“Go with the flow,’’ they say. “What does it actually mean?”
“Living life to the fullest!!” replies little Johnny with great confidence, raising his hand with enthusiasm above his head before any of his classmates could answer the teacher’s question.
“That’s wonderful, Johnny! How did you know that is the correct answer?” asks Mrs. Marie.
“My Nana told me. My nana tells me a lot of things” chirped Johnny with a wide outstretched arm and with a delightful radiance on his face. “She tells me stories during my bedtime about how she survived the war, the famine, the floods and oh, the pandemic too!”
“Is it, Johnny?” asks the teacher calmly, keeping the surprise in her tone. “That sounds interesting! And how did your Nana live through all of that?”
Johnny is a precocious child. For a 10 year old, his interests are on the History of the world and its culture, English literature, Foreign languages, Philosophy and Art. While his friends go out to play, Johnny can be found sitting in the school library with a book in hand or a kindle reader. He does play with his friends though he does have a good circle of friends but, most times he preferred keeping it to himself — reading.
The year is 2050. Of course Nana did survive all of life’s living challenges — the war, the famine, the floods and the pandemic too. How did Nana live through all of this?! — “Living through those hard times was indeed a challenge that was uncalled for. People living back then — ’’ little Johnny goes on with a twinkle in his eye, “ — neither expected nor were prepared on what was about to come. The tribulations happened to pass one after the other. There were those who survived, metaphorically speaking, by walking through the narrow bridge and there were those who did not survive. Going through life is easier than fighting back at it. Imagine walking cautiously on a thin sheet of ice or to be more precise; walking through the wall of fire only to come out — unharmed. C’est la vie! Such is a life that was lived.”
Mrs. Marie, though she was well aware about Johnny’s intellectual orate abilities, was in all awe upon hearing what Johnny had to say. He in-fact had to skip a grade for his outstanding academic performances. Johnny was always in the good books of the teachers; never getting into any sort of trouble: no food fights, no bullying, no wedgies and most of all no complaints from his teachers during the PTA’s. He was a well behaved and a well mannered child. Once, the children were asked what they wanted to become when they grew up, Johnny instantly raised his hand replying “An Anthropologist!”
Mrs. Marie wanted to know more about his Nana and asked Johnny if he could bring her for the class’ role model presentation in the upcoming class activity.
Johnny paused before he could respond to Mrs. Marie’s request and there appeared a pensive look on his face. The other children in the class looked at Johnny with anticipation while the others scribbled on the desk not paying attention to the class. A moment passed by, after what seemed like a thoughtful moment Johnny finally spoke saying, “Mrs. Marie, I am afraid I may not be able to bring my Nana to school”
-“Oh, and why is that?”
-“Because you see, my Nana never liked interacting with the people outside. She keeps all to herself. She talks to me at night only after making sure everyone in the house goes to sleep.” Mrs. Marie looked bewildered but Johnny goes on, “Nana has been through a lot of turmoil in the past and yet she continues to live on. She never complained to me how difficult life seemed for her. She insisted on living the best while we still can because in life, everything does not go as planned; nothing is in our control. We humans are neither the creator nor the destroyer of time. Hence, we cannot foresee the future. We are just visitors walking through the passage of time. And when that time stops; the walk stops!”
Mrs. Marie did not have a child of her own. She is a compassionate person, enjoys being around children thus, satisfying her void. The children also adored their teacher and enjoyed her classes. She did not believe in strict discipline in order to bring up a child. But, upon hearing what Johnny said, a shiver went down her spine as she began to understand that something was not right. She wasn’t sure if she must call off this discussion or must she call his parents. She did notice the students in her class were bored and began to yawn as they did not understand what was going on. A backbencher dozed off happily with his drool dripping on his desk.
With caution the teacher asks Johnny how he talks to his Nana to which Johnny innocently replies: “Nana talks to me each night in my room Mrs. Marie. Not long ago, she gave me her locket as a keepsake”
Johnny carried a locket with a picture of his Nana in it. He gave the locket to the teacher to have a look. Mrs. Marie took the locket from his hands with furrowed brows. As she opened, she saw an alluring inset picture of his Nana with her eloquent smile, her strikingly beautiful black hair tied up neat, eyes as black as ebony staring right back at her. As though fixated, Marie could not stop gazing at what she saw. The picture seemed too real and alive and to her surprise she felt as though someone or something brushed past her shoulder. Marie cautiously dismissed the eerie feeling as she did not want to scare the rest of the children in her class. Although, there was one thing that caught her attention as she flipped back the locket — squinting her eyes to read something. Mentioned in the engraved letters — “In fond memory of our dearly beloved who shall remain in our hearts forever and whose legacy shall continue to prosper.” But what disturbed Marie more is, the engraved letters dates back to the year 2020.!