It was a shiny day the spring had lasted a little longer this time.
Being a lazy introverted 14-year-old guy who had a strong phobia of teachers, I kept myself low-key I used to sit at the last row in our classroom.
And hide behind the girl who used to sit in front of me but today she was late, the first class had already started and now the teacher could look at my miserable face very clearly, I could not hide anywhere.
I tried to maintain my posture and not fall asleep. Usually, I would just bend my head and travel around in my fantasy world of superheroes and anime.
But I couldn’t do that right now.
In my head I was worried, every time teacher looked at me my heart sprinted faster than ‘Bolt’, and just when I thought my heart was going to pop I heard a little sweet voice which interrupted our teacher. It was that girl who used to sit in front of me. It made me so happy that I almost jumped off my seat but I was too introverted to do that. The teacher wouldn’t let her in as she was late and asked her to stand outside the class and again my tragedy began.
But this time I was focused on that girl, I realized that my antisocial behaviors had kept me so distant from the society that I didn’t even know the name of the girl whom I used as a shield for almost a year.
Soon I developed a keen interest in her
She had short curly hair, little messy but the curls were soothing to the eye. She had a skinny face, most probably a result of malnutrition.
I was not able to identify, why she was so intriguing to me until I stumbled upon her eyes. Those “mysteriously fierce eyes”.
They say that eyes have a language of their own and I was always good at reading them. I knew that she was hiding something, something she was fighting alone but I suspected my fantasy imagination and concluded that I might be building up mysteries to avoid boredom of the classroom. The class came to an end and the teacher, that girl came inside the classroom and sat on her seat. I picked up quickly that she too was not good at socializing and like me she was running low on friends. Her situation might be worst than me as I at least had Stuard my pet rat to have a silent conversation with. After two more classes, the recess bell rang and everyone ran out of class I used to sit beneath the tree in the school garden and eat my stuff alone so I too started walking out of the classroom as a left my class I realized that my water bottle was still inside my bag so I returned quickly and found something unusual.
That girl was sitting there and peeling an orange.
it didn’t take me long to learn that the orange was her only tiffin.
Our eyes met and she quickly hid the orange and yawned and bent her head on the table. She was embarrassed as I found out about her orange but on my side, I thought that her mother must have forgotten to cook or something. Today but the same thing happened tomorrow and the day after tomorrow and day after the day after tomorrow.
Now I was sure something is going on with that girl.
I decided to follow her the next day as I had no courage to talk to her or befriend her.
So one day after school I picked up my bicycle and started following her, I might have become the youngest stalker at my school and I was good at it as she had no clue that I was following her. I became very curious about that girl!! What was she hiding? How does she live? and the most important question “Why she was always eating an orange in the recess?” as I was lost in my fanatical thoughts she stopped. I was so fucking scared that she might have found out about me, I hid behind an electric pole. Yes that was stupid!!
But I did, I was lucky she never turned around. She stopped in front of a house, a middle-aged lady came out I thought she was her mother but I was wrong. That girl took out few oranges from her bag and gave it to the lady and lady paid her few pennies for them it felt like she was a regular buyer, then she took off I did the same and followed her. After a few minutes, she stopped again in front of a medical store, the man on the desk greeted her with a smile.
He knew what she wanted and he had already packed a few medicines for her.
She paid those few pennies to that man and took off again and I did the same. After half an hour, we arrived at outskirts of our town.
She parked her cycle in front of a shabby hut, the roof was dismantled
walls were full of cracks and one of the window glass was half broken.
She went in and I proceeded to that broken window to peek in.
I could see an old man there, lying down helpless it doesn’t look like he was able to move much. All he could do is wave his hands and utter a few words which I could not hear. They were having a conversation but I was not able to listen to them. I never realized that when tears started to fall from my eye. I ignored them I was too captivated by what I could see.
She poured a glass of water from a pot kept beside that bed on which the old man was lying. She took out medicines and fed them to the oldie.
After a while, she took out one more orange from her bag and peeled it for both of them. And it looked like they were having their lunch.
I decide to take a look around the hut and I found out that
“they were growing Oranges”
She was selling them to a few regular customers and using the same money to buy medicines and food if they ever ate anything else besides oranges. I was blank my mind was not able to comprehend “What had happened?” but my tears won’t stop.
It was getting darker so I decided to go home. I picked up my cycle and started paddling back home. My heart was so heavy and I was not able to understand “What I was feeling?” and all I could think that I would befriend her tomorrow and share my tiffin with her.
I went home I was exhausted so
as soon as I had my dinner I fell asleep. I told my mom beforehand to cook something delicious tomorrow. I even dreamt about her and how happy she would look when we will be eating together. I woke up an hour before I usually do, my mother was shocked to see me this excited to go to school today.
I packed my bag, took my lunch box and rushed to school I wanted to talk to her so badly that I ended up hitting school an hour before.
I had to wait in front of the school gate until the first bell rang and the gate opened.
I reached my class and sat on my place and waited there patiently, the class began she was not there. I thought she might come late so I waited, waited and waited. She didn’t come to school today, I was sad but I told myself to not give up.
The next day the same thing happened I was there so early. I waited for her in front of the gate then in the classroom, but she didn’t come.
During the second class, our teacher was interrupted by someone at the door. Nope, she wasn’t the girl but a staff helper, he whispered something to our teacher.
She then looked at us.
“Dear students, I want you to know that Mariya won’t be coming to school anymore. She was living with her grandfather who died yesterday and now she is transferred to another state where her distant relatives will take care of her, everything happened so fast that she was not able to convey her goodbyes to you”
Those words pierced my heart and again tears started to run down my eyes. At that moment I hated myself. I asked myself “Why didn't I talked to her sooner?” I ran towards the bathroom and cried for an hour, but then it came to me that now she won’t have to sell oranges, eat oranges, and work as she used to. Her relatives might be taking better care of her. I stopped crying although I kept feeling sad about her unsaid departure. One day I will grow up, I will find her and I will apologize to her she might not understand why I was doing that. But I will still apologize to her and I hope that I will be able to tell her the complete story and then I will share that delicious homemade tiffin with her.