“Hey! Hey! Stop”, he called.
I had already heard him call the other two times.
*Just go away. Not today*
In about a moment, he was walking with me. The last thing I want on any normal day, for that matter is Sid catching me in the recess. He started the conversation with, “Did you hear, I have skin cancer”.
Making no attempts at stifling my smirk, “Like you had Leukemia last month?”, I retorted. He went on about the severity of his new disease until after the recess got over.
It was another attention-seeking-ploy.
That is typical Sid. Probably it is innocence or nonchalance; he never seems to be fazed by sarcasm and ridicule.
Sid is my kid brother’s classmate. And yes for him too, hanging out with school seniors is cool. Out of empathy for his friendlessness. And out of pity for his hapless life, I couldn’t bring myself to tell him off. Maybe he would have taken it well, because that’s the grit he was made of. But what if he didn’t?
He came over to our house today, again. They had to be playing football and then he would be staying back until it was dark. But today, nobody turned up, so Sid and my brother included themselves in my movie evening. I got up to treat myself, and myself alone, with popcorn. Sid’s habits never failed him. He followed me here as well. When the popcorn was done, he conveniently snatched them from me and made his way out.
After a brief quarrel, I was sweeping the popcorn off the floor. There went my solo movie evening.
Tomorrow, he would come again. I would have to sit with my homework for hours while he would assiduously chatter away to my mother. And then again and everyday.
*Can I do something about it and still be a do-gooder? No.*
After 10 months and after changing two apartments, in a new city, I was reading a text on the phone. It was from a friend from the old city.
“Sid is dead. It was an accident. The other kid with him is injured but fine. It was in the newspaper”.
Death does a lot of good for ordinary or even unscrupulous people. Everybody who knows them, has all the good things to say about them, after they die.
I was like everybody else.
*He was my friend*
*He was way better than any other 15-year old I know*
*He was the only family of his mother*
In 2010, at the age of 15, Sid was just a son to his single mother, grandson to his grandparents, the forgotten classmate at school, and a friend to a few.
His death was in the local newspaper, hidden between pages of car ads, insurance policies and trashy politics. Who wouldn’t have overlooked the news about a Nobody dying? I know I wouldn’t.