SADDNESS AND LIFE by Hasseb Rafaqat

On a usual winter day, in a room somewhere, a boy with jet black upright small hair, somewhere around 10 to 12, was staring out of the window, looking at something peculiar he caught a sight of in the snow.
“You still with Alvin?” asked a female whom the boy seemed to recognize.
“Yes Ms. Iris?” asked the Alvin in amidst of confusion.
“I suggest you get your head back in this class.” Said Ms. Iris.
And the boy turned back to his textbook, but not able to concentrate on the task at hand he kept thinking about the object he glimpsed just a bit earlier. 
“I think Alvin would like to read from here on.” Said Ms. Iris.
Alvin now stood up at his spot and kept standing there like a statue rooted to that very spot. Ms. Iris now in sheer anger kept looking at Alvin, as he tried to figure out a way out of this mess.
“Woeful were all the hills Wasteful were all the grills……” Read Alvin from the book, but before he could finish he was interrupted by Ms. Iris.
“Alvin, we’re past that, in fact we’re not even on that page.” Said Ms. Iris, cutting Alvin off before he could read further, “Its detention for you young man, and see me in my office after school.”
“Yes Ms. Iris.” Replied Alvin.
But before any of them could utter another world, bell rang and students got up to leave for recess. This was a blessing for Alvin, as he was trying to evade the conversation with Ms. Iris.
“This conversation is not over young man, in my office; after school.” Said Ms. Iris and left the class.
Alvin now got up and instead of going to the cafeteria he went straight for the playground which was now covered in snow. He now started looking for something, something he was eyeing earlier from the class room, and at last he spotted it. It was a flower trying to bloom from the very thin patch of bare soil not covered by the snow. He was able to eye such a small yet wonderful thing from 20 ft. away and was determined to find it. Seeing it gave Alvin a gush of happiness, he felt something happy he couldn’t describe seeing that flower trying to bloom even in this harsh winter snow. It gave Alvin an undescribed joy and a sense of calmness and comfort seeing it.
“Hey, little buddy. You’re all alone too huh?” asked Alvin to the flower.
The flower kind of danced in the mild breeze flowing.
“Yeah, I’m not much loved either. My fathers always fight and I hate it, but whenever they do so, I run back to my room; to my wardrobe and cover up my ears.” Said Alvin to the flower.
“Hey wierdo, you do know that you’re talking to a flower, right?” said a familiar shrill voice from behind.
“What is it to you? I can talk to whomever and whatever I like.” Shouted Alvin, “Go away Sara.”
And the girl named Sara left Alvin and his flower alone, but three senior boys had spotted Alvin shouting and now were coming towards him.
“Hey Alvin, what you’re looking at.” Asked one of the three boys.
“None of your business James, leave us alone.” Said Alvin.
“Or what? You’re going to call up your dads.” Said another boy, “faggot!”
Alvin resented that word, he quickly got up with crouched fists and punched that boy right in the face. That boy fell backwards, but the other two rushed to catch Alvin. They restrained him and took a hold of him. The fallen boy got up and and punched Alvin right in the abdomen. Spit erupted from Alvin’s mouth from the sheer force of the punch.
Mr. Mandana, the teacher on duty, seeing this from afar rushed towards the fight and broke up the quarrel.
“What are you boys fighting for.” Inquired Mr. Mandana, “James, Cameroon and Conor; you’re a troublesome squad.”
“He started it.” Said Conor pointing at Alvin.
“So, you’re trying to say that this little boy started fighting you three lot all by himself, knowing that he didn’t stood a chance against you three altogether?” Asked Mr. Mandana in a sarcastic tone.
“It’s detention for you three.” Said Mr. Mandana, “you alright boy? Who’s your class in charge?”
“Ms. Iris.” Replied Alvin in a squeaky voice.
“Speak up, I can’t hear you.” Said Mr. Mandana to the boy.
“Ms. Iris, sir” said Alvin a bit louder but still not loud enough.
Mr. Mandana understood and told Alvin to go off to the dispensary and visit the nurse there.
“Now you lot be good boys, behave and shake hands. Come on.” Commanded Mr. Mandana to the three boys.
Cameroon initiated the hand shake and Alvin shook back.
“Hug each other now come on and say you’re sorry for what you did.” Said Mr. Mandana.
Cameroon hugged Alvin and whispered something in his left ear.
“Just wait and watch, this flower friend of yours will not make it to another sunrise.” Threatened Cameroon, and whispered in Alvin’s left ear.
“Come with mw boy and I’ll direct you to the dispensary.” Said Mr. Mandana and left.
