With his shy, lowered eyes, he almost succeeded in being invisible to the girls until that one day when we were bored.
My school had a tiny library, being a government school we were even lucky to have one. In the two years I spent there, I had read all of the books twice and some even thrice.
The playground was huge, but always full of boys playing something or the other. All that the girls could do was walk around, talking about inane topics like television dramas and boyfriends.
You can imagine the amount of boredom this induced. We spotted Rohail on a day when we had exhausted all the nuances of the previous night’s serial and had nothing to talk about or do.
“There goes Mr. Shy-body,” said Huma, a cute plump little girl who had half the school’s boys swooning over her.
All four of us turned and saw him trying to slink past the female teacher who stood blocking his way in front of the canteen.
“He’s a wuss,” said Maryam, another member of my group of five.
All of us giggled. It struck me that it would be fun to tease him and see if he retaliated. It was well known that Rohail never talked to the girls.
He never even asked questions from the female teachers and had never been seen playing or doing any of the usual senseless antics that the other boys performed.
“Let’s go talk to him,” I proposed.
The four girls fell silent. I could see the amazement in their eyes at my suggestion since the simple act of talking to a boy was considered something really bold and daring in this particular school.
“What could happen?” I went on. “It will be fun to tease him. Do you think he will run away?”
“He might start crying,” giggled Kausar and all of us laughed at the thought of it.
Rohail could be found in the library during lunch break, we discovered after a bit of sleuthing around.
All five of us went upstairs to the library and there he was, sitting lost in some musty old book. I could tell he knew we were there; obviously it’s hard to miss it when five girls stand in a six by eight room.
He got up and walked to the shelf to put away the book.
“We’ll go stand behind him,” whispered Huma. “You and Sana talk to him when he tries to go out.”
I nodded and the three of them sauntered across the room and took their places at different positions in the small room.
Rohail looked tense, I could see the sweat begin to form in droplets on his forehead. Stumbling forward, he picked up his bag and hurried towards the door.
Sana, usually a shy and quiet girl, stood in front of the door, motionless and unwilling to move out of his way.
Rohail didn’t look up even now.
He tried to pass from the left, but couldn’t do so without brushing her and stood still, staring at the ground.
“Why do you want to go out?” I asked.
He didn’t reply. Suddenly, I saw drops fall on the ground in front of him and realised that they were tears.
He was weeping silently.
I suddenly felt mortified and pushed Sana away from the door. Seeing his chance, Rohail ran out.
I never saw him again.