By Ashraf Naushahi

He was almost ten-years old, but had a smaller frame. He seemed younger to a boy of his age. However, he was a well behaved. His goodness was apparent from his standing there patiently, instead of running towards the swing as other children in the park. The boy swinging at the moment was tall, big and strong. He was not as well behaving as small boy was. It was apparent from his running impatiently towards the swing. 

It was a small public park though well maintained having green grass, trees, plants and flowers all around. For the people who liked walking there was a walking track. Similarly, there were several benches to sit. Also, in a part of the park, there was a playground for children and young people. Two swings were there in the playground with some other arrangements and facilities for children.

It was Sunday and an off-work day as usual, so there were more visitors than usually visited the park. Young people and children were a few, and mostly those who visited that Sunday were with their elders. A little girl who had come with her father was sitting on the seat of a swing. Big boy saw the other swing empty and ran towards it. As he reached near the swing he jumped awkwardly to sit on its seat. The swing swung in the air and he started to laugh loudly while swinging.    

Small boy smiled mildly as he looked at the awkwardness of the big boy. Both were not with their elders and they were not friends either. Once again small boy looked at big boy for a few moments who was sitting swinging and laughing awkwardly. Then he smiled again and walked towards the gate to go out of the park. Big boy saw small boy walking towards the gate, and jumped off the swing abruptly. He was running fast towards him who was walking as quick as he could and was getting nearer the outgoing gate.

"Hey, stop, come here", running big boy was saying to small boy in a loud voice, "Don't go, come, swing with me. We shall swing together. I am very happy today". In a few moments both boys were back to the swing and now small boy was swinging while big boy was laughing and talking loudly nonstop to him. 

And what was big boy saying to small boy? He was saying, "I am happy today. It is my birthday. Today I am thirteen-years-old. Do you know it is the first day I am allowed to come here? You don't know how happy I am. Today is like a day of freedom to me. Sorry, I forgot but now remembered what my parents told me before allowing me to come in the park. They told me that freedom and independence was in taking care of others as well as taking care of ourselves. Excuse me I forgot that I should take care of you. Today I am free to go anyplace I wish to go, and so are you. Now I could come to park every Sunday and swing. Oh! I am very happy".

Small boy was swinging and did not listen much of what big boy was telling him. It was the first time for him to have a swing. He too was happy. In his happiness of swinging he smiled mildly and jumped off the swing, saying "Now I have to go". 

"Why don't you swing a little more?" big boy asked.  

"No, I have to go," small boy walked quickly to the gate, it is my study time. I cannot swing any more."

Big boy waved his hand and said, "We are friends now. Please remember to come here next Sunday again and we shall swing together'. 

"Why not"..       

 Published in Young Nation Magazine on August 12, 2017