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Dara was a girl who caught my fancy during my boyhood years.

We used to do laundry jobs for Joseph,the ‘Blackie’ together,her and two other girls.

Unlike me,Dara didn’t go to school. I thank my guardian priest for ensuring that I did.

The four of us,all orphans and somewhat rejected in the society,were bosom friends.

As we approached puberty,it was Dara who took my fancy as a potential girlfriend. She was very beautiful and confident,sometimes arrogantly so.

But we were so used to each other that there was no way I could break this old mould and bring her around to my new way of thinking.

Then came the school debate.

Dara and her friends could not help sneaking in into the Church hall with other Families that came to see their children at it. They too wanted to see me in action.

I was flattered. I had no family to share this important occasion with. But if Dara and her girls came,then I was home. My stage fright not withstanding.

It is now difficult for me to remember the topic under discussion for that debate after all these years, but I will never forget the girls reaction to me after that debate. Dara was sixteen. I was Fourteen at that time. I didn’t see them at the hall during the debate session that evening.

I felt abandoned, and lonely.

As I walked back to my room from the Church hall,which was quite some distance away,I saw three white figures ahead of me pacing up and down, under the big mango trees in the compound bathed in April moonlight.

They hurried towards me. They were waiting for me.

“Oh Ben,it was splendid”,Dara was breathing hard as she always did when her feelings outran her lingual abilities. “There isn’t a man who could make a speech like that in this neighbourhood!” I just stopped your grumpy guardian and said so to him”. “He won’t tell you,but he told us he was awfully surprised himself,didn’t he girls?”

Dara never liked my Guardian priest. He was an impediment to our comradeship. Dara never saw it any other way. The morals of girls and boys company had not yet fully captured our young minds,the way the priest would have liked to see it.

Chelsie sidled up to me so teasingly,”what made you so solemn. We thought you were scared that we won’t show up”.

Dara became more possessive, and wistfully said,”it must make you very happy,Ben,to have thoughts like that in your mind all the time,and to have words to put them in. I always wanted to go to school myself,you know,Ben,so that we can talk out things at the same level”.

She said it in a way that made me feel sad about her. But Dara was so headstrong to draw any pity to herself.

She continued breathlessly,”Oh,I just sat there and wished that I had a papa who could hear you talk like that,Ben,and he would know that I have the right kind of a friend”.

It tore my heart to hear her talk like that.

“I thought about your papa,Dara,when I made that speech,and I dedicated it to him”.

She threw her arms around me,and her beautiful face was all wet with tears.

Then she stared at me full in the eyes and said, “Thank you”.

Without another word,the three girls in their white dresses glimmering in the moonlight walked down the sidewalk to their dungeon room.

I have had no other success that pulled at my heart-strings like that one in all my years.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

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