It was his first bright morning in this space! You can imagine his reaction! He looked at the faded wall around him and his eyes popped when he saw a framed quote that says: ‘Orphans are the ones who have no parents but have many parents.’
He shouted abruptly! “I’m not an orphan! Where is this? Why am I here?”
The housemaster heard his voice and ran towards him with a warm smile to welcome him. “This is your new home now. Come, let me give you a tour of the environment.”
Peter was still in shock. “Last I remembered, I was painting with my watercolour on a whiteboard. The next thing I heard was a loud sound from the living room. Now I woke up in a new environment seeing different faces. Mr, please tell me why I am here. Where are Papi and Mami? They were watching television in the living room the last time I saw them.”
“Peter, come with me to the office,” said Mr Sam, the housemaster. “You were brought in here late last night by two hefty policemen. They instructed us to keep you here until it’s dawn, and I was told not to divulge any information beyond what I was told. Is that clear now?”
“Well, not totally, but I can manage a pinch of it.”
Peter was the only child of his parents and literally the apple of their eyes. He received all the love, attention and resources. He always exhibited great talents in the arts.
“Welcome, sir!” greeted Mr Sam, as the policemen strolled in.
“How is he doing now?”
“He is fine and adapting?”
“Adapting!?” said Peter, with a quizzical look. “I have questions, policemen.”
“We also have answers, lad!” said Officer Larry. “Your parents embezzled public funds and are currently in confinement awaiting judgement. It’s a pity you are just getting to know me. They have been running from the law and practising this crime. With the change of government, we definitely want to clean up these unwanted acts.”
“Oh, no! I feel betrayed! I was not in the know at all. It was always me and my watercolours in my little studio trying to become the next Pablo Picasso who is undoubtedly one of the most famous artists ever. Can you imagine that we are birthday mates? The October 25th gang! But differently in different years.”
“Peterrrrr!!!” shouted Mr Sam. “Do you realise the weight of what your parents did before you get all frenzy with your art world? Ah! Now, I can relate to when one of your brothers in the hostel said you kept on saying watercolour and splash while you slept! Thank you, Officer Larry. We shall handle it from here.”
“I was just explaining my love for art in a basic way.”
“We know! We heard you! Today is for orientation. Peter, this is Mr Kamsi. He is the assistant housemaster in this orphanage.”
“I’m not an orphan oooh. Please, get that first.”
Mr Sam looked at Mr Kamsi and gave him a sign to move him into the farm area for a two-hour session of hard labour. He came back all teary and sweaty.
“What are all these pains for? I’m not used to this. Oh, I miss my watercolour and splash!”
The bell rang. It was time for a community meeting in the orphanage. Everyone gathered in the lobby to discuss the 27th. Dan was excited to anchor this session along with Prince.
“Hello, everyone! This week’s meeting is different as we all will be displaying our talents in our unique ways,” said Dan. “We shall start with watercolour.”
Everyone suddenly echoed, “Splash!”
Peter went into deep belly laughter. This was the first time Messrs Sam and Kamsi saw him in his element.
“So you can laugh?” said the housemaster, sarcastically.
He nodded playfully.
Mr Kamsi whispered into his ears, “I think he is beginning to settle in bit by bit.”
Prince and Dan gave him a watercolour and an old canvas found on the balcony. In less than twenty minutes, everyone saw an image of the old guitarist. The figure depicted—gaunt and cross-legged—appears exhausted as he slumps over his brown guitar.
“I’m done,” said Peter. “The original painting was done by Picasso on an oil-on-panel. He was exploring the themes of poverty and suffering.”
Everyone went cold at the end of his presentation, but no one could deny the fact that he was a natural artist. “Bravo to you, young champ! everyone chanted.
Prince called on the next person who was Isaac. He came to the orphanage with his vision impaired but has a sonorous voice. He sang “Greatest Love of All” by Whitney Houston. The song gave Mr Kamsi goosebumps towards the end.
“What! We have talents in this space ooh.”
Next was Victor the poet. He is that wordsmith who finds the nighttime the sweetest to scribble his thoughts in his journal. As his name was called, he didn’t expect it at all. Everyone started cheering, “Go, Victor! Go, Victor, Go!” He had to dash into the room to pick up his journal.
He recited the poem titled, “Ties That Bind.” It was a poem about his first year in the orphanage and how he settled into having several brothers all at once. He calls it a wonder but now he loves the experience.
Mr Sam gave a heartwarming speech at the end of all the presentations. “What a bundle of rich and fine talents we have in this home. Henceforth, every Friday will be our Talent Mine Friday!”
Yay! Yippee! Swoosh! Excitement filled the air!
“I love this, sir,” said Peter.
It was a gleeful moment for all, as some gave a happy dance and a winsome smile.
“Now, before we go for an afternoon siesta, the top five presentations will have their presenters perform at the Terra Culture on Saturday,” Dan said and gladly announced the names. “Congratulations to our representatives! We are sure you will make us proud.”
Peter, Isaac, Victor, Tred and Zohar were the selected ones.
Prince asked brightly, “Housemaster, how about us and the others? How are we going to celebrate the day?
“There’s going to be movies, games and many people coming into our home to see and play with us. Remember our watchword: be kind to one another.”
Messrs Sam and Kamsi echoed together, “Happy Children’s Day!”
Dan ranged the bell for the siesta, and everyone went straight to bed.