An eraser bobbled up to her feet. She picked it up, handed it to the boy who was waving his hand indicating that it belonged to him and sat down on her bench. Sandra’s courage had always been cloistered in her timid demeanour. It was also the reason why she chose silence even after knowing that she, alone, was the target of that eraser.
“True courage lies in ignoring the imbecility of humans and retaliating unjust treatment with a speaking silence,” Mamá had once told her and she had since then, justly thwarted the unjust.
“Flip to page number 49,” a raspy voice commanded and she followed.
The chapter was titled ‘The virtuous friend’. She ridiculed it and like a sermon that demands daily recitation she drew a star on the page of her textbook. Then came questions and unasked advices shamed with egocentric mockery.
“Hey! Dumbo! Teacher uses a red pen to give us stars. Whom are you fooling? Your Mommy? Eh?” remarked her surly bench mate and laughed like a whining donkey but Sandra ignored without despising.
She was living with her uncle in the city while Mamá grew wheat in the countryside and milked ten adorable cows. Her concentration always flailed in the wayward thoughts of the ranches, the babbling stream of icy water and Mamá’s warm lap in which her head sank in and fatigue seeped out. Eventually, her crusade would cease at the star. Melancholy would set in and the vivid pictures in her head would tweak to an infinite black with a shining silver void. She’d ask Mamá what Papá looked like and Mamá would embosom her, caress the side of her face and simply point at the Pole Star high up in the sky. When Sandra was conceived Mamá was too young- barely eighteen and Papá too delighted to let the gloom of his fate possess him. Four months later, he died of Leukemia leaving behind Sandra and Mamá without so much as a picture, but only a shining silver void.
“Sandra, Get up!” the raspy voice had become unbearable, still she followed. “Tell me! What did Timothy do when he saw his friend crying?” she asked in a thick voice bordering her anger.
Sandra stared at the space between her eyes, half clueless and half confounded.
“Get out of the classroom!” yelled her teacher.
Sandra walked out silently, indifferent to the rage of her teacher. The only time she reveled in the school was the time she spent outside the classroom. The playground had captivated her heart. In a secluded corner of it she rested under a mango tree. Through the blind of shattered rays of Sun−which danced like the beads of a broken string between the leaves−she saw mango flowers, yellow and green; marking the departure of spring and the arrival of an ebullient summer.
Summer summoned her home. She’d be with Mamá, her cattle and open skies very soon, she knew. A layer of joy fell over her indifferent silence. She savoured the warmth of the dappled sunlight, dissolved the melody of the “Song of Summer”−which she sings in the fields every summer−in the wind, dusted the back of her skirt and receded to the classroom, as silently as ever.
“People will find judgement to fill the voids of a story they know only tidbits of and brave are those who let them do so without displaying so much as an emotion,” Mamá had told her.
And indeed, Sandra was brave. She opened the textbook for the next class and drew an even bigger star. The mockery faded and ranches and streams hatched from its vestiges. The “Song of Summer” rung in her heart for summer was coming.
You can read another one of my stories in the link below.
Brown Old Man