Huddled together in their crisp frocks, they sat munching and gossiping. Gossiping about Mickey Mouse coming to the party. Little Annie didnt understand how Mickey Mouse could come to this party. Just as she never understood how her class teacher could go shopping or the garden aunty could be her moms patient. She felt very nervous to talk to her class teacher at the shop. She kept staring at the aunty in the dispensary. The teacher was no longer herself. She had a different smile, different eyes, different everything, which made Annie pretty nervous. The strict eyes, the downward frown, everything had vanished. She felt weird that the garden aunty was not in her garden. She was rather uneasy about Mickey Mouse being at this party if that would ever happen that is.
Annie picked the cherry on her pastry and plopped it into her mouth. She was extra careful not to spoil her frock- laced, light pink, gifted by her Grandpa. The birthday girl came out all dolled up. They chirped, cheered and cut the cake. Each making her own wish. TADA! A giant Mickey Mouse jumped near the cake. Everyone gasped but in a moment rushed towards him. Annie stood back, rolling the cherry in her mouth. Mickey Mouse is so huge. He doesnt blink at all. Why is he like a giant teddy bear. Not like the one on TV. This is not Mickey Mouse. He doesnt blink. As nervous she was, she had to stand beside him for a group photograph. As he stretched his arm around them, she looked up at him, gazing keenly, at his nose, his sewed up eyes, silent as rock. A surge of uneasiness crept through her, which did get frozen in the photograph.
After all the games, gifts and goodbyes, the party ended. Annies house was in the next building. Inquisitive as she was, she followed Mickey Mouse down the street. Few minutes passed when he started twisting his head. Annie gasped in horror. He pulled out his head and a small human head popped out. He went and sat at the bus stop bench. Annie was approaching him very stealthily. Then she saw him clear. An uncle, with gray hair, sulky cheeks, wrinkles piling under his eyes. Blinking eyes. Some of her uneasiness had gone, she went and sat beside him. Spanning her eyes through his face. He turned to face her, looking straight into her eyes. She felt a sudden spike, then a sinking feeling, a vacuum expanding in her chest. He blurted, I am no Mickey Mouse. Just an old man, in need of money.
And wrinkles appeared around his lips as they stretched into a rusted smile, while eyes narrowed and drooped on the edge. Annie reflected that smile, without her knowing it. A smile that appreciated the answer of a question never asked. He climbed into the bus with Mickey Mouses head dangling in his hand. Annie sat there gazing at the bus till it disappeared.
OCTOBER 15, 2015