She looked at her reflection and patted her hair down. The damn train ride had caused them to stand up! Straightening her kurta, she stepped into the hall. The perfunctory greetings followed. She smiled at those who came her way but her eyes searched for him. She saw him near the stage.
In swift steps, she crossed the hall towards him. She waited for him to acknowledge her presence…..to smile…..to say something……..but he refused to meet her gaze. Her boss came up to him then and took him away for the programme was about to start.
She walked to the back of the hall and took her seat. She wondered if he seemed embarassed or was it her imagination. Letting it slide for the moment, she focussed on the proceedings. The usual speeches followed. She was eager for his felicitation to begin. She looked back on the time they had spent together. She was so proud of him. Her heart was so full of emotions thinking of the long road they had crossed together. She waited to hear him acknowledge that in his speech.
He walked up on stage. His face was flushed – the long speech introducing him and announcing his achievements had embarrassed him. Accepting his award, he tried to recall words from the speech he had prepared. In a short crisp sentence, he thanked his family and friends and walked off.
She felt stunned…….disappointed…..let down. She thought he might say something for her…..maybe something to her………..why would he act like this?!
The crowd dispersed. Most of them walked up to him. She was one of them – maybe he would say something then. She smiled at him through the crowd. A slight smile from him and he turned. She walked to the centre, right up to him. He turned to face her then. For a minute, they seemed to detach from all around them. He mumbled a “thank you!” His eyes seemed to tear up at that moment. Abruptly, he walked off.
Standing there, she realised what had just happened.
He was, after all, just a 17 year old boy. Emotions didnt come easy.
She was, after all, just his social worker!