The dismissal bell rang and Susan packed her books into her bag. She walked out of the classroom with her friend to the waiting area. Her friend got picked up and she was left alone.
David stood some distance away watching her. He had been watching her for days now.
Susan didn’t see him as she walking along the beautiful footpath leading to the shady area in the school vicinity where people relaxed. She planned to sit there for a while to check something in her book before coming back to the main entrance where Mr. Collins usually picked her up. She knew he would delay as usual.
As she sat on the mesh bench the end of the path under a canopy tree, someone called.
“Jane!” Susan raised her face to look in the direction the voice was coming.
“Jane?” He called again.
Susan looked at the boy hastening to her. She looked around and then back at him questioning.
“Do I know you?”
“Jane! Oh it’s you! Thank God.” he said wearing a wild touching smile, genuinely excited.
“Sorry but I’m not Jane!” Susan said. He went limp abruptly but started smiling again with excitement again.
“It’s me. It’s David. Your brother. Remember?
No? Susan said and shook her head vigorously.
You were five years old and I was eight when I last saw you. The past five years had been hell without you. I thought you were dead. Oh, thank God, you’re alive.” He continued as if he didn’t hear her.”
“Stop it! I’m not Jane!!” Susan shouted “And I’ve not seen you before! I don’t have any brother. I’m the only child of my parents.” She said as she got up to go. Some passers-by stopped looked at them briefly but continued on their way.
“Please don’t shout. People will think I’m harassing you. Listen to me first, please. Susan looked on bewildered. He’s not listening to her.
“You’re my sister. I can prove it to you.”
She stopped and softened. She had always wanted a big brother or sister. Someone to talk with and play with at home.
“Look at your birthmark right there under your nose.” Susan backed away and touched her birthmark.
“Our parents died in a car accident, when you were a baby, I was four.”
“Please I’m not the one. I have to go now.”
“Please wait. Hear me out. Two years after our parent’s death, our uncle died too. After two years, his wife sent us to different homes. First you, then me.
Susan shook her head in disbelief. She thought that was a better fairytale than the one she wanted to read.
“I remember that day vividly. It was your fourth birthday, 9th October, I woke up to cheer you up and you were gone.” Susan looked on as he continued to tell his story not knowing what else to say.
“I’m really sorry but I’m not your sister. You got the wrong girl! I hope you find her soon.” Susan carried her bag and began to go.
“How old are you?”
“Oh! Jane should be ten. I’m not really sure but….” Susan began to walk away.
” Don’t go, please. Stay with me for a while.”
“It’s almost late, my driver should be worried by now. He doesn’t know I’m here.”
David fumbled in his backpack and extended a picture.
“This is Jane and I five years ago. I took it from the photo album the week you disappeared. This is Jane. Just like you. Look at the eyes, the hair, the birthmark, everything is like your.”
“It’s not me. Sorry. Have to go now.All the best.” She said handing him the picture. David told her to keep it.
“I cant,” she dropped the picture on the bench and walked. David stood there looking at her as she walked away.
“I’m sorry” she shouted and hastened away.
David went limp again. He was a bit confused. She was not supposed to recognise him. She was five and too tender.
He ran after her. But she was standing with a man. He was talking to her and he looked annoyed. He showed her his wristwatch and she looked remorseful. After talking to her, he opened the rear door for her, she looked briefly at David standing a little distance away. The man looked at him briefly before taking the driver’s seat. He didn’t look like her father. He could be her driver. He could be the driver.
David watched them as they drove away. David in his smartness was able to copy the plate number. He walked away to the bus station with plans to see her the next day.