As a kid, I remember how I wished someone would follow me around with a handheld camera, capturing my bravado. My childish mind fancied being under the spotlight, for I believed I was Fearless Nadia.
I was around 7 then, a babysitter for my kid brother, who was three. The very protective elder sister who would slay dragons for her younger sibling. Sadly, there weren’t any real dragons then, except the one who breathed fire each time he roared out my name.
So it happened that one hot summer afternoon, I was entertaining my kid brother in our tiny backyard. There was this wall that separated our house from our backdoor neighbours’. A wall which the cats used as a hunting ground at night.
Eager for an adventure of sorts, I lifted my brother and seated him on the wall. It wasn’t too high a structure–a mere three feet in height–and was right under a papaya tree that offered some cool respite.
After getting him settled, I climbed up, myself, to show him the very beautiful world that was our backyard. It being noontime, I wasn’t scared of any feline company to spoil the show. God, I hated those evil looking cats back then; particularly a tomcat, who seemed like the devil incarnate. His ugly, yellow eyes gave me a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach.
So, there we sat, a happy pair of kids counting papayas and enjoying some avian orchestra when all of a sudden, I felt a presence behind me.
I turned around to see HIM standing just a few feet away, glaring at me with his evil eyes. His tail up high and his stance–all ready to pounce on his prey. Or so I thought.
My stomach began churning like crazy as my mind began visualising every kind of horrid scene, with blood splattered all over the wall and me covered with scratch marks and bites.
My heart thumped madly in my chest. I couldn’t even hear myself yelling at him to go away. Was I really yelling? Or yelping? I can’t recollect.
But, I do remember picking up my brother and jumping to the ground, into mother’s tiny vegetable patch. Of course, the jump wasn’t timed perfectly. I landed on my back, with my kid brother on top of me.
I had saved my kid brother from the evil feline!
Oh boy, was I relieved or what!
Scrambling to get up and pick up my brother, all at once, I tripped on one of the tomato plants. But, I managed to flee the spot and rush indoors, with the sibling bawling his head off.
I was shivering with panic and fear, and yet feeling extremely brave and proud for having played the role of Nadia to perfection. But, little did I imagine the kind of reaction our little escapade would elicit from The Dragon.
Trembling with nervous excitement, I narrated the incident to dad and mother, proudly stating how I had saved the kiddo from the tomcat, and also from falling to the ground and hurting himself. I was imagining myself on the silver screen during the entire episode, being lauded and patted on the back by The Dragon, but was soon brought to my senses with a whack on my leg.
“Why the hell did you have to place him on the wall?” roared The Dragon. I gaped at him, openmouthed, unable to speak. I mean, unbelievable, right, after everything you go through for that kid?
The whack, the kid bawling, dad yelling–all of it wiped out all the bravado I had felt just moments ago. My shoulders drooped, I walked out of the room, dejected. I think I swore I’d never even touch their favourite child, ever again!
That was the last time I climbed that damned backyard wall. I stopped enjoying our backyard adventures, too.
I didn’t stop imagining being followed by someone with a handheld camera, though. Guess I must have been a silver screen star in some past life!
The Dragon mellowed with age, thankfully. Now he is the timid rabbit that I used to be all those years ago.
And, I am The Dragon.
This post has been written for the YeahWrite weekly writing challenge.