The Handshake of Eternity

She was the naughtiest girl in class, I was the studious boy,
Teachers loved me , for I agreed with them,
And hated her for her differences.
She was spunky, gutsy, fun,
How she loved like wind to run,
They bind her down , chained her heart,
I loved her more when she never cried.

She did not know, I was afraid to tell, 
So I told my mom instead!
She laughed like thunder, and said,”my dear pet!,
You are eight, you don’t know love or hate.”
I didn’t say more, but a part of me wondered
If love was not the way my heart fluttered,
When she threw her head;
back in mirthful laughter.
Finally came a rainy day, the sun was gone and the sky was grey,
My parents said “don’t go to school, none of your friends will come today.”
I had to go ,she would splash in rain, so I told them to let me
And of course, like they always did, this time too they obeyed.
Few had come, and in our class just the two
So they put us in another class,and made us sit together!
My heart beat fast the entire day,I longed to ask her to play
But I also feared how she would react, and to be honest was very scared.
So we just sat there, in silent space ,
Not looking at each others face.
At the end of the day she turned to me
I thought my heart jumped with glee.
But she looked hurt and angry and sad,
And she told me, I was a horrible lad.
She had thought better until today, but if I thought she was not good enough to talk to,
I could go rot in hell.
I was stunned as she stormed away, and cried in my pillow and didn’t play.
Days went by, I was miserable still,
And then came the day of Shromona Seal.
It seemed that someone stole her tiffin 
Blame fell on her for she was the naughtiest girl.
Yet there were guys naughtier than her,
Peon, Sankar , Stokes and Ginger.
But teachers looked at them with a fatherly eye,
Boys are allowed to be naughty,
But a naughty girl was someone else, someone filthy and unholy.
So they hurt her and humiliated her,
She stood her ground and held back tears,
Until in frustration the teacher said
“you are a liar, a coward and a sneak.
Everyone knows it and they agree,
The whole class knows you for what you are,
And there’s no use pretending.
Let me show you this.”
And then he called out 
“Does anyone think that she didn’t steal?”
Not a hand went up, and finally she burst into tears with powerful zeal.
Mr Rachnamakoff looked very pleased,like a committer of some fearsome deed.
I knew she could not would not steal, hers was a heart of dignity
Something within my heart then broke, inside I found courage and spoke!
“sir, I disagree,”
The teacher looked like slapped in the face,
I was after all his favorite student,
And never before had I so spoken.
Stand, be brave, be bold, a voice whispered,
The voice of truth and a voice of power.
So I stood.
The bell then rang and class was over,
She approached me and her thoughts were clear,
I pretended not to see her tear,for that she was grateful I could hear.
She held her hand out to me , and we did
The handshake of eternity.

We are grownups now, whatever that means,
But in the all these years and the years to come we never forgot the handshake of eternity.

~Sahil Lakhmani

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