The Boy Who Stayed – by Alifya Yousuf

From the corner of my eyes, I see the kids mischievously. Slowly, but surely, packing their bags. There are still 10 mins left for school to end. But I have had this conversation with the kids a couple of million times, how one should wait for the bell and then pack their bags. But I can't fight with the excitement they are packing with. The second the bell rings, they rush home.


I am a teacher by profession, but don't judge me when I say this, "Young kids are so, so annoying." I always thought of being a lecturer at a fancy University, and for a while, I was, then I shifted to teaching college kids, and with good pay, I did not seem to mind that. I am confused about how and when did I end up teaching the freaking 5th grade!


As the clock ticked on 2, the bell rang, and kids ran out of the room. As if it were an Olympic race. The noises, chatter, chaos, loudness gave me a headache. Peaceful adults always surrounded me; this will take me some time.


Soon enough I noticed, that a young boy was sitting on the backbench. He was so quiet that one might not even notice his presence, which is rare with kids. He just sat and looked out of the window. This was unusual for me.


Initially, I thought, he must be waiting for his parents to pick him up. So, I stayed at the table and read my book. 20 mins had passed, and he took out his homework and started to do that. Again, I assumed that maybe his parents would pick him up late and asked him to wait in class. It was 3:00 pm, and my stomach was growling with hunger. Now I may not be the nicest woman, but I will not eat while the kid stays hungry. I cut my sandwich in two and went towards him.


"Are you waiting for your parents?"


"No"


"Then?"


"I am waiti