I reached the school unusually early. It was the first day after the holidays and I was eager to see Aarthi. I stared at the empty desk where she usually sits. It was as dusty as the other ones. Thought for a second, took the blackboard duster and wiped her place spotless. I sat at my desk and waited excitedly for her arrival.
My friend Prabha came next and started distracting me with his usual antics. The classroom began to fill briskly and the bell rang promptly.
Balu Sir started the attendance. ‘Aarthi….’. ‘Absent Sir’, someone yelled. I was still gazing at the empty desk with some hope. Could faintly hear Balu Sir calling my name once, twice, thrice…. In a flash of a second, the duster landed on my desk with a bang. It fiercely effused out all the dust gathered from Aarthi’s desk on my perplexed face.