Wanted. For whatever illogical, apologetic reason.
Much to my embarrassment, some sentimentality still perseveres. First Best Friend. The Bestest. Who always gave me the red plasticine when I demanded it. Who preferred tilting back to stare at the domed ceiling till we were both hiccoughing with dizziness, over playing school with the others. The rickshaw trips to and back, twin water bottles danging from necks, banging together, entangling unconsciously in a jerking, spinning ride that seemed to encompass this side of the world from horizon to horizon. I remember crying just after this picture was taken because some undefined 'uncle' had, too insistently, wanted me to smile. And all I have left is this, the taste of cake with sugar roses, and an expression that never changed over the years.
I didn't know how to be sad when I turned four. Didn't know if I had the right to return to the tucked-away house with the washed-out green door to ask for a boy whose name I don't remember. Waited too long. Realized too late. And now some irrational whim begs release. So I ask. If you see him, you need not tell him I'm looking. I'm not, really. Just come back and let me know if there's any sign left of the boy with the solemn voice and the simple words, the boy who is content to follow you to the ends of the known kingdom for the sake of a game and will help you find the way back. I trust you'll know.