Illustration by Aamnah Arshad
Illustration by Aamnah Arshad

It was a cold evening, Zahra was going back home after a long day at work. But before returning home, her mother had strictly instructed her to bring certain groceries for the house. She pulled her jacket closer as the cold wind suddenly started to blow. It was around six in the evening and the sky was already a little dark.

She was walking towards the mini-mart one block away when she heard some giggles. They came from a little girl, who had a wide smile on her face as she gazed at the balloon her mother had just bought her. It was when the mother was busy paying the balloon man and had her back turned on the girl for a few seconds, that everything went wrong.

Zahra saw as a gust of wind made the girl lose her grip on the balloon which went flying towards the road. The little girl, unaware of the speeding car coming in her direction, ran after the balloon. It all happened as if in slow motion in front of Zahra, she heard the loud honking of the car and without any further thought began running towards the girl.

She quickly grabbed the girl and they both rolled towards the other side of the road where, luckily, there was grass. Zahra placed one hand on the girl’s head and the other held her tightly by the waist as they both went rolling towards the other side. The car driver went speeding, waving his hand in frustration and saying a few words, but nobody paid any heed to him.

Zahra carefully made the girl stand up, who was shocked but uninjured. Zahra herself was uninjured as she stood up.

After getting a lot of ‘thank yous’ from the mother, Zahra began her way again to the mini-mart near her house. She was a little shaken but, fortunately, nothing major had happened, instead, she felt relief by helping the girl.

She stepped into the mini-mart and started buying groceries. It was at the counter that she received another not-so-nice surprise. Her groceries were three hundred rupees more than what she had on her. With the thought of getting scolded by her mother, she started taking some of the things out of her basket when a voice spoke up from behind.

“No need. Here.”

It was a young man standing behind her, he had his hand extended and was offering three hundred rupees to her. Zahra was taken aback a little.

Controlling herself, she smiled politely at him and said, “Oh no, I can’t take the money, it’s no big deal. But thank you!”

The young man looked at the bills in his hand and then back at her, “Please, take them. My mother is going through some medical treatment at the hospital, I always visit her in the hospital with a bunch of flowers, but just this morning I got scolded for wasting my money on flowers. She said to do something nice with the money so here. Think of these as my mother’s flowers.”

Listening to that, Zahra hesitantly took the money after a few seconds and smiled kindly at the stranger.

“Thank you so much. And because of you I wouldn’t be scolded by my mother,” Zahra added.

They both couldn’t help but laugh at that.

Published in Dawn, Young World, May 4th, 2024

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