That Smile!


Short story

……la ilaaha illallaah!…

As the azan for the evening Asr prayer at a nearby mosque concluded, I was at the bus stop, waiting for my bus. Suddenly, a tiny bit of a conglomerate stone hit my feet. To my curiosity, I saw a small boy of nearly 10 years, kicking up the mud and dragging his feet as he walked on. That was where the stone had come from. Though he was in uniform, he was ill-dressed. His shirt was lazily tucked out. The tie swayed about. He was murmuring something in anger and held his jaws tight. I tried to lip read him, but I failed to understand. A highly inapt giant unhappiness and frustration soared upon his pale little round face. I just wondered how amazing it would be if he was just smiling. What’s more beautiful than a child’s innocent smile?

He appeared very peculiar to me, and  I kept on staring at him. He never noticed me though.  All of a sudden, his water bottle fell off from his school bag into the bushes. Only did I then discerned that the whole street was covered by that particular type of bush. To collect the bottle, he swiftly turned with an exasperating look and thrust his arm through the green bushes.

Aaaaawwww!! Thorns!! …. A shriek from this fellow.

He shouted licking his wounded fingers.

”What a bad day?

I hate this world..

Why so cruel at me?

Failed at …”

He restrained himself from completing it as he realized that people around were observing him, and that realization made him shut his mouth. He let it go and walked on. Though I had an urge to jump out and help him, an inhumane selfish consciousness about my bus constricted me in doing so. He still carried on his crestfallen land soothing walk. Being irritated by the awkward swaying of the tie, he pulled it out and puffed it into his right pocket. Just then, when he was at a narrow cross road just about some 30 feets from me, a blue car passed across him. The car hid my view upon him for a few seconds. That minute interval suddenly created an abrupt change in him. He stood there even-faced for a while, shocked. Then looked at that car once again and pronounced a fake smile. He stood there motionless as a statue with his eyes sharply upon engraving the ripples on the ground.

What was so special about that car?

How come I didn’t give proper attention to it?

Who was in it?

What caused this sudden change?

Thousands of such questions appeared in mind in a brisk of a second. Suddenly I was awakened by the horn of my bus. But he stood there still and stiff… This time I listened to my soul and decided to let go of the bus. I wanted to find that blue car and its secret. I ran with a solid hope that I could find it. And I hadn’t had to run too long. I found that car parked near a shop.

I could see a teddy bear behind the seat through the rear windshield … It held a note ‘smile’… Though that was so cute and charming, I was disappointed. The secret was too silly.  But why did this shock him…

Suddenly Just as I turned I felt as if I saw someone through the rear glass. Someone unique…. Was she an ideal of beauty?  Yes indeed.. of the beauty of love…

That figure.. Her head was so small.  Cheeks were plumb. Almond shaped eyes. He tongue stuck out of her mouth, hair –  misaligned. Nose – flat. She once again carved out that demure innocent smile at me and then licked her upper palate and rolled up her eyeballs towards the right corner and mechanically turned forward with intermediate breaks…She suddenly started to rhythmically move all of a sudden, like some kind of dance.  I now doubt whether she had actually smiled at me. Or simply did I feel so?..   Whatever it maybe, her smile was rather painful than cheering.. It pricked the core of my heart. A visual that I would not forget for ages.

I felt that boy’s sensation.  Empathy and sympathy endowed me. I just wondered… What was the reason for her joy.. her happiness… her love… In spite of not even being a complete her……….

Finally, when my mind asked me to leave, I traced my way back hoping to see the boy. He was no longer there where he stood. But luck favoured me…  He was there…. Just beside, at the spot the water bottle had fallen, he sat there with a neatly knotted tie, glaring upon a small yellow flower on that thorny bush. He gently patted his injured arm and gradually raised his head and gazed upon the sky and the evening sun.  A graceful smile gradually appeared on his face.  It was even more appealing that ever I imagined. It was as if I could see the sun at the right and the moon at my left.  He then quietly walked on with that celestial smile still on his sweet triangular face…..

14 thoughts on “That Smile!”

  1. I enjoy your work. You are giving me a new point of view from a culture I’ve always found interesting. I have a great respect for your country because of what I’ve read about the people and their endurance. Keep writing.

    Liked by 2 people

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