Her Smile

Aiz had to throw himself out of the bus. He heard the driver make a scornful remark which was followed by the giggles and laughs of his bus-mate bullies.

He fell on his right leg and sat there trying to push back his tears. He thought may be he should say about the bullies and the driver to her like he said about Ken.

He cursed the driver for not stopping the bus, had a look at his bruised palms and decided not tell her anything. Ken looked scared today and ran away at the sight of Aiz. May be she was too stern.

The thought of her erased all the traces of his horrible day at school from his mind and somehow brought a smile on his face. She would be at home, waiting for him.

He grabbed his bag and picked himself up. But fell down immediately. After a little while, he found balance and walked his way to home with a slight limp. Eventhough, his body hurt and his heart beat with a frenzied rush, his mind was at ease knowing he had found a friend. She was different but she listened to him like no other and smiled at him like no other. He loved that smile, her smile. It did’nt reach her eyes but atleast it did not show any comtempt, cruelty, smugness or sometimes even pity like million others.

By the time he reached home, his heart too found calm and expect the sharp, intense and irritating sensations of his palms and knees, everything felt right.

He pushed open the front door and called out to his mom. He scattered his shoes, socks and bag all over the place, and got ready to throw some tantrums. Meanwhile, there was no response.

He turned into the hallway and opened his mouth to yell out to his mom but what came out was the low sound of a harsh and hollow breath. His heart began with a frienzied rush again but this time it was not agitation and frustration, it was fear and desperation.

He saw his parents in an awkward, face-down position on the floor, surrounded by a lot of red. But before even he could register everything wholly, he saw her emerge from one of the rooms.

Her hands were behind her and when she looked up, she met his eyes with that same vacant stare and had that same smile. And  her smile did’nt seem so friendly anymore.

She said,”They didn’t believe you….”

—–Khadija Begum

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