Kia stood by the doorway, eyes laden with impatience. “It should have been here by now,” she frowned. She swung on the door, played hopscotch on the tiles and darted to and fro, all while stealing glances at the road outside. After a frustrating ten-minute wait, she heard the peal of a bell. It was music to her ears. She rushed outside, forgetting to tell her mother goodbye. But her heart didn’t rest until she sighted the locomotive. And then the most gigantic smile swept across her face.
She walked around the engine, with butterflies in her tummy. It took her a few minutes to get acquainted with it. It was adorned with colorful ribbons, balloons and festoons as if it were decorated for a birthday celebration. There red, green, maroon, purple and violet. All her favorite colors.
She got into the engine with a bounce in her step. Gone were the timidity and the butterflies. All that remained was the ginormous smile. First, Kia plonked herself on the driver’s seat but decided the view wasn’t good enough. She made her pick of the passenger seats. Switched a few, until she got comfortable in one, right behind the driver’s seat, where she discovered was more breezy.
She clanged the bell, signaling the engine to move. And it did. Through grassy meadows with a cold stream and on slopes steep. Until Kia decided that she wanted to get off and explore a little. She clang the bell again and the train stopped. Kia got off the train, her little feet going “plat” “plat” on the steps.
She chanced upon a cozy, colorful house. Very similar to the one she lived in, with her mamma and pappa. Only smaller in size. Smaller than even her. It was begging her to come play with it. She hopped and skipped and jumped toward it. Walked around it a few times, as if to explore each corner. And then lifted its roof. She couldn’t believe her eyes. The house was same-to-same as her house. Her bed, her bean bag, even her Winnie the Pooh. She opened the tiny windows for some fresh air as her mamma would always do, every morning. And then Kia suddenly remembered, she didn’t tell her mamma that she coming here. Her mamma would be very worried for her, no? She always insisted on holding Kia’s hand everywhere. Else if mamma got lost, she would get start crying, no? Now where will mamma look for her?
Kia hurriedly returned to the engine and this time she sat on the driver’s seat, hoping that the train would move faster. She even closed her eyes shut, not wanting to see the countryside either. She continued fidgeting until she heard her mamma call out to her for milk and biscuits. She turned around, opened one eye and immediately smiled when she saw her favorite blankie. She now knew that she had reached home. Her real home.
Inspired by an episode of Malgudi Days, I saw a long time ago.