I was new to the colony. Being the newbie is tough, because you have to restrict your actions to only those portions that may appeal to the people around you. I was never fond of friendships. This fact sometimes pained me, and sometimes made me feel proud of myself. However, most of the times, I was least bothered. Hypocrisy was not, is not, and will never be my piece of cake. Nevertheless, socializing is a rule, especially for kids of my age, and I had to follow it.
My earlier residence was quieter. As usual, I did not have many friends, but everyone knew me. Despite being as stationary as I was, I happened to know every piece of land that the boundary surrounded. Exploring was a passion. There was no corner left unexplored.
Therefore, as you can guess, my exploration of the colony started the very evening we shifted. It took me less than an hour to conclude that this colony was older and vaster. Kids of about my age turned around to watch me as I made my way through the narrow pathways, ignoring the delicacies of a carefree childhood. None bothered to invite me, and I could not bother myself to look up at them with an “invite-me-please” look.
From my previous experiences of exploration in my earlier colony, I was used to seeing people in every part of land that my eyes noted. However, with this place, the case seemed to be different. There were portions of land where a couple of houses stood deserted, grounds with swings and merry-go-rounds lay empty and barren, and in one particular case, it seemed that a whole section of the colony had been discarded.
The first evening was awesome, more so than I had expected. My answer to my mother’s casual- “How did you like your new friends?” turned out to be an unexpected- “I wish we had come here earlier.” Of course, my mother thought that the kids were friendlier with me this time, but only I knew what had excited me.
I had a silent dinner with my parents, both of whom could not help but notice the lovely smile painted on my face. They never questioned my smile, but kept the joy to themselves.
Like any other kid at the age of ten, I had my own bedroom. Things were arranged the way I wanted. I changed into my night suit and jumped into my bed. My mother kissed me good night and left the room after she switched off the light, turned on the night light, and closed the door after her. That night, the moon seemed to show brightly in through my bedroom window. However, my thoughts wandered about the one discarded section of the colony that had caught my interest. This particular section seemed to be a whole colony in itself. There was one single playground surrounded by a line of flats. Every house in those flats was empty. The slide in the middle of the courtyard was clean, as if someone had just been playing on it. The swings were good as new. The merry-go-round wore a thin layer of rust, but it seemed that no one had played on them earlier. This was not common for other playgrounds, which had two dirty slides, loosely chained swings and broken seesaws. I made a mental note to visit it again the next day.
The next day I left house at the usual time so as not to make my mother suspicious. I darted straight to the abandoned space. As soon as I entered the place, my heart started racing. As planned, I stationed myself at the centre of the courtyard, which happened to be the centre of this whole section. Starting from one end, I started counting the number of flats. To every flat, there were two floors, and every floor had two balconies. Overall, there were thirty-two houses.
I sat on one of the swings and admired the place. There was an odd feeling of company, the one that I had never felt when there really were people around me. I did not need to speak to feel included, despite the fact that no one was around. The air felt fresh. When I closed my eyes, I could hear various voices in my head speaking my name. I smiled to myself. I was included and I did not need to act to be included. I swung on the swing for quite a lot of time, smiling to myself at the various jokes that came into my head from nowhere. I would occasionally feel people laughing at the jokes I made in my head. It was wonderful.
That night I laughed myself to sleep. My mother tried to make me feel that she had not noticed, but I knew that she and father stood outside my room just to hear me laugh.