The Move

It was the big day. She was nervous, worried, scared, and anxious all at the same time.

——–

Friends in her old school had warned her about moving into a new school. They had told her to stay back, “So what if your dad got a transfer? You can stay in the hostel with us.” But her mother had been stubborn. They had to move to a new city and Jessica wasn’t to argue.And so she had packed up her books, her toys, and her favourite stuffed animals. Rhonda and Mervin had teared up when they said their goodbyes. “Please come visit us,” Mervin had said, wiping her tears with the handkerchief pinned to her pinafore. And Rhonda had been too upset for anything more than a giant hug.

And so she had packed up her books, her toys, and her favourite stuffed animals. Rhonda and Mervin had teared up when they said their goodbyes. “Please come visit us,” Mervin had said, wiping her tears with the handkerchief pinned to her pinafore. And Rhonda had been too upset for anything more than a giant hug.The other kids had tried to be more helpful. “Hey, be careful. I heard kids in that city are

The other kids had tried to be more helpful. “Hey, be careful. I heard kids in that city are barbarous. They’ll tease you, and push you, and won’t pick you in group games.”Jessica tried to tell her mom all this, but she wasn’t to argue. They had filled up the car and ridden off to the city of Bangalore. She had walked into

Jessica tried to tell her mom all this, but she wasn’t to argue. They had filled up the car and ridden off to the city of Bangalore. She had walked into the school and everyone had teased her, ‘Just like Peter said,’ she wailed to herself. But she wasn’t to argue, so she adapted instead. Ten years went by and new school had now become

Ten years went by and new school had now become school. Strangers had become classmates and some even friends. As she stood at the gate on the last day of her school life, Jessica remembered Rhonda. “Please come visit us,” Rhonda’s teary voice reverberated in her head. Jessica had never gone back. “Friends forever!” They had declared to one another. And she hadn’t even called Rhonda once since the move. Mervin had called her twice, but she had been too busy with her new friends to answer or call back. Bangalore had thrown her in the midst of iPhone photographers and makeup-clad girls. She had been too distracted to think of small town Rhonda and Mervin.

And standing by the gate, alone, she yearned to sit once again, at the school canteen with Rhonda and Mervin by her side. And then she realised, it was time to make the visit she had postponed for so long.

It was the big day. Her old town was still old, still shabby, and still small. She approached the decaying school building with its peeling paint and cracked walls. And there they stood, looking much older than in her memories of them, Rhonda and Mervin. They had grown out of their pinafores and into dainty dresses. Jessica smiled at them and saw they did too. There was not a hint of or anger in their eyes. She began walking towards them, and every step sent shivers down Jessica’s spine.

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