“Not the green box, the black can please!” came a displeased squeak, as Kashish placed a box of cashew nuts in the food trolley. “But the it’s a mega box, Stuart. It’ll have more nuts than the can,” the 13-year-old hissed back, even as she replaced the box with the can, from the dry fruit section at the local mart. The mask covering her mouth made their conversation easier, less need to be discrete to avoid being subjected to weird glances.
She glanced around, before surreptitiously bringing her brown friend out of her sling bag and into her palm. Named after the titular character from a children’s animated film; this little brown mouse had been a loyal companion to the lonely girl, since he had lost his family as a baby. As far as she could remember, Kashish had had the magical ability to talk to some of the furry creatures, especially the rodents and vermins.
“Kashish, the freak!”
And many more.
Kashish had heard a lot of these variations since she’d rescued a pleading kitten from a group of boys pelting him with stones. She could never understand why her peers jeered or alienated her from group activities, just because she could converse with some animals. Why could she never fit in with the giggly girls or the rough-housing boys?
As she watched her friend point out to the various items needed for the month long quarantine, she felt glad to have a special companion she could take with her everywhere and who was just her’s. She been heavily discouraged from talking to the air or even her ‘imaginary friend’ (deemed too old to have one), especially in public places . Driving her mom up the wall had never been her intention, but she just couldn’t give up on the only beautiful relationship in her life.
At the counter, as Kashish unloaded the items and got them billed, Stuart peeked out of a brown basket that would carry some of the jars of pickles and sauces. Humans were so strange! Not his human, of course; but her family and those pesky, book-mates of hers. They never realised how much their scoldings and taunts hurt his human. Or maybe they didn’t care?
He always had to scurry away to his hiding hole behind the cupboard, whenever her fat mother or tall father came into her room. The duo had stopped conversing anywhere near the dining room or kitchen after her parents threatened to send her to a centre for the “craazzy”. Pfft! They were the crazy ones, if you asked him. Always caring more about this ‘society’ (log kya kahenge?), worrying about their wealth while happily disregarding their health and trying to mould their daughter into a robot (like those cruel, morning book-mates of hers). And not the forget, their bi-annual pest controls! But as long as he was around, his human would remain happy and safe. And he would fight (or bite) anyone who tried to harm her, even this new invisible threat that had scared all humans.
That evening, if you peeked out of your windows or balconies, you would catch a young girl and her tiny friend hop and skip all the way to her house; their laughter and squeals ringing through the deserted streets.
This is my appreciation for the beautiful human-rodent bonds depicted in Stuart Little, Narnia and Ratatouille. (log kya kahenge?- what will everyone/the others think?)
Written for Sadje’s What Do You See #39. Does this picture inspire you to write something? Write an original story, poem, or a caption.