Highly Commended Story - Friends Precious Jewels of Life
“Friends - Precious Jewels of Life” by Saloni Sachin Porwal, The Indian High School, UAE, is the Highly Commended story in the junior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2019.
Friends - Precious Jewels of Life
Seema had just finished her homework. She was a quiet and shy girl, but sensitive to the feelings of others. “Seema….,’’ called out her mother, “Child, if you have finished your homework, you can go and play in the sunshine. Vitamin D is good for you,” She added with a smile. “Ok mom,” said Seema, “I’ll be back in half an hour.”
When she went into the backyard to sit on the swing, she saw a queer sight. A girl of about her age from her school was walking home with a heavy backpack on her shoulders. The exams were a month away and the next day was a weekend. Then why was this girl carrying so many books home? She surely can’t have so much of weekend homework. ‘What a nerd,’ she thought. The girl was most certainly unattractive with her dull thin plait of hair, eyes without a spark, common black spectacles and ugly braces fitted over her teeth.
The girl suddenly stumbled over a hidden rock and sat down with a bump. Her bag burst open and books were scattered all around her. Kind hearted Seema rushed to help the girl get to her feet and picked her books. “Th ..th ..thankyou,” she stammered. Seema smiled, “You’re welcome. I say, are you in SIM school. And what is your name, where do you live?” “Yes, I’m in SIM school and my name is Sally. I live in the next lane,” said the girl with a tiny shimmer in her brown eyes. “I’m Seema and I live in this villa. Why are you walking home so late?” “I can’t tell you why I’m walking home today. I don’t want to tell lies. I might tell you some other time.”
Seema liked Sally’s honesty and they became best friends. Seema soon found out the Sally was not at all a nerd but a witty teenager and Sally in her turn discovered to her delight that Seema had a wicked sense of humor. Ten years sped by and both girls were finished their twelfth. Today they would leave their school together and start a new chapter of life, College.
“I’m not coming to school today,” said Seema, “Anyway it’s the last day. What will we do? I don’t want to listen boring speeches.” “I’m giving a speech today,” said Sally, “Remember, the day we met, you asked me why I was walking home so late?” Seema nodded. “I replied, ‘I might tell you some other time’. Today I will tell you what you wanted to know.” “Well, I’m curious to know your reasons, so I’ll come” was Seema’s reply. The girls reached the school just in time for the convocation ceremony and soon Seema was seated in the audience Sally took her place at the backstage. Finally Sally came over to the stage, ready to give her speech. Seema was bubbling with curiosity and excitement.
“Good evening to all present here,” Sally finally started her speech, “I am Sally Potts of 12 com C. Today I would like to thank my parents, teachers and most importantly my friends for supporting me. I would also like to give a special thanks to Seema Shetty who has been a pillar of confidence to me. I will be telling everyone a real life story, a story of true kindness and friendship. ‘There was once a girl who lacked self-confidence and did not believe in herself. She often found herself as a common victim of bullies but had no strength to oppose and she soon lost hope in life. One day, she took a weak decision, to commit suicide,” murmurs of astonishment filled the auditorium, “But the girl was good at heart,” Sally continued, “She thought of her mother who would have to clean her cubicle after her death and decided to carry all her books home that day. It was a Friday and she was visualizing her family after she passed away. ‘No one will miss me,’ she thought with tears misting her eyes. And then, she met the person would change her life. She stumbled over a garden, unaware of a pair of watching eyes. Her books were scattered. Someone came to her and helped her. A girl of her age,” Sally looked at Seema as she said this. Seema’s eyes were brimming with tears. “The little girl helped her up and asked her if she would be her friend. ‘How nice it is to be wanted...’ thought the girl as she immediately agreed. ‘Now that I am wanted,’ she thought, ‘There is no reason why I should commit suicide. Both girls grew up to be great friends and the girl who could have been dead by now is someone I know very well. The girl who changed the other girls’ life was Seema Shetty and the girl who might have committed suicide is Sally Potts, myself.” Sally ended her speech with tears in her eyes and memories rushing into her. “Seema, you are the reason why I stand here today. Hats off to you. I’m proud to have such a friend.”
The last I have seen of Seema and Sally was in a dark lane, when I saw two figure chatting with each other, walking hand in hand. It is not common to have unique friends so if you do, treat them like precious jewels of your life. True friends are worth much more than the biggest diamond in the world.
Friendship is the comfort of knowing there is always a shoulder to lean on, a hand to reach out for, and a heart to welcome me home.