Loneliness A lonely breeze blew across the school compound, dispelling the scorching afternoon heat that filled the air. For a moment, dead leaves, dust and a plastic bag all rose together In a aerial waltz- the collapsed to the ground unceremoniously. Then, It was still and everything seemed lifeless. I still waited, my eyes fixed on a secluded spot lust outside the school building. It was sheltered by a wall and shielded on three sides by walls, the surrounding of It was laid with gravel so It was Impossible to sneak up on. Nothing stirred In the stillness of the afternoon. Till now…… Crunch. I could hear the sound of the twig breaking and the sound of people stepping on the gravel. Peering out, I could see a group of 4 students sauntering briskly towards the spot. One of them, looked around to check If anyone has noticed them, seemed familiar to me. They turned into a corner and we’re hidden from view to all except me. Then, there was a flash of flint, it came again. Several thin grey wisps floated from where they stood- my suspicions were confirmed. They were smoking. The class was having their lunch when I have found them.

Placing a hand on Tom’s shoulder, I whispered,” I need to tell u something”. Without questioning, he got up and followed me out of the canteen. Tom was my best friend and a trustworthy person. I told him about what I had seen during recess, about the boys smoking and the most critical part was that Tim was with them. Tom was stunned, wide eyed. I probably knew how he was feeling. Tim was just an normal average quiet guy in class. He was likable, but did not have many friends. However, a change has seemed to have come over him over the past month.

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He became more outspoken and rude. People started shunning him but that only caused him to be more unbearable. He started disrespecting teachers and cutting class. We all suspected that he Joined a gang, but no one had any true evidence- till now. Tom broke the silence. “We have to tell the teachers, they will know how to handle this” I said,”but what about Tim? He will also be expelled if they found out,” We turned and started at each other. Despite how difficult it would be, we knew we had to get Tim to change, or he will have to face the consequences for his sections.

After a few minutes of searching, we found Tim squatting at a stairwell. The smell of the pungent cigarettes clung onto him like a disease. Without acknowledging us, Tim started ahead blankly. We told Tim that we knew that he was smoking. He just glanced at us. Tom you are not going to stop, we will tell the teachers and you will be expelled,” Suddenly, Tim rushed Tom and pinned him to the wall. Grabbing his collar, Tim snarled,” You want to expel me? Go ahead! ” I sensed that the tension was escalating so I had to do something quick. I placed a hand on Time’s holder. No! We came here to tell you to stop because we are your friends. We don’t want to see you being expelled! ” Tall retorted back,” Friends? You guys are not even my friends. I never had friends In class. The people who I hang out with something about the way he said pierced through my heart. The three of us stood there until the bell rang. We apologized to Tim about not being there for him when he needed help. Tim breathed in deeply then released Tom and then walked away. Immediately, we told the teachers. The ensuing action was swift.

Three days later, the boys were called up on stage. The discipline master walked up to the podium and announced that they were caught smoking within the school compound in a somber tone. Tim and I looked at each other. We heaved a sigh of relief when we did not find Tim there. But we were puzzled, thinking where was he. A few days later, Tim came back to class. He had been unwell that day before. We talked awhile to ask him if he was feeling better. He was happy and thankful that we gave him a second chance. I was glad that he forgave us and we could start over anew.