I have lived in this house as long as I can remember, but sometimes I have dreams that I belong to someplace else - far, far away. My father is a very religious man and he preaches me about the many sins that dwell outside the house we live in. We don’t have a garden or a pet. No one ever comes to visit us, and when Papa goes out to work, he locks me from the outside and says that God has asked him to protect me. I believe him. I feel scared of what lies beyond the confines of my home.
I pray with him sometimes, but most of the times I pray by myself. I ask for forgiveness from the Lord, and I pray for everything around me, though there isn’t much really. There are some shrubs in the backyard with tiny yellow flowers, a make-shift tent that Papa uses as a tool shed when it is not raining. Everything is enclosed by a fence of barbed wires and big trees. I like to step one foot in front of the other and measure the backyard. It is always 90 by 140. I can count you see. And though it never changes, I feel happy to do it whenever I find some time- which is quite often. I can cook, and clean. I do all the chores in the morning, and by afternoon I lie on the grass in the backyard and look up in the sky. I like it when the sky changes its colors in the evening, and the birds fly to their nests. Papa says that they go home to their children, like he comes home to me.
One day, when I was lying on the grass like usual- a lot of people broke into our house. I panicked and screamed and I tried to run away, but they caught me and told me that they had come to help me; that they were the police and I had been kidnapped 12 years ago when I was on my way to school. I faintly remembered being pulled into the grey car that now stood rusted in the front yard. They took me to a doctor. I had never seen a doctor before. And they told me who my real parents were. I saw them but I could not remember them. I tried hard, but not even the faintest memory flickered. I missed Papa. I wanted to cry.
I saw the mock-up picture the police used from five years ago, which showed how I might look like an adult. I didn’t look like her. I didn’t even know her. She looked happy. She knew who her real parents were and what her real name was. I don’t. They told me I was called something else in school. I don’t remember ever going to school.
Someone told me I was hope for other parents whose kids were missing. They were now more determined to find their children after I had been discovered alive. But all this did not matter to me. I felt scared of the life that lay ahead of me. I have not been to school, I didn’t know much. With Papa gone, there is no one to look after me, and the ones they say is my family are all strangers.
I asked the lady officer if they could send me back to my house, the one they picked me up from. She looked at me strangely. I have a feeling that I will have to figure it all out myself.