“So, class! Good, now in this peaceful silence, let’s welcome a new transfer student!”
With these words, a bashful boy of around ten years entered the class. He glanced at us and quickly gave us an introduction.
“My name is Ahmed Adeel. I like football and someday I want to go to Hogwarts, but my dearest dream is to become a scientist. I hope that you all become my friends as the year proceeds.”
We all laughed at this strange introduction. It was certainly not expected from someone looking so shy, but I had learnt not to judge someone by their appearance. And it seems that I was right. As soon as Ahmed sat at the seat right next to me, I felt as if I had met my lost twin. We had same interests, as I found out during Ahmed’s chatter during the math class, football, Harry Potter, experiments and so on.
It was a fun day until the bell rang for the home time. Cars came and all the children went home happily until I was left with Ahmed. Most of the teachers had gone home too.
“Are you not going to go home yet?” my inquiry was left unanswered because a familiar voice boomed in the room.
“Asad! Dear, excuse your dad for showing up so late, will you? I am sorry son,” with this my father hugged me firmly.
“Ugh! Dad, let go of me!” I said embarrassed.
“Yeah, Asad don’t get embarrassed of your father’s embrace. I promise you, there is nothing more precious than that,” Ahmed suddenly remarked from the corner of the room.
With my father making a ruckus in the room, I had not noticed Ahmed, neither had my father, apparently. There was a look of sadness mixed with longing in his eyes as he stared at us.
“You know my father used to come to pick me up like this too. He was always busy, yet he found the time to embrace me, love me and keep me happy. Yet, I became embarrassed like you, Asad. If only I had appreciated every moment of the time spent with my father, I would not have regretted it now.”
This confession was followed by silence and there were tears in his eyes. I became transfixed at my place as my father went there to comfort him. It was like a drama going on.
“I ... miss ... his ... hugs ... I miss ... him,” Ahmed cried in my father’s arms. Suddenly, a man appeared on the door of the class and came inside and picked a sobbing Ahmed from father’s arms.
He turned to father and said, “I am Ahmed’s uncle. I am sorry for his condition. He always gets like this when he remembers his father. You see his father, Mr Adeel Ansari, was a famous scientist. Unfortunately, one of his experiments backfired and he died a month ago. That’s why we transferred him here so Ahmed could move on. But it will take time, I guess. Time will be natural healer.”
I felt sad. I truly felt the love in my father’s every breath as he stood behind me and I found myself leaning back at him. I looked at my father and he nodded towards me. Sometimes, love does not need words to be expressed. My father turned towards Ahmed and patted his head.
“I guess now I will have to hug two people. I will have to come much earlier if that’s the case,” my father laughed while saying the words and proceeded to hug Ahmed again.
I laughed, too. After all, it was precious love.
Published in Dawn, Young World, June 15th, 2019