The only thing out of normal in Spring High School’s loud and chirpy classroom was a boy sitting quietly on the very first bench of the middle row, looking earnestly in the notebook with a pen clenched between his teeth. Sean’s brain was plainly busy in solving a problem of differential equations. A group of girls were chatting next to him, fangirling in their piercing voices about some new male character in the soap. Few boys were throwing paper balls at each other in the background but Sean cared for no one and kept staring at his notebook.
“Hey, Sean.” Emma said. She was the monitor of the class.
“Can you help me with this physics numerical?” she asked.
“no, I am busy. Ask someone else.”
“What are you working at?”
“Let me see the problem, maybe I can help you.”
“I don’t need your help. I am capable to helping myself.”
Emma shrugged and walked away to the back benches.
Sean was unable to concentrate, so he closed his books and went to toilet. He washed his face with cold water a few times. A battle was going on in his brain.
“I am a loner. I have me and that’s all that matters. I am Ok.”
He started crying but just then the bell rang so he wept his face and started walking towards the class.
Throughout the English lecture he couldn’t concentrate. All he could think about was Brian.
Brian, his best buddy from school. Well he wasn’t very sure about the best buddy thing.
Brian and Sean used to sit together, eat together and play together. Via Brian, Sean made some other friends also. Sean used to talk to Brian all the time when in school. They used to talk about football, video games and science comics all the time. But Sean never talked about his life. He kind of built a wall by people that was impenetrable even by Brian.
When Sean was working on something and Brian approaches him, Sean mostly ignored him just like he ignored long talks on phone or messages with Brian or anybody else. Maybe Sean took Brian for granted.
Now Brian was gone. His dad had a transferable job, so they shifted to some other state. In the starting days of parting, Brian used to call Sean but Sean didn’t want to seem vulnerable so he generally made some excuse and cut the call within a few minutes.
Bell rang and English class was over. Sean wished if he could tell Brian what he meant to him. Accepting this was harder than solving any math problem for Sean.
Sean went home. Ate nothing. Went straight away to his room and shut the door. This time nothing could stop Sean to burst into tears, not even Sean. He wanted all this to be out of his system.
Next day, Sean went to the school. Emma was sitting on the second desk in the first row. He kept his bag on his fixed seat and approached Emma with a notebook and pen.
“Hey. Emma, I am stuck on that problem, will you help me please?” Beads of perspiration developed on Sean’s forehead.
“Sure.” Emma smiled through her hair.
Sean handed her the notebook.