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The Creeper

Do you remember the day you were born? I do. Or, at least I would like to believe that I do. My tiny arms pushed against the mother earth, cracking it open so that I could get the first glimpse of the new world that was going to be my home. I was expecting some kind of magic but reality seemed to be far less magical. It was cold and dark outside and I almost regretted being born. But I shrugged off that thought and decided to give the world one more chance. Tired and pale, I rested my head on the bosom of mother earth and fell asleep.

Things looked a little brighter when I woke up. It wasn't dark anymore. Something far up in the sky shined brightly. It was the sun, I learned later. I felt stronger and noticed that I was not pale anymore. My arms were now turning green and a tiny leaf was about to unfurl, my first leaf.

Many cold nights and sunny days went by and I grew taller, or may be I should say longer because I could never rise up and away from the earth. I was surrounded by others who looked far more pale, and some of them even without any leaves, but had managed to grow up and spread their arms that seemed to touch the sky. But here I was, struggling to crawl while rubbing my eyes to get rid of the dust that clouded my vision all the time. I kept questioning my existence till one day I heard someone pointing toward me and saying, "Look, that's a creeper." I now had a name.

Then one day, I saw someone who also looked like a creeper. I remember being ecstatic as I turned away from my path, stretching one of my arms to greet the newest entrant in the garden. He did not respond enthusiastically and turned away. I found that weird because I knew what it was like being lonely and different. May be this creeper wants to be left alone or may be it is in pain and cannot respond to me right now. "In that case, I should quietly stay around and wait for him to open up," I thought to myself and decided to grow alongside my new companion.

I don't remember how many days passed before he finally spoke to me. But once he did, it led to a never ending conversation on so many varied subjects. He told me that he had traveled from afar and knew a bit more about the world than I did. I began asking him questions that I had wondered about for long and he answered them. He told me about the huge lamp called the sun that lights up our world, the clouds that bring us rain, the stars and the moon. I could now see all those heavenly bodies that seemed far away and beyond my reach earlier. He lifted me up in his arms one day, to show me the rising sun. It was a tiny moment, but that was the only time I had risen up and away from the earth. It was a different feeling,  when the wind tried to bring me down while he held onto me with all his strength.

Something else also happened that day. I noticed his bruised arms and some squiggly things growing out of it. He told me those were called tendrils and that they help him in travelling farther by finding a suitable support. I asked him why don't I have those. It was then that I learnt he was not a creeper like me. He was a climber that had lost its support and crashed on the ground the day I had found him.

I don't remember the thoughts that crossed my mind the moment I came to know he was not meant to stay for long. But what I felt was a mixture of hopelessness and disappointment. I knew he was growing stronger every day, with more and more tendrils to help him find a wall or a stronger branch of another tree. Soon, he was going to find his path and return to where he wanted to be, closer to the blue sky. And I would stay where I was born, crawling on and through the mud, away from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Slowly, we started to grow apart as he rose up holding the nearby wall, occasionally turning around to look at me. He had made no promise of returning back, and it was difficult for me to not want him to lose his support once again. I looked at him one last time and decided to turn away to find a new path instead of watching him move away every day.

Many days went by. The sun kept lighting up my world, returning after every long and dark night, reminding me of the day I was born. "There must be a reason why I was born as a creeper," I wondered often. May be there are others who have lost their support and are looking for a creeper's company. May be I should go and find them.


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