The bright yellow building was glowing aglow, not just because of the fresh paint. It was something else! Ms. Annie, the head-teacher, paused near the iron gates. She was growing restless and tired of walking up and down the pathway. A wide grin appeared on her face as she heard the familiar horn. Oh, aren’t you a treat for sore eyes, she heaved a deep sigh as a faint silhouette appeared on the road end – the yellow bus!
‘Hello Ms. Annie, ’
‘I missed you, ’
‘How are you, miss?’
Loud cheers, warm hugs and wide smiles poured out with gay abundance, like tiny saplings mushrooming from wet soil. A rainbow of bright colours surrounded the matronly figure. With the memories of contagion left far behind, children were rejoicing being back to school.
The buoyant dozen ran into their classroom, except for Ben, who stood near the rose bushes. ‘Miss, where is Jared?’
Ms. Annie’s eyes turned misty at the memory of the old gardener. ‘Oh! you are sad. Is he in heaven?’ She nodded, brushing the boy’s soft curls.
‘Don’t worry about him, miss. My mom said it’s a happy place. My granny went there last week. She will bake him her best cookies, play with him and tell him lots of stories.’
‘Thanks, Ben. That’s so kind of you. I am sure he will have a fun time there with your granny.’
Saying nothing, Ben held his teacher’s hands. ‘Let’s go inside Miss Annie and have fun too.’
(Won Certificate of Outstanding Performance)
Published first on Asian Literary Society