Most of the time the youngest child of the family, Aster, did not know what she had to do as the entire family did not take care of her. She was the only daughter of the family. Although she felt affection for the entire family members with all her heart, she was not happy pertaining to her parents. They were mistreating her from time to time. Aster’s parents did not treat all their children equally at any cost. Even worse, when they bought clothes for the entire family particularly during religious holidays, they did not buy anything for her. As she did not know the reason behind, she was constantly crying her eyes out behind their back.
When Aster asked her parents, they told her that she was a little girl and they would buy her anything she wanted when she completed high school and thus she was expressing her disappointment in various ways. When she went to school, everyone made fun of her seeing that she wore shabby clothes. They belittled her all the time. Nobody sought to be with Aster. She simply kept on studying hard giving the cold shoulder for everyone. She was very sure that her bread would be buttered well down the road no matter what the cost may be. She was fully confident that she would be somebody else tomorrow. Yet she was not sure what the future held in store for her.
Following her intelligence, she stood first every semester and this in turn made the entire family bitter. They were jealous of her success. Almost all of them were a snake in the grass.
Every year, she won scores of prizes, medals as well as certificates. During award giving ceremony, all turned their back on her though she did not know the exact reason. The situation kept on going from the bad to worse. There were many unanswered questions coming in and out her minds. She could not discover what was going on behind closed door except sometimes going far deep in thought pertaining to the case.
In point of fact, Aster, did not know her parents departed this life when she was six months old. Sadly, she lost both of them because of car accident. As the orphans parents did not have any close relatives, adoptive parents took the poor little girl home. She did know the reality on the ground given that her adopters kept the whole lot behind closed doors.
She was the only daughter of her biological parents. There was disagreement between her adoptive parents, following their reaction towards Aster. They both hated her to death. They did not care about Aster. They felt affection for belittling people as if money had the power of governing anything under the sun. Although, Aster was born with a silver spoon in her mouth, her parents lost everything they had on account of fire accident all of a sudden. If truth be told, her adoptive parents were jealous towards her success.
They in vain showered their children with pieces of advice to be clever students like their adoptive daughter, Aster. To give a vent to their vexation,by way of displacement, they insulted Aster over and over again. When she was at a loss what to do, she asked her foster parents, “Why are you not treating me like my siblings?”.
One fine day the mother said, “Aster is a clever student. We always make an effort to make her miss the intended target. But she stands first every semester despite the fact that we do not take care of her. Our own children are lazy and always lagging behind . They are making us a laughingstock by performing below the standard. But she is always standing first. Sadly, our own children are breaking our morals and values. They are good for nothing. They do not know the fact that life is not all ha ha hee hee. We should do something to descourage Aster’s effort. We should not let her harvest the fruit of success.”
After hesitating for sometimes, the father said, “In fact, my sweetheart. Right you are! Aster is now a grade ten student. We should do something before she complete high school and harvest the fruit of success. Otherwise, she will make us a laughing stoke. Therefore, we ought to do something before it is too late. ”
“You are right my dear! We should do something before she turned out to be successful,” said the mother enthusiastically.
“We should force her to interrupt her studies. That is the only way out to make our dream becomes a reality. If not, she will be very successful,” Said the father.
This time, the mother could not believe her ears. When she was at a loss what to do, she gave him a hug tightly. She could not control her feelings. That was what she was dreaming for the past many years. After they took counsel together, they ordered Aster not to go to school. In spite of the fact that she made an effort all she could to change their mind, her pleas felled on deaf ears. She was given a stern order not to go to school on the pretext that she would resume her studies next year.
After three weeks, all her classmates came home and discovered the reality on the ground. When they figured out the truth, they begged the entire family to send her to school.
In the middle of their argument, the mother got angry and said, “She is not my daughter. She can ask her dead partners who were as cruel as death to send her to school. I do not like her biological parents. They were good for nothing.”
“Who are her real parents?” asked one of her classmates nervously.
