The Girl Under The Slide (A Story of A Hero)

I always see that little girl, she always sitting under the roof of a slide. Seeking for comfort in the rain storms, seeking for shades from the burning sun. She always look unhappy. Sometimes I saw her crying in her sleep. Some other times I saw her begging for mercy from the people passing by the park.

I always walking through the park in the early morning and always checking her up, just to make sure that she is okay. But she never notice me. I always leave a carton of milk and a slice of sandwich in her lap, when she is still asleep. And in the evening when I walk home, I pay Fong, the food court’s cook, to give her some foods. But I never want her to know what I do.

Fong always asks me the very same question every day. “Why don’t you talk to her?” And I always don’t know the answer.

One day, I sat inside Fong’s stall right across the park, looking straight to the park through the glass window . I could see the little girl’s happy face when Fong came and gave her a bowl of chicken noodle soup. After that, Fong put his chubby hand inside his trouser’s pocket, looking for something. When he found what he’d been looking for, she was smiling even brighter because apparently Fong  handed her a lollipop.

“You know, she always asking about you every single day. Why don’t you talk to her? She will be very happy to know you.” Fong attacked me with that question again when he already got back to his stall. I was still looking outside, seeing the girl eating deliciously, sipping her soup from the bowl.

“I am not planning on being a….” I said “you know, a hero.”

“Why not? It’s good. No one else needs to know what you’ve done. But let that girl knows it” Fong said

“No, Fong. It’s not about being known for the good deeds, though I also hate that, but…” I hesitated

“Listen, child. I know that you are a kind-hearted man, I know it. And I know you since the day that girl came to the park. She made me know more about you. I know you care about her, and you make me care about her too. And since that very day, she is looking for you, she wants to see the man who has been helping her this whole year. She was a very nice kid. It’s not a bad idea right? Unless…”

Fong moved his face closer to me. “Child, you are not afraid of having an emotional bound with that girl, are you?”

I startled. I got nothing to say, all the words have been gone for me, and I got chills on my back.

Fong sighted “Okay, I won’t force you anymore. Just do what you like to do, I wish you could be her friend someday”. He got up and went to the kitchen “..tell me when you leave, okay?”

***

On the next morning, I crossed the park again, looking under the slide. But not like the other morning, the little girl was gone. I was surprised.

I put the milk and sandwich on the place where she used to sleep.

“I want a strawberry milk tomorrow, please,” said someone behind me.

It was the girl! Standing and grinning at me. “Hello there!” she said.

***

I was on my way to Fong’s stall after work. I kept on thinking on what to say to the girl, I mean Daisy, after this. She said she wanted to know me and will wait for me at Fong’s stall this afternoon. I missed a train when I arrived, so I took the next train since I walked a little bit slower to the station. While waiting for the train, I was thinking about Daisy.

How could I explain to her about everything. Why should she know me? Can’t I always be an anonymous helper to her? Can’t I just secretly watching her eating the things I give to her? I do not want to talk to her not because I genuinely do not want to — I just can’t.

I can’t contain my feelings that I vomited on the station’s floor. People near me slowly moved away, some of them gave me disgusted look and some others mumbling their complains. I ran to the nearer toilet and cleaned up. I stared at my reflection on the sink’s mirror and catch a glimpse of fear and worry in my eyes.

Should I come over? What if I just ran straight up to home and not coming to Fong’s? What about tomorrow then? Should I stop helping her just because of this?

“No,” I said to myself “You must face this one,” I finished my wash and left.

***

“I hope I can make things easier for you child, but I want her to know you by herself,” Fong gave a tap on my shoulder as I walked in his stall.

I slowly walked to the table where the little girl with yellow dress sat. Daisy was waving her hand excitedly when she saw me coming.

“Hello!” She greeted me cheerfully. “I’ve been waiting for you like forever,”

I gave her my nod. Suddenly, the smile on her face was gone.

“You seem unhappy…” she said, frowned. I gave her a sign with my hand asking to wait for a while. I opened my bag and took out something.

Hello there!

My name is Ric.

It is very nice to know you, Daisy!

I am sorry that I could’t talk to you this morning, and many days before this. And even now. 

I know you were looking for me this whole time. I know this from Fong by the way. 

Do not ask why I did not want to meet you before, you know the answer. 

She shook her head, still clueless and shocked. I took a deep breath.

I did not want you to know that a person who cares about you this whole time is someone like me. I did not want you to be disappointed after you know me. I just want to help you, Daisy. Letting you wonder that the person who cares about you was a perfect person, that’s all I want to do. 

“But why, Ric?” she almost burst in tears.

I shook my head. I did not want to see her cry, it would be just like my nightmare. Maybe she was starting to be disappointed of me, maybe I was not like one of superheroes she always wish for, and maybe she hated me.

“What is the problem, Ric?” she asked again, with trembling voice and watery nose.

I looked straight at her. She could tell by now that I was confused. How couldn’t she understand it? It was obvious.

I turned my notebook to the next page and wrote:

Because obviously I am deaf, Daisy

She got up from her chair. I prepared my heart for the worst thing happened after that: maybe she left, maybe she would slap me, maybe she was just like one of the other people who was disgusted by me, maybe she would be like one of my schoolmates and made me as a joke. But she walked to me, wrapped her little arms around me, and hugged me so close.

“It is not even a problem, Ric. You are my hero.” she said.

***

After that day, Daisy always escort me to the station every morning. We eat our sandwiches and milk while waiting for the train. She always tell me a story about fairies, dragons, princesses, castles, or even about the UFO. I knew sometimes she intentionally slowing her lips’ moves while talking to me, maybe I would say to her one of these days that I could read her lips even when she talks in double speed.

Every time the train arrived, she always gives me a hug and a kiss in my forehead. Then I will go into the train and she will wave hyper-actively when the wagons move. After escorting me, she will return to Fong’s and help him at his stall, she asked Fong to do this with the repay of sign language course and a bowl of noodle soup. Of course, most of time Fong pay her more with a slice of apple pie or a bar of chocolate.

Fong often praise her work in front of me and her, when the three of us was having our dinner at Fong’s after I returned from work. I always laugh if her face turned so red after hearing Fong’s compliments about her. Then at night, before we go to sleep, I always gave her a test on her sign language course. She was a fast learner indeed.

After the daily test, me and Daisy will brush our teeth in the bathroom. And every single time I saw that little pink toothbrush in my bathroom, I always smile…

because I know I am a hero now.

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