The school was situated outside a small town, nestled between the mountains. The campus was delightful with all kinds of flowers everywhere. Reeta fell in love with her new workplace at the very first sight. This was her first job and within few weeks Reeta became every student’s favorite because of her friendly style of teaching.
It was a beautiful morning, Reeta brought her coffee outside to enjoy the winter sun and the picturesque view of the campus. Her next class was in twenty minutes. Sipping her coffee, she picked a few of the assignments from her folder and started reading. She was about to finish when she noticed Priya walking slowly towards the classroom.
Priya has been one of the bubbliest girls in her classroom, always smiling and with a quirky sense of humor. But she doesn’t seem to be herself since few weeks, thought Reeta.
“Priya! Come, sit here with me,” Reeta called her.
“You look dull! everything fine?” she asked.
“Everything fine mam,” replied Priya, but her face was telling another story. She looked scared and sad.
“If you need any help in studies, you can come to me anytime,” Reeta tried to comfort her, but before she could finish, she noticed Priya’s eyes trying to hide the tears inside. She walked quickly towards the classroom leaving Reeta confused.
Is it because of some fight among friends, or she got poor grade in an assignment? Reeta pondered. But these possibilities were rare as Priya was a friendly girl doing quite well in studies.
Suddenly, Reeta thought the unthinkable and her whole body shivered. Her past flashed in front of her and for a moment she was again twelve-year-old, standing numb, unable to react. How she had wished to have courage to speak and tell the truth about the sexual harassment she had faced at that tender age. But all she did was to change her subject to avoid the situation.
It was not her fault, but she was ashamed to talk to anyone. As she looks back, her silence is the biggest regret in her life. She always wishes to somehow delete that incident from her life, but it haunts her every time.
The school bell announced next period and Reeta walked towards her classroom. Priya was sitting among her friends, smiling, and trying to behave normal, but Reeta reads the sadness in her eyes. She was unable to teach as she can’t stop thinking about Priya.
Sitting in her chair, Reeta pretended to check the assignments, but her thoughts were floating somewhere else. No! only wishing is not enough, it’s time to act, she told herself. Hope Priya will trust her to share the truth. She was determined to stand up for Priya and in a way for herself too.
Pulling herself together, Reeta walked towards Priya but her heart was still wishing, “please God! whatever I am thinking shouldn’t be true and Priya shouldn’t be facing any sexual abuse like me.”
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