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One week later, Lily called Daniel after dinner and told him, "I've gotten so much better."

"Alright. There's no news better than that. I'll call Pamo and tell him that you'd better stay with me to prepare for your exam."

"Okay!" he heard her heart leap in excitement.

"You ready?"

"Yes. Yes. Call him quick."

She'd waited too long.

She listened from her room as her uncle's phone rang and he talked to Daniel.

"We're all doing quite well. How are you?"

"Lily seems to feel better too..."

"Sure! Sure!"

"Yeah. She misses you too. I know she's wanted to stay with you for some time now. It's just because she wasn't fit to travel..."

"Yes. She doesn't eat much. Maybe she can stay with you for a while and eat whatever she desires. She's never asked us to buy anything for her..."

"Her exam. Yes. She doesn't want to go back to the hostel anymore..."

Lily eavesdropped on her uncle end the conversation on a positive note, agreeing that Daniel could come and get her early tomorrow. Lily felt her feet leap up on their own when her uncle hung up the call. She was finally going to be with her Mocha after what felt like a century.

"She's going tomorrow? What's the hurry?" Lily heard Miriam ask her husband downstairs.

"It's about time she gets to be with her brother too. It's been too long. You might not understand but my niece is quietly suffering on her own. Daniel's coming early tomorrow to pick her up."

"What's there for her to suffer? Are we not doing enough?"

"Hush! She's a kid who lost both her parents. She has every reason to suffer. You just control your tongue and try to be more mindful."

"Why are you turning on me now? I have done everything I can to look after her and if she doesn't think that's enough, I have nothing more to say."

"Keep your voice low, Miriam. Sometimes, it's as if you have no empathy for the kid."

"Yes! Yes! Why would I? After all, no matter what I do, I'm always the bad one. You and your niece, do whatever you want."

Lily stood by the door and remained quiet. Sometimes, when she tried to look into her future, she couldn't seem to look past a day. She'd have to try and fight for her own, defend herself. Sometimes, she couldn't help but feel she was left alone in this world like she was standing alone in the middle of an ocean, while wind and waves try to bring her down. And no matter what direction she turned to and call for help, no one would hear her.

"Lily?" Morong called as he came up the stairs.


"Your Mocha Daniel says he could come and pick you up tomorrow while he's in Imphal. What do you think? Would you like to accompany him to his village this time? If you're feeling better... You could stay with him for a while too."

She succeeded in containing herself from running around the house, screaming with joy, but she failed miserably at hiding the smile that crept up on her lips as she said, "Okay. No problem."

Morong grinned at her and patted her shoulder. "He's probably going to reach here very early. Pack your things before you sleep."


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