Kazi Falguni Eshita
Ring…! The bell sounded extremely loud. Children ran out of the various classrooms, happily chatting with friends.
“I love recess! Don’t you?” Tania asked her friend Sonia.
“Same here.” Sonia replied.
“So, what shall we play?” Nadia asked.
A little girl, about seven or eight years of age, could be seen sitting on one of the benches. Unlike others, she was not busy playing any of the games. Instead, she was immersed in a thick volume of Fairy Tales.
“Lily, dear, don’t you want to play with your friends?” A tall, young teacher sat beside the girl.
Tears glistened in Lily’s deep- brown eyes. Her rose-pink lips swelled up:
“Mom, I wanted to play, but they said lame ones can’t play this game.”
“You don’t always have to listen to those rough people, sweetie.” Afrina tried to soothe her daughter.
A few years back, the girl had jumped down from a very high bed, while playing with her younger brother. She was seriously injured, unable to walk for a long time.
Those were miserable days. The little girl had to undergo long sessions of therapies. The journeys to the hospitals seemed endless.
The surgeon had inserted a long metal rod in Lily’s right foot. Now, that foot has become very thin. As a result, she has to wear orthopedic shoes.
That day, on their way back home, Lily talked about the Annual sports Competition coming up.
Afrina was well aware of the competition. It was to be held at The Sports Complex. The first, second and third position holders will be awarded gold, silver and bronze medals respectively. Though the medals will be electroplated, they will be priceless. All throughout the year, the students wait for this competition.
The venue was very well decorated. The gallery was very large, with fine, comfortable seats. The field was huge. Three little stages were set for the awardees.
“Mom, I want to participate in sports.” Lily pleaded one day.
“If you want to, you can participate, sweetheart.”
“It’s a 200 meter running race, I can’t…”
“Remember that fable of the rabbit and the turtle? The turtle was much slower than the rabbit, but still he won the running race. The turtle never gave up.”
“Mom…” Lily was still confused.
“Just run at your own pace, you can do it.” Afrina hugged her daughter.
As soon as the whistle was blown, Lily set off at full speed. It was not easy, but in her mind she kept chanting: “I can do it.”
On the Annual Sports Day, Afrina accompanied Lily to the venue. Lily looked like an angel in her white tracksuit. Her thick, curly ponytails hung above her shoulders. Her shining eyes reflected excitement.
Lily could not believe her ears when the winners were announced. She had won the gold! Holding the medal firmly in one hand, she spread her arms in the air. She was standing on the golden stage. The spring wind played with her ponytails. The wide field seemed like her empire. “I’ve done it Mom, I’ve done it.” Lily shouted, as Afrina wiped away a tear of happiness.