You sigh, not for the first time in the last hour.
Your eyes sting from all the tears you’ve cried today. You can’t comprehend why your life has to be this complicated.
Your father always said that if you did good things, good things come back to you. Well, wasn’t that exactly what you were doing?
You work hard on your school and club activities, and your test results weren’t too bad either.
You are an A- student and everyone compliments your music club for having you in it. Wasn’t all that good? Didn’t you deserve to at least have a peaceful home life?
As you brood over this, you sit down on the floor.
It’s cold, but you don’t notice.
How do you expect an orphanage to be peaceful? You, being one of the eldest children, are expected to take care of the younger ones. It wasn’t like you didn’t enjoy doing it: one of your favorite memories was that of a child saying their first word- your name. Nao-mi.
That only helped a little bit to fill the void inside.
What am I missing? I’m doing my best in everything! you angrily think. You glare at the three lines on your wall.
You take a deep breath to calm yourself down
Before you realize it, you start remembering what life was like before your father died. Before your mother, an aeronautical engineer, went missing along with over two hundred others.
You remembered those numbers as clear as if they were written in the air, and on the walls where you kept track of rejected families. The unsolved case of the D1-392 airplane crash.
And that’s when you notice. There was a little paper airplane. Clear as day, lying on the floor near your ajar window. You leap from the floor to inspect it. It was made carefully, each twist and turn of the paper made to help carry it along the wind.
It was built for steadiness and speed.
Whoever made this had thought it through.
You unfold it and stare in shock. All that’s written on it is…
If you know what these numbers are, come to the Arch.
The Arch. This was definitely from someone in the orphanage. Probably a prank letter. Should you go or not? The Arch was the little gazebo behind the garden. You know because you had found it, a mess, and with the help of some friends, had got it up and going. Only the orphans knew about it.
While you wait, it might be a good time to investigate.
Or at least, that’s the excuse you tell yourself.
You start heading towards the Arch, but are stopped by a small child. You recognize her immediately. She was sickly and frail. Her first word had been your name. She was a special someone in your heart. She hugs you.
“Nao-mi! Nao-mi! Good evening!”
“Good job, Ria! You’re learning so many new words!”
Little Maria beams up at you and you realize you are her idol. You smile back and say, “Now run along, I need to go to the Arch.”
When you reach the Arch, you see another person there. He/she is in a wheelchair. Not wanting to interrupt, you clear your throat and say, “Hello?”
They don’t respond. You then say, “D1-392.”
That’s when they turn around. It is a girl your age. She raises an eyebrow. “The plane? Took both parents.”
You wince and say, “Father was dead from before, plane took mother.”
She turns away and you catch a flashing glimpse of tears. For someone who had teared up, her voice was steady. “Do you know anyone else from it?”
“No, I guess we’re the only ones here.”
She clears her throat and says, “Let’s have a proper introduction. My name is Hanadi. I’m new here.”
“Naomi. I’ve been here for a couple years now. You’ve had a tour? Seen everything?”
Hanadi nods and then says, “What’s up?”
You raise an eyebrow and say, “What do you mean?”
“You look on edge.”
“I actually met a family earlier. So…”
Hanadi nods respectfully. “Cool, hope they’re a good family.”
You look down on your shoes. “Have you seen your room yet?”
You start feeling better about yourself, because you knew where Hanadi’s room was. You had decorated it personally. Hanadi says, “No, I don’t know why. Still kind of nervous about seeing it.”
“Hanadi, get ready. Your room was prepared by none other than the great Naomi!”
You grandly fling your hands and Hanadi starts chuckling. “Oh no.”
You both head out of the Arch and then back into the orphanage, all while chatting. You and Hanadi went along great!
“Have you ever been adopted before?”
“Well, yeah. But they always returned me. And I’ve been here ever since.”
“It’s fine! I didn’t want to stay with most of them either, to be honest.”
“Are we nearly there yet?”
“Yeah! It’s right over there!”
When you reach her bedroom, Hanadi exclaims.
“Naomi- you are the best.”
You managed to make a small room look bigger, with a cozy wallpaper and a bean bag next to a little bookshelf with your personal favorite books, as well as several pieces of paper with things scrawled on them.
“All the little knick-knacks were collected from everyone in the orphanage. Everyone wanted to make you comfortable here and they wrote letters too and-“
A hand from behind you touches your shoulder and you jump. “You really did outdo yourself this time, Naomi.”, they say softly. It’s the head of the orphanage, Miss Rosemary. “Do you mind coming to the dining hall for a second?”
You travel in silence that says a thousand words.
At the middle of the dining hall, you stop. There was a banner that read- BYE-BYE NAOMI! WE ALL WUV YOU!
She pulls you in a warm hug and then says, “We’ll miss you so much. I hope you won’t ever forget us.”
Miss Rosemary smiles at you and you have the feeling something amazing is going to happen.
“That family you met earlier? They want to adopt you.”
Your hands fly up to your mouth and without you realizing it in time, Maria and Miss Rosemary and Hanadi and everyone else had tackled you.
You start crying again, and you realize the greatest of miracles aren’t the always the big ones. The ones that actually matter are the ones that make a difference for the better.