Joined: 08 April 2012
Sara was cursing viciously when she entered the school next morning. She had cut burned herself while making tea in the morning. The maid was sick, so she had to make it herself. She knew how to cook almost everything, but it was almost always imminent that she'll get her hand burnt at least once while working in the kitchen. She had wrapped a tissue paper around her wrist to lessen the sting, but navigating through Lahore's heavy traffic had been a challenge for her sore wrist. She thanked God that her first two periods were free, and went to get something to eat from the canteen with an arm full of assignments to check.
After getting a packet of biscuits, she sat down on the benches in front of the canteen which also faced the basketball court and started checking the assignments. The weather was pleasant for a change, with cool wind and a hint of rain in the air, instead of the scorching heat that accompanied September. Holding the travel mug of tea in her hand and biscuits in the other, she laid back a little to enjoy the weather and watch the boys playing basketball enthusiastically. It was one of her classes. She smiled to see them yelling encouragements, and blames at the same time. They were running and playing as if life depended on it. Ali looked particularly active, his agility and speed was the best on the team and he was constantly scoring goals much to the chagrin of the opposing team's captain.
"Sir, I told you I wanted Ali on my team!" Sara heard him yell as Ali dashed past two of his defenders to score a perfect 3 pointer. The sports coach laughed a little and then asked the opposing to gather around for a tactic conference. I really should get back to checking; she thought and focused all her attention on the boys' critical appreciation of Shakespeare.
"What happened to your wrist?" She looked up to see Ali standing over her with a bottle of water in his hands. He was sweaty and was breathing hard.
"I burned it this morning." She said with a smile and motioned him to sit.
"How come you're not playing?" She asked
"Other kids need to play as well, so I have been substituted" he said with a frown, clearly unhappy with the decision.
"Well it's fun to watch as well"
"Not if you know how to play," he said, a bit rudely.
"You can watch your team play and then see where their weaknesses are, and help them win even if you're not in the team." She replied
He turned around to look at her. Sara knew that he was a bit surprised that she hadn't scolded him for answering her back as was the norm of 95% of the teachers she'd come across. She had seen teachers punishing students for disagreeing with her interpretation of Blake which was ridiculous. Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion, was the mantra Sara followed while teaching and in real life as well.
"You mean like Sir?"
"No, not like Sir; he has to help everyone play their best as he is a teacher, but you only have to help your team." She said with a slight smile.
He laughed and got up to join a couple of his friends who had gotten substituted as well and were now sitting on the benches. She smiled as well and went back to checking.
"Ma'am?" she looked up again, "You're cool," with that, he walked away; leaving her smiling.
As she parked the car in the parking lot, she was dreading entering the University. She didn't have a class with Mr. Rude Stare today, but still she was sure that she'll have to see him as he was friends with Sidra and they had made plans to meet for a quick cup of tea before her class started. She went to the caf with a heavy heart, and was therefore happy to see that he wasn't with Sidra. She was sitting alone on the far end of the caf, writing in her notebook. She sat down next to her and ordered tea for both of them.
"So what's the deal with you and Adal?" Sidra asked without any preamble. They had known each other too long to bother with niceties.
Sara was too shocked to speak, "What?" she said when she had gained the power of speech again.
"The air sizzles when you two are together honey," Sidra said with a wink.
"No it does not!" Sara said a bit too vehemently. Sidra laughed. "I always thought it was sappy romantic novels which said that these kinds of things happen, but it's true. I saw the way he looked at you. He wants to gobble you up. I have known him for three years and Faraz has known him all his life, but he has not reacted this way with anyone before."
Sara was getting angry now. "First of all, I don't care how he looks at me, secondly he is a jerk and who the hell is Faraz?"
It looked like Sidra was trying hard to control her laughter, "I told you that he's the best friend of my friend's boyfriend. Well the boyfriend is Faraz and my friend is Irum. So it's like I know a lot about him, but don't tell him. It will mortify him."
"Sidra, I have no intention of being in a relationship especially not with someone like him," although he attracts me like no man had ever done so, she thought with a frown.
"Oh Sara, love doesn't ask permission to grow in your heart, if it did, it'd be much simpler," the quiet desperation in her voice caused Sara to look at her more closely. Her eyes were suddenly haunted and looked unbearably sad.
"Do you like somebody Sidra?" she asked, dreading the answer. Classic romance novel, she thought, two friends attracted to the same man.
"No, I love someone," she said quietly, "but he is engaged now,"
Knowing that words were useless, Sara simply went to sit on the chair next to Sidra and hugged her tight, absorbing the single tear that rolled down her cheek.
After a minute, Sidra straightened up, and said, "Look Adal is a great guy, one of the best I have ever met. He helped me a lot when I needed it most; but at the end of the day he is a guy too. I can see sparks between you too. Guys move on Sara, no matter how much they love a girl. Girls don't, so please be careful. Don't suffer like I had to," seeing that Sara was about to speak, she signaled her to let her finish, "I know you'll say I have no intention of being in a relationship etc, but Sara it doesn't work that way you'll fight it tooth and nail and it will still win. So just be careful."
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