“Her parents passed away some years ago when she was a six month baby. As we did not have a good relation with her parents, we did not like her in the least. So, sending her to school is not our responsibility.”
This time, Aster bursted into tears in a little while holding tightly her mother. She did not want to detach herself from her mother. She begged time and again. All her classmates bathed in tears. In due course, all her classmates went home and set in motion discussing the case with their respective parents. They all pleaded their parents to do something for their friend. Hence, one of Aster's best friends’ families made up their mind to send her to school no matter what the cost may be. By the way, her best friend was Feven. She was crying the whole night concerning her best friend's condition. After a week, Aster started living under the same roof with Feven’s family. She grew to be lovable by the whole family members in a little while. She began scoring high grades. Everybody turned out to be infinitely happy following her success. She as well scored the highest grades in grade 12 entrance exam. Thence, she grew to be the talk of the entire family in conjunction with her friend, Feven. They won scholarship and joined one of the renowned Universities in America and graduated with honor. They grew to be very rich in a little while.
Be that as it may, life turned its back on Aster’s parents. The entire family lost their wealth. They sold out the whole thing they had. They began living in a Kebele house. Their children could not score good grades in the school leaving certificate exam. Unhappily, they all left what they had. They lost all their hope. They did not have a morsel of food to eat at home. The breadwinner of the family lost all their hope. They were invariably cursing their luck.
In America, Aster grew to be very rich. She bought a sky scraper in the city. She as well bought a big residential house in Addis Ababa. She was leading a luxurious life at that point in time. When her adoptive parents learned the news, they felt very sorry with all their hearts. They regretted what they did. They cursed their rotten luck. They pointed their fingers at one another when they realized the biggest mistake they had made on the girl.
When Aster learned the condition her adoptive parents were in, she could not believe her ears. She cried her eyes out for the reason that she loved them very much. She did not hold a grudge. Thus, she made up her mind to do something for her adoptive parents. As she was a forgiving girl, she wanted to forgive all of them with all her heart.
A week ahead of the New Year’s celebration, she came to Ethiopia. She bought different things before the New Year ensued. On the New Year’s Day, she headed straight to her adoptive parents house and began knocking on the door in fear and troubling. She headed there at a cock crow. They did not have anything for the holiday. They were all sleeping. But nobody was around to answer the door almost immediately. After a little while, somebody came around and answered the door. She did not realize her adoptive mother, who answered the door. She was not able to identify her in a blink of an eye.
“Who are you? Who are you looking for, beautiful lady?” Asked the mother in a very weak voice.
“I am looking for Aster?” she answered.
“I am her mother. What can I do for you?” asked the mother passionately.
“Can I talk to her for a moment?” Aster asked.
“You cannot my daughter. She is not around.” answered the mother tears rolling down over her cheeks.
As Aster could not control her feelings, she held hugged her mom. She did not utter a word about her identity.
“What happened to you my daughter? Why are you crying?” asked the mother.
“I am Aster!” she said.
The mother fainted within the shortest time possible. When she woke up, they went in home and began crying. All the family members kept on crying.
“No use crying over split milk. As you are my parents, I did not hold grudge. Please let us forget about the past and celebrate the day.” said Aster.
“We do not have anything to eat,” Answered the mother.
After an hour, her friend, Feven, brought a sheep. They decorated the house almost immediately and began enjoying the day under the same roof. In the afternoon, they went to the new villa that Aster bought to her adoptive parents.
They could not believe their eyes when Aster gave them the key of their new villa.
“We do not deserve this house my daughter. We are cruel individuals by nature! We are sinners. We are human animals. We are as cruel as death!” said the father burying his head in his hands.
“Please, forget about the past and wish me a happy New Year. A new year marks a period of reconciliation and a time for wishing good future. Hence, let us bury the hatchet and love each other. Let us show chemistry,” said Aster hugging her dad warmly. Everybody got bathed in tears.
BY ADDISALEM MULAT