The No-Ones by Nisha Srivastava

Rooms
My room
The room.
The room I sleep in.
The room that was supposed to be mine.
The room that was supposed to be mine before everyone else came.
The room that I now have to share with 2 little boys, and their grandma, well, at least their family has a place to sleep now. At least they have a place to call home, even if it is with another family, even if it is small and cramped, even if there is only one bathroom, one bathroom that everyone on the third floor of the apartment building has to share, even if you get paid barely enough money to pay your rent back to the same guy who is your employer, even if it means that you feel embarrassed when your teacher comes over to your home asking why you have not attended school for the past week, even if it means that your mother and sister have to go to work at the mill since your father died, even though… even though things have gone downhill. Mama says we should march, fight, and sing. For what is right, and all that is rightfully ours. Fight, not by violence, but by voice. Fight. Fight to get a better home. Fight to earn a proper wage, fight to be fair, fight for better working conditions.

Fight for my room.

The Setting Sun
They all work. Many hours a day. At least 12. All the kids stand in one big area, shucking oysters, one after the other. It goes on, and on, and on. One at a time, they start to fill up their first bucket of the day, then their second, then their third, then their fourth… hours go by.
Some of the kids have left, but there is a girl. She is the crying girl. She looks close to tears, but she tries to hide it by tilting her head down and letting her hair fall over her face.
Another hour goes by, and the few kids that were there leave to go home, and then finally, finally she looks up, and walks around the corner to go and get a better look at the sunset, the sunset that she has seen before, the same sunset that she used to look at back at home in Italy, the same sunset that she used to look at with her grandma, the same sunset she has looked at every day for the past three months, the same sunset that she looked up to in the boat on her trip here, with so many people around her squishing her into one spot where she could barely move. This is the same sunset that was always there for her. The same sunset that gave her hope every time she needed it. The sunset that would stay the same no matter what happened, and no matter where she went. The sunset would stay the same forever. The sunset that she always knew would be with her, like a shadow, always there, even when she forgot.

Name of the Boy at Port Royal, South Carolina
He is just like some of the other kids. Just like some of the others, he goes to school and works at the factories before and after school, just like some of the others he is ten years old, just like some of the others, he has been working here for three years.
No one knows his name.
To everyone else, he is just another worker, just another kid, just another student, just another poor person.
No one realises who is behind the scenes. No one knows that he is the one who shucked the oysters. No one knows that day after day, he still comes back to Maggioni Canning Co. in Port Royal, South Carolina—walking around mountains of oyster shells, and shucks five pots of oysters a day, standing up the whole time, shucking one oyster after another. No one takes the time to look at him, to notice him.
They don’t care, because to them, he is just another face, he is just another ignorant kid, he is just another child of an immigrant.
Just another oyster in the bucket.
He walks down the streets alone to the place he calls home. The factory is the only place where anyone notices him.
It might not be that many people, but its still someone. Someone that asked him how his day went, someone that said hi, someone that helped him, someone that understood the way he felt.
Someone that asked his name.
Whenever someone asks, a smile starts to creep up on his face. His eyes brighten up, and look around to see the voice that asked. Then, then he says it, loud and clear for all the world to hear.
Henry.
His name is Henry.