“The Little Lady in White and Blue” the fourth in the “Innocent Children” Series

They told me I was a slum kid
An “untouchable”
I just knew my mommy and daddy loved me,
When they were alive
I barely remember their faces
But I do remember their words
They were faint and in the distance
Since then I was told
I was unwanted
I was unloved
I was not worthy to be cared for

I begged in my little block
So did hundreds and there were bigger kids
Bigger kids who would push you out of the way
Bigger kids who would steal my paisa
No matter how few
If I had none I would get a beating for my troubles
Every night I would sleep in the alleys
When it was dry and hot
When the mausami hava came

Every night I would wake up to a kick
And though the sun was far away
I would leave my spot and scrounge for food
I would be thirsty and drink water from the gutters
When the rains came I would raise my chin and drink
Otherwise I would keep my chin down
My eyes down
My hands and arms outstretched

When you are me, you do not know your age
I remember eight times of the rain
I remember getting sick
From the trash food or the water
Or the living
One day I could not leave my alley
I could not beg
I would not move when kicked
I remember the little lady in white sari
It was layered with blue trim
I remember her eyes, wise and sad
I remember eyes crying and then closing

I woke up in a room filled with people
Filled with little beds
Many were moaning, many dying
But everywhere was this little lady
Or were there many ladies?

Someone was there at my side
My head lifted up and sweet water touched my cracked lips
Not the water of the gutter
“Not too fast, not too fast, or you will spit it up”
I drank too fast and spit it up
But there was blood and there was yellow
The sari of the little lady was no longer white
I was laid back down
I closed my eyes and I heard the soft words
“Full of grace the Lord is with thee”

I don’t how long I slept
Someone had cleaned my skin
I no longer wore my rags
My lips no longer broke and bled
But when I tried to sit up, I coughed
I could not stop coughing
And then out of my mouth I bled
The little lady was there again
I don’t know if it was the same one
She had a little bowl with a spoon
She brought broth to my mouth
I tried to take it, I tried so hard
My eyes closed and I heard the soft words
“Holy Mary, Mother of God”

One last time I opened my eyes
Caked with crust as a gentle hand
Washed my eyes and then my mouth
I could not cough anymore
I could not sit up anymore
I saw a little lady there again
And then another
They smiled at me, and I smiled at them
I don’t know when I smiled before
One held my left hand and one held my right
I closed my eyes and as the breath left me
I heard the soft words
“We give you into his arms into everlasting
Peace, Amen”

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