It tickled, but at the same time it hurt. Now that I think about it, tickles normally do hurt if they last too long. Cold is the same. It is born as a tiny shiver, harmless, but grows into an incessant spasming.
For a moment I felt as though the cold had also taken away my vision, blackening everything before me. I was wrong. I pulled the long strands of brown hair that veiled my eyes and tucked them carefully behind my ears. I rested my hands there for a while, trying to secure the hair into place. I knew it would not work.
Brimming of irritation I quickened my saunter into a scurry.
Finally I was home.
"Hu-lllll-ooo?" I hollered at the walls, echoes replied. They were louder than usual, but only echoes of course. I lived alone. Which would not be a big deal to the average person, but for one like me, it was. I had myself alienated from the rest of the world.
There had been a time where I chattered like someone more normal, but in the past few months I had become so insular. I liked it this way. Or did I?
I cared too much, about them, about him. And the moment I lost him, I lost my world. I didn't want for that to happen again. So I stopped speaking to everyone that I once had contact with. I created a tiny, lonesome world for myself wherein nobody could hurt me.
I extricated the curtains from the closeness they shared. Light poured into the room, moonlight. I've always found the brightness of the moon to be much different from that of the sun. The moon's light has always felt more meaningful. The slight bit of hope amidst sheer darkness. Regardless of the time of the year, that hope would stay glimmering in the sky. Sometimes hidden, but always there.
As I gazed into the night sky, I lost myself in a quagmire of my thoughts. My life was like that night sky, deprived of light. All I needed was a moon to light my dark world up. If I could merely see past the dark, I would feel at peace. Just a single spark of light would be plentiful.
The night was obedient and took my request as its command. A spark of light came. A shooting star bedazzled past my eyes. The light valiantly ran across the sky, till it disappeared. I felt disheartened for a moment, it was gone. But soon I realized that it meant a wish. My eyes caught hold of a shooting star. A wish was mine to take, and I needed it.
I want something different, I want change. I don't want to be like this anymore. I opened my eyes. The wish had been made...
I blinked my eyes, my hands trembled. I waited with patience, momentarily. I waited for a *poof* that would conjure from the mid-air to sprinkle happiness upon me. I tapped my fingers, then my feet. But nothing happened. There I stood, my hope was lost, as was the shooting star.
Feeling hopeless, I wilted into the darkness of the night. Maybe where I was supposed to be.
"Amélie!! Bonjour!" he threw himself onto me. I had absolutely no idea who he was. From the looks of it, he must have been near 10 years old. His deep blue eyes complimented his light, pale blond hair beautifully. He was less of a child, and more of an angel, well in appearance at least. The behaviour, not so much.
"Qui est tu?" I questioned, asking him for his name. A shock spread across his face.
"Ton frére" he replied. I was utterly flummoxed, he told me that he was my brother? Kids can be quite odd, can't they? But I was further flummoxed when I realized that I had questioned him in French, a language I had never learnt or knew.
"Amélie! Amélie! Amélie!" the annoying blond french boy incessantly chanted. He continued to yap away in French. He told me about his weekend with his nominal 5 year old girlfriend. I snickered.
But I began to look around, more confused than ever. Where is this woman, Amélie, that this kid is looking for? And why is this kid calling himself my brother. As far as I can remember, I had no siblings. I had nobody.
As the blond angel continued speaking to me, expecting no reply, I stared into the distance. The walls that surrounded us were a dusty white. Engraved on the edges where Victorian styled carvings. Where was I anyways?
My mind was alerted hearing the television in the near distance. Why was the news in French? Je ne sais pas.. Wait, why did I respond so naturally in French like that? I didn't even know French!
I ruminated, very deeply. More thoroughly than I ever had. Okay so, french kid, classy house, the smell of fresh brewing coffee, and french news. It wasn`t at all difficult to piece together. I was in France.
Somehow I had managed to fall asleep in the city of San Francisco, and find myself awake in France. That defied my logic. Impossible, simply impossible. But wait, there was one way it could be possible. It had to be a dream. I needed to wake up.
I jammed my finger into the side of my cheek a few times, paining myself. Ouch. Wait, what's the rush? Might as well enjoy my vacation in France as a dream, as I won`t be going there anytime soon.
"Au revoir!" I screamed in the boy`s face, he was startled as I left through the front door of the house.
I sauntered through the tiny streets of France. I took in a revitalizing breath of air, and strolled around the city. Of course I wasn't able to find anybody I knew. But I reassured myself that all of these people were merely remnants of my memory. Afterall, it was a dream.
"Amélie!" a voice beckoned.
Out of all the French names my mind could have chosen, it decided to choose Amélie. In this dream, my name was not Skye, my real name, but it was Amélie. I never knew that our names could change according to our dreams.
An arm elongated out of the man's coat as he pulled me towards himself. I slapped myself again thinking it would be a good time to wake up. I didn't wake up.
