Standing outside the school gate, Dorris blindly fiddled through his school bag and got disappointed to find only one chocolate. But after a brief pause, he gladly gave it to Jane, his cousin, who jumped in joy and gave him a broad smile.

As both walked back home after the last day at school before the summer vacations, they made plans for the upcoming holidays. Upon reaching the street where they lived, they were still discussing their nth plan – all 7 cousins would stay at Fidel Aunt’s place without the elders. Just then, Jane reminded Dorris that they were getting late for home. They decided to meet again, in the evening.

***************

Those holidays were fun. Due to a wedding in the family, the kids got more time together than usual. The whole extended family also went out of town to attend one of the marriage functions. They stayed at a swanky resort. Always yearning to be away from the elders, Dorris, Jane and other cousins silently escaped to the lawn area. Turn by turn, the kids enjoyed lying down on the patio lounges. Dorris and Jane chose the adjacent ones and got lost in their dream world. They decided that on growing up, they’d buy one big bungalow where all the families could stay together. They planned to have different floors for all families with lavish amenities like swimming pool, garden, bathtub in washrooms, and a private cousins’ room too. They discussed their plans with the other cousins who found it equally thrilling. While departing towards their rooms, Dorris remarked, “I don’t understand why our parents don’t meet often. Why don’t they buy a single house, so we can all stay together, all the time?” Jane nodded in agreement and said, “Even I wonder about this frequently. But yeah, we will all stay together when we grow up, right?” All cousins cheered in return and went to their rooms to get ready for the evening function.

***************

At teenage, the cousins often laughed while remembering their conversations about buying a co-owned house. By then, Jane and Dorris had realized that the staying-together idea was not feasible and that it was a childish dream. But both agreed that nothing could stop them from meeting frequently, always being in touch, and going on trips. They decided not to let their extended family become extended, literally; and promised to be close-knit even after starting their respective families.

***************

Dorris and Jane hardly meet now-a-days, despite living in the same town. Their reunions are limited to family functions where they hug each other with open hearts. They have a gala time together – click photographs, enjoy drinks, have food, and succinctly discuss current life.

Deep inside, Jane and Dorris know that their plans were mere lies or just dreams. They still adore each other but not more than their family. Unknowingly, they have got distanced from each other and do not candidly talk about it to avoid the lie they lived all those years.

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Photo By: Mi Pham

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This is an entry for #TheLie #Five00-8, a room8 writing event –in 500 words.
Check out the event guidelines here: https://artoonsinn.com/room8/thelie

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Thanks for reading.

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