Alvin accompanied him and followed him to the dispensary.
“In you go.” Said Mr. Mandana pointing towards the door.
Alvin entered the room and quietly seated himself in a corner. Mr. Sharon, the school nurse, saw him and inquired a few things about him.
“And who might you be?” asked Ms. Sharon politely.
“I’m Alvin.” Said the boy.
“And why are you here dear?” asked Ms. Sharon again with much politeness in her tone.
“A boy punched me in the stomach and a teacher directed me here.” Explained Alvin.
“Well let’s have a look shall we?” said Ms. Sharon and directed him towards the bed nearby.
Alvin walked towards and it hopped on it and laid there whilst Ms. Sharon examined him.
“Well, you’re good to go. Nothing to worry about.” Concluded Ms. Sharon.
The bell rang as Alvin exited the dispensary. Alvin upon hearing the bell started straddling back towards the classroom. Alvin entered and took his place sat back to his seat. Mr. Filbird entered the class and commenced the lecture. Alvin still worried for the flower kept looking out and was barely getting a glimpse from so afar to weather it was still there or not. Lectures went by and Alvin didn’t cared for any of that stuff. He was only worried about the flower left outside in that harsh winter snow. And now came the last lecture of the day. It was Ms. Alisha’s lecture, but Alvin was in a world of its own and didn’t seemed to notice what time or lecture it was. Alvin endured that lecture with much patience and hopes of taking that flower back home with him. He fantasized a lot about him and the flower but just as the bell was about to ring Mr. Iris opened the classroom door.
“Ms. Alisha. Mind if I borrow Alvin?” asked Ms. Iris.
“Oh, not at all.” Replied Ms. Alisha in accordance.
“Alvin, dear, Ms. Iris would like you to accompany him.” Said Ms. Alisha to Alvin.
Alvin, still in a world of his own, didn’t heard what Ms. Alisha just said and kept on looking at the window.
“You might as well have him, seeing he’s not present in this class anyway.” Said Ms. Alisha to Ms. Iris.
“ALVIN.” Called out Ms. Iris in a louder voice than usual.
Alvin looked now at Ms. Alisha, point blank, didn’t knew what to do or what to say.
“Yes, ma’am?” asked Alvin.
“Ms. Iris is here for you.” Said Ms. Alisha nodding towards Ms. Iris.
Before anyone could say anything else; the bell rang and every student rushed out of class and towards the corridor to exit the building and go home. Ms. Alisha picked up her things and was about to leave the class as well. Ms Iris, however, was just waiting besides the door to the classroom, in the corridor. She was waiting for Alvin. Alvin came out and she and Alvin drifted towards her office opposing the current of the crowd.
Now in her office sat Alvin in front of her across the desk as she looked at him in dismay.
“You’ll not be getting detention today.” Declared Ms. Iris.
“You’re not punishing me?” Asked Alvin still looking down.
“No, not today. Not with those three boys.” Replied Ms. Iris, “And besides what good would that be? Detention isn’t a punishment.”
Alvin looked up at those words. Now in shock as she had said something horrible, horrific, terrible, something she wasn’t supposed to say, something out of the blue.
“Yes, I know about the boys.” Said Ms. Iris, “Mr. Mandana and Sara told me about them and you.”
“Now I would like you to go home, and your father isn’t picking up so tell him to visit me.” Said Ms. Iris.
“Which one?” Asked Alvin.
“Any of the two would do.” Answered Ms. Iris, “Now off you go.” 
Alvin got up and left the office. As soon as he did, he started running towards the playground and rushed like he was on a horse of wind. But as he reached there and what he saw was unbearable for him. The flower had been stepped upon crushed by someone. Alvin’s heart now filled with grief, his eyes now filled with tears, he now feeling miserable more than ever. He fell onto his knees and started weeping, tears now leaving his eyes and running down his cheeks and falling on the remains of what was once a magnificent, beautiful, majestic flower. He kept crying unbeknown to anyone else, but Ms. Alisha saw him, who happened to pass by on the pavement. She seeing Alvin this way hurried towards him and sat by him and asked what happened.
“This flower, I liked it. It was my only friend and I wanted to protect it.” Said Alvin whilst crying.
Ms. Alisha wrapped her arms around him and tried to comfort him.
“Don’t worry dear, the winter is going and these flower blossom in this season almost everywhere. In fact I might have one in my backyard.” Said Ms. Alisha as she tried to comfort him, “If you like you can take that home.”
Sara was watching everything from a safe distance. Not to be seen but seeing everything.
 

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