His touch was warm and close, but not intruding. I felt very comfortable with his arms around me.
"Merci, Pére" I whispered. Wait, did I actually say that, did I really call him dad? The strange man was my father. This dream was beginning to seem unreal. Perhaps it was not a dream at all. I remembered the wish I had made last night. I want something different, I want change. I don`t want to be like this anymore. Well I surely wasn't like myself anymore. I was an entirely different person. Amélie, if I may say so.
I felt worried for a while. How do I get back to my comfy home in SanFran? Hello Shooting star, come back! But soon I realized, it wasn`t all that bad. Maybe I would be able to acclimatize myself to France, to my blond little brother and my old, jolly father, to a new life.
"Bon soir!" Pére said to me. I pulled my blankets over myself content-fully. After a long time, I felt the feeling of being lulled to sleep.
I stretched my arms into the air as I awoke. I felt well rested and full of energy. I was ready to amble through the streets of France. Maybe today I`d visit the Eiffel Tower, or simply sit in a coffee shop and read a book. That would be bliss.
"Didiii!!!" a voice called out for me. Jacque sounded different today, a little more effeminate than usual. He was a little blond boy, so of course his voice wouldn't have the masculinity of a full grown man, however, this voice was much too high-pitched to be his. And Didi? That isn't even French!
"Radhika! Mere liye chai bana!" she demanded. She wore a light pink blouse with a pair of jeans. Her hair was folded into a simple braid, and adorned with a red flower.
"Mai kyu? Tu bana.." I refused to make her the tea she asked for, how lazy she was.. whoever she was.
"Poojaaaaa!" another voice called out for the girl in pink. It was her mom, seemingly mine too. Mom scuttled around the house, her footsteps playing a rhythm of some sort.
"Radhika, Pooja, mai ja rahi hu! Apna khayal rakhna!" Mom hollered across the room as she stepped outside the door. I mustered the strength to pull myself out of bed.
I was a tiny bit flummoxed, but not nearly as much as yesterday. I started to develop an idea on what might be happening. This wish had a recurring effect. It seemed to happen whenever I woke up, everything would change. Yesterday I awoke to a new world, a new life. Today I did too.
My French Family, although only temporal, seemed affable, as did my Indian family who resided in Mumbai. But I wouldn't be able to take such pressure. I could not wake up in a new life everyday, this wasn't the change I was looking for.
How could I end this cycle? I had to stop sleeping if I wanted to stay here, otherwise I'd be somewhere else.
The sun began to set in the humid air of Mumbai. It was much different than France, and San Francisco. The streets were always crowded, I wasn`t used to being lost between so many people. Unlike France, Mumbai was also very loud and vibrant. Which would do some help in keeping me awake.
At 3 AM, my head started to pound. I felt like something was drilling its way into my mind and torturing me. So I stepped out of mine and Pooja's room and went into the living room. I flicked on the T.V.
Sa Re Ga Ma Pa was playing. However it was a repeat show, I already knew who had won.
Footsteps crept my way.
"Radhika!" mom yelled angrily.
"Haan...?" I whimpered
"So ja! Abhi, issi waqt!" I was pointed back into the room. How would I keep myself awake now? I began singing songs.
Tu jeet meri, jag haar meri. Mai hoon hi nahi iss duniya kii .. I laughed at myself. I really wasn't from this world. But there was no way back.
"Oh no!" I screamed at the top of my lungs. I ran short of breath. I fell asleep. No this couldn't have happened. I tried so hard to stay awake! I must have fallen asleep in the last few minutes. Can this be reversed in anyway. Are wishes reversible?
I sighed in concern. This time I had no idea where I was because I couldn`t see where I was. It was pitch black, and utterly silent. I was beginning to think that I had died. This was the emptiness I would think is the end. But of course it was not.
I wanted to be myself again. I didn't want to be Amélie or Radhika, or anybody else. I just wanted to be Skye, myself. I didn't want to change anymore.
I wondered where I was this time. Everything was still dark and silent. The only sound I could hear was that of my own breath.
The darkness swallowed me again. I felt the same way I did two nights ago as I gazed at the night-sky. My life once again felt like the dark sky needing just a small flash of light to brighten it up forever. Where was that light?
The darkness was obedient and took my request as its command. A spark of light came. A shooting star bedazzled past my eyes. A wish for me to take, again. Could I reverse what I had once wished for?
The shooting star faded away. I made no wish.
I woke up the next morning feeling restless, but I managed to carry my body out of my room. I pulled open the curtains once again. The morning peace of San Francisco was abundantly shining into my eyes.
I was home, happier than I had been a long time. But I set off, I needed to make the change that I tried to wish for. I didn't want to be trapped in my tiny, lonesome world, I needed to become vulnerable once again, and escape. I awoke from my solitude.