UNICEF Tiny Story I – Lost & Found
It was the UNICEF’s 70th Anniversary this year and I was invited along with over 200 writers from all over the world to contribute 7-sentence stories to reflect the theme ‘What I Want For Every Child’. You can read contributions from other writers on Facebook by following the #foreverychild.
This is one of mine.
Lost and Found
It was the coughs that attracted Bakir who was outside the shop; the one tea and noodles shop in Kuteme, to pour out tea dregs from his kettle so he could put fresh water on the fire for night customers. He was frightened at first; coughs coming from a dustbin weren’t normal, but the sounds weren’t threatening – in fact, it sounded like a weak animal – or a child – in pain.
Walking over to where the sounds were coming from, he looked and saw; in the light from his phone, a child huddled inside one of the boxes beside the dustbin, coughing from the dust-heavy night air.
Years passed and Bakir’s shop had become an attraction for reasons apart from the tea and noodles he still created with care. Every three months, a tall, slim beauty who looked nothing like Bakir came to the shop, cleaned windows and dusted chairs while Bakir made noodles and tea. And when customers were few, they would sit together, man and maiden, and she would open a book – sometimes of poetry, sometimes of stories – and read to him in soft, sing-song tones.
And when asked, Bakir who had never married would simply smile and say, “That is my daughter Zainab, visiting from the university.”