Mesi's auntie came up with an amazing idea. Since I don't really like talking and I'm not used to it, and Mesi's auntie can write in English but not speak it, she gave me a notepad and a pen and we communicate like that. It's quite fun, actually.
I am going to find Mesi, she writes, will you be OK on your own for a while?
I'll be fine, I smile and write back. She leaves the room and goes left, so I leave and go right. I bump into Mesi on the way.
"Annie! How d'you like it here?" she grins. I smile and put up my thumbs. "Still not talking, huh?" I shake my head and point to the notepad. "Oh I see. Auntie Nallely's idea?" I nod. Mesi shaked her head and smiles. "I'm gonna get something out of you one day."
In the extremely far future, I write and show her. She laughs. Your auntie is looking for you. She went the wrong way.
"Oh yeah, she wanted to talk to me didn't she? Thanks." Mesi runs down the corridor. "Auntie Nallely! Wait!"
I continue the way I was going and come across a variety of people, age ranging from three to eighteen. The most intruiging of all of them is a little girl called Maria. She's five years old and she looks a lot like Mesi. She talks a lot, but she talks with so much intelligence and about such interesting things that it's hard not to listen. Eventually she has to go 'cause her brother, Jude, needs her for something.
As I continue down this seemingly endless corrider, I bump into... Frederick, is it? I literally bump into him. I want to say sorry, but I won't. Instead, he says it.
"Oh! Sorry," he tells me. Then he stops and takes in my new appearance. I've had a shower, washed and brushed my hair, and chose some new clothes from a spare clothes pile. My hair, which I'm not having cut - ever, actually reaches just past my knees, and is quite thick and glossy and curly-ish. I chose a simple tight fitting purple t-shirt and a pair of light blue jeans, but I'm not wearing shoes - only socks. I'm not quite used to wearing shoes. Mesi's auntie has given me a white bandana to keep my hair out of my face. The absense of dirt on my face makes me look a bit prettier, and I found that I have a few light freckles around my nose. My eyes are dark purple, not black as I'd thought. This was something that Maria had commented on. My skin generally looks and feels softer."You look better."
I shrug. He rolls his eyes.
"You're not going to talk, then?" Frederick asks. I shake my head. He sighs. "Well, anyway, I have to apologise to you." I send him question marks with my eyes. "I was horrid to you earlier."
I just nod once, 'cause I can tell he's not finished.
"I was just... I don't know what I was. Shocked, angry, I suppose. But whether you were... I mean, whatever the situation you might have been in, no-one deserves to be treated the way I treated you. That girl was right - I was being vile."
Oh, the girl. That girl. I have a lot to thank her for. I really want to forgive Frederick, but he hasn't actually apologised yet. All he's done is say he has to apologise and then tell me what I already thought. He hasn't actually said the word. But I'm going to have to make him.
I think what you said about my situation has... faults. See, then I was homeless, dirty, and an orphan. That was my situation, that I was a homeless orphan. Now, I'm still an orphan, I'm just clean and have somewhere to live. So really I'm still in the same situation as I was before. But now you're treating me differently. Before you thought I was... 'filthy toe rag' I think it was. Now you see me differently because I look different. Do you see what I mean? I hand him the notepad and watch his eyes flicker from side to side as he reads it. Then he nods.
"Yes, I see. You're right. " Frederick nods again and then smiled at me. He actually smiles at me. "Here, I haven't apologised properly. I'm sorry, it was wrong for me to act the way I did towards you. Will you forgive me?"
I nod and smile back at him.
"Well then," he says. "Do you think we might be able to get something decent to eat around here? I don't know about you, but I am rather very hungry."