I couldn’t do anything. All I could do was just watch as my life goes down like a shopping cart racing down a steep hill. I hung my head while Susan told me that I should eat breakfast and then start packing. She kept speaking and speaking. Only I couldn’t listen anymore. I did not respond. I was too upset to answer.
Finally, Susan pranced away as her high heels made a loud clicking noise against the hard ground. Click, Click, Click, Click. I stared at the ground like I had seen something unexplainable. All my dreams had been swept away by a visitor who wants to call me their daughter.
I trudged to breakfast like a slug in a desert. Each foot hitting the ground with a soft thud, running out of energy each time it touched the ground. Nobody dared to ask me why I seemed so worried. They stared like vultures, waiting for me to break so that they could swarm me with evil remarks. I barely ate my breakfast. I couldn’t even eat without knowing the fact that my chances of being with my parents again were… gone.
I plodded up the stairs to my room and cried on my light blue bed.
To be honest, I hated crying. When you start, you just keep finding more things to cry about until your eyes are sore and your head hurts. Yet, I had no choice. I was so unhappy that I could stop crying. I curled up in a ball and wept.
I started to lose hope. My head began swarming with all the things people have ever said to me. Just give up. Nobody cares about you or your dreams. Your parents aren’t coming back. Why would they? I can see why your parents left you. Just. Stop. Hoping!
I screamed and threw my fluffy light blue pillow at the beige wall. It ricocheted off the wall with a soft thud and hit the rough carpet. I considered if I should start listening to them. Maybe I should… Maybe I will.
I got off my mahogany wooden bed. I straightened up, my eyes were red like ketchup. I ran out of the orphanage and started climbing up the hill in rage. My face was puffy and red from the crying but my expression hard and rigid like ice.
I reached the top and tore down the flags. I ripped them down in complete sadness. My eyes lowered as tears commenced to drown me once more. My knees buckled as I fell to the ground. I started sobbing. I gripped the damaged flags and cried. The tears flowed down my face as the wind blew my hair away like it used to do with the flags. I lost all my belief.
My dreams were swept away in my tears. They hit the hard soil underneath and sank into the Earth. I never had felt so much despair in my life. I raised my head and cried to the pale blue sky. The wind levitated my clear teardrops to the distance. The droplets danced in the air. I dropped the flags and buried my face in my hands, shaking my head. I felt terrible. I felt broken. Everything was hopeless.
I woke up at noon and gazed outside the window, teary-eyed. I looked around the room and found a suitcase on the ground. There was one other thing on the ground too. Stacked neatly, were my flags. My face darkened as a tear trickled down my face. Susan or one of the maids must have put it there. I looked around the room. I would miss the oak brown desk with the tiny lamp on the edge. I would miss the small little book area I made in the corner. It still had all of the books, placed neatly in alphabetical order.
My feelings grew sharp. Those books and desk are not important at the moment. I would never see them again. I then decided that I should start packing, there was nothing else I could do there, is there? There was no one who would need to raise those flags anymore. I packed all my belongings, which was very few. I packed my pencils and all my art supplies. I packed some books on the shelf. I looked at my leather green notebook, which rested on the bland desk.
I silently opened it. It had all my wishes and ambitions. I found a picture I drew with me and my parents. In the picture, I was beaming proudly. I tossed it in the trash can next to the desk. A tear rolled down my face, knowing that this vision would never come true.
I walked slowly down the stairs with my heavy luggage, as if I was going to the funeral. My bag felt like I stuffed a boulder in it. The staff waved bye to me with saddened looks on their faces, then they went back to work, leaving me and Susan alone.
Slowly, I was starting to realize something; all my life that I had been here, I wanted to leave. Now that I’m leaving, I wanted to stay. Not only because of the people here but because of my parents. But, at the moment, I didn’t want to think about my parents. I would never see them again, and that was that. I focused on the marble floor as I heard the orphanage bell making its usual, “ding, ding.”
I felt Susan’s arm jab me, as a gesture to look up. I couldn’t disobey even though I just wanted to run back to Sehaj Hill and clutch unto the bleak metal pole.
I slowly lifted my head to find an oddly familiar face, smiling at me. She appeared in her mid 30’s. What stunned me was how she looked so similar to me. She had long straight dirty blonde hair, silver green eyes, and a small, thin lip. I was startled when she started to tear up when she saw me. There was no man. Just the crying lady gazing at me. She looked as if she were about to lunge at me. Though, I felt as if I had seen her before. Somewhere, somehow.
I thought about it for a while, and suddenly, I realized something. Something that couldn’t believe. I just stood there, baffled. I finally figure it out. That. Was. My. Mother. The same old mother who had disappeared those years ago. I felt my eyes swell up with tears. I couldn’t feel anything anymore. I couldn’t think anymore. I sprang into her arms.
“Took you a while to figure that out.” She spoke in her same soft, sarcastic voice. I rubbed my cold wet cheeks against her teal wool coat. I closed my eyes. I could smell her lemon-scented aroma again. I didn’t want to say anything but something stuck in my mind.
“Where is Father?” I asked.
I wondered where my tall father was. With his slick brown hair and chiseled character. Those formal clever green eyes.
My mother’s eyes became somber. She replied gently,
“He died a couple of years back from pneumonia..”
My eyes grew wide. I couldn’t believe it. More tears came passing down.
My father might have lost the battle, but at least my mother was here. That’s all I cared about.
Although, thinking about it. I could tell that her character has changed since the last time I had seen her. She was more brave and risky than before. Before she was soft and lighthearted, now, she appeared as if she could tackle a hundred bears.
Though, it didn’t matter.
She was my mother and she would always be my mother. So even if she has changed, her old sweet personality is still in there waiting for me. It was like a dusty locked box that contains a priceless gorgeous jewel inside. It just needed to find the right key to unlock it.
I still had one more question to ask her.
“How did you find me?”
She stared into my eyes as if she didn’t believe that she could ever see my face again.
The people around us grew silent as if waiting for a response.
Her voice came out softly and separated but as melodious as a lullaby.
“A letter from the moon, I pray for your safe return. Please don’t leave me alone…