Shaena – Chapter 2


It took me a can of Coke to convince our class monitor to ask the teacher to shift me to the seat beside her. He got it done, and now I sat two benches behind. Things had changed a little since the first day. She did not sketch flowers on a sheet anymore; this time she was reading a book, probably a novel. She used to keep the book on her lap, and her head on the desk, and continue to read for the whole day. She didn’t care about what the Physics teacher said about thermodynamics, and she didn’t know that the Maths teacher had already started with trigonometry. The only time she raised her head was when the teacher called out her name, when she took attendance. Once I asked her to pay attention in class lest she’d probably might miss some important topics. She looked at me, said nothing, and returned to reading her book. And as she put her head down on the desk again, it was the first time I noticed her hair. It was auburn and black, and they were untied, with three clips cleanly placed at equal distances. And that was the first time I felt something, which I wiped off almost instantaneously.

There weren’t probably many reasons I could present for my urge to be friends with her. She had her set of friends, with whom she laughed and jabbered, and I had my set of friends, with whom I stayed for the majority of the school hours, and after school as well. She didn’t attend classes one day, and I assumed she was ill, and when she returned, she had a new book with her. When I asked her why she was absent from school, she smiled and said, “I woke up late,” after which she returned to her new book. That was the moment I realized what I had to do to be good friends with her.

The next day, she came in, took her seat. And she was pleased by what she saw. For I had a book in my hand, a novel. I had decided that the only way we could connect was to talk about fiction, and novels, and not studies. She seemed quite interested, and asked me which book I was reading. I said ‘The Alchemist’, and she said, “Oh, you know what, the boy finds the treasure under his own house.” I pretended to be angry and said, “You weren’t supposed to tell me that,” and she laughed. I looked at her face, forgot everything for a second, and then laughed along. This was just the beginning. We started talking. From books, we went to authors, and styles of writing. She would do most of the speaking, because I had no clue about that. She would speak of poetry, and how a ballad was different from a sonnet. She would compare O Henry with Wordsworth, and I would pretend to pay full attention to what she was saying. Meanwhile, the teacher finished with topics I had no clue of.

Two months and we were good friends. Our topics of discussion now changed. She would talk to me about how her yesterday was, and I would say the same. We exchanged numbers, just in case we ever needed them. And thus the foundation for our to-become-close-friends was laid.

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The Twenty-Fifth Hour

Since I was born you looked after me,
How much I have grown only you can see,
As the mother corrects mistakes her children make,
You have spoken to me without being fake.
Twenty-four hours of the day you may be busy,
But the twenty-fifth hour is there for me.
I look back to the time of my inception,
You have helped me without any condition,
Today is my day to thank you O lass,
You are because of whom this blog has what it has.
But just like always, the mother has to better,
And as usual, I need to make my feet wetter,
Wet in the mysticism of poetry, of writing,
And I am far from being a blog king.
And there is a prayer, which I hymn now and then,
That a person like you should get all men.
You are the ideal, you have engendered,
The urge of writing, my posts you have rendered.
I know what I just wrote may seem nonsense,
But deep in my mind somewhere you have filled sense.
And as I pause, an eyelash falls on my hand,
And I wish your dreams against the sands of time stand.

How the Essay Spoke

Mr. Susanne then handed over the sheet to me. Stapled were two sheets of paper, A4 size, single ruled, with notes written in blue ink, cursive, beautiful. It seemed that whoever had written the essay had planned well before writing. Neatly written, without many scratches, the write-up would surely get a ten on ten if assessed on handwriting. I started reading it, knowing not why I was doing so, but knew that Mr. Susanne had asked me to, and so I ought to. Mr. Susanne was a teacher in the primary section of Edinburgh School, the most famous school in our town. He was an English teacher, however, frequently he also solved a bit of mathematics for his son, had he any doubt in them. Tall and lean, one could have hardly guessed he was in his late-fifties if not informed earlier. I then took out my spectacles from the pocket on the right hand side of my shirt. I was wearing a formal shirt today; it had been gifted by one of my old friends last month on my anniversary, and I hadn’t got a chance to wear it all these days. So when I opened my wardrobe today, I first glanced as usual through the whole wardrobe and, coming across this, I decided to wear it, and was consequently complimented by Susanne for doing so.

I was in the personal cabin of Susanne now. Although most teachers were allotted chairs in the staff room, Susanne had been allotted a separate cabin. There could be possibly two reasons for this. The more probable one would be his long stay at the school, for I remember he used to teach in the school even in the times when I studied there. Back to the essay, Susanne had said to keep in mind that it was a fictitious one, it started off,

“An Accident”

“Accidents are things that happen by mistake, of course, and that is why they are accidents, not deliberate attempts to harm people. They may occur with anyone, anywhere, anytime and the person involved may be slightly injured or seriously, and if fatal, it can also lead to death. However, the people involved in the accident are to be blamed too, for it may cause the life of a person too. Being an eye-witness to an accident is bad enough, however, being a part of an accident is worse than that. I narrate to you an account of what happened to me last year.

It was the season of festivals. The various festivals along with their pompous celebrations had instilled into everyone an urge of fun-making. In such a situation, people cannot stop but commit mistakes. In some other cases, people get overdrunk and run into accidents. Such a case happened that day, and I do not know whether fortunately or unfortunately, but I was involved in it. Not that I was drunk, not that I was driving fast, but only that I was crossing a busy street. Even then, I was very cautious, because, being here in this city for so long, I have learnt that people hardly care about the traffic rules, and that they could well run into anyone if the signals showed red. Moreover, there was a faith, because I was holding my father’s hand, and if I forgot to tell you, my father was with me all this while, and also my mother, because we were out together as a family.

Just as I was crossing the road, suddenly a car, I can bleakly remember, but it was a Volkswagen, although I don’t intend to blame the name of the company, because the entire fault was of the driver’s, rushed through the street, and even before I could realize, it ran into me and then I do not know what happened, because when my eyes opened, I was on bed number 5 in the children’s ward in the local hospital. I looked desperately for my right leg, but couldn’t see it. I had become lame, however, I could still see, smell, taste, feel and hear. All my senses were perfect, and I looked around and saw my parents sitting beside at the table. My father smiled wryly at the fact that I had finally opened my eyes, but no one could stop my mother from crying loudly, as if it were hers and not my leg that had disappeared.

Now, I am absolutely fine just like any other friend of mine, except that I need to use a pair of crutches, which hardly makes any difference to me.”

The essay ended there. It was written finely, and I admired at the imagination of the boy who had written it. He would grow up to be a great poet, or author, or script-writer may be, I thought. I turned around at Susanne to request to meet the boy, and it was then that I saw tears in his eyes, he was weeping, softly though, so that no one would hear. I asked him what happened, as I could see no reason to cry at such a beautiful piece of writing. He then said, “This was written yesterday morning, and yesterday afternoon, after the school ended, while he, the boy who you want to meet, was returning home, a car ran into him. The right leg was cut from the body, and the boy passed away on the spot.”