Tshering looked at his watch and counted the seconds till it was 12:30pm. Three, two, one and the bell rang and his face lit up like a kid’s when he gets his favorite toy. Yes, it is lunch time thought Tshering, his favorite time of the day in school. He hated studies as much as a child hates eating vegetables. Tshering went out of his class and waited for his friend Karma and Dema as they were in other sections. He looked at the direction from where his friends were coming and thought how they looked like Romeo and Juliet together. His friend Karma has been dating Dema for about two years now which he believed to be a spectacular thing.
“Hey, come up here. I have kept some space for both of you,” said Tshering.
“Thanks,” said Dema with a frown.
“What’s the matter? You look as if you have been beaten by someone. Is it Karma? ” asked Tshering jokingly.
“Hey it’s not me. It’s the biology madam”, replied Karma.
“What? What did madam Chimmi say?” questioned Tshering.
“It’s just that she asked us to submit our project by 4pm and today I did not bring my project too. I do not know what I am going to do now,” answered Dema with a wink at Karma.
While Tshering was registering what Dema just said, he missed the wink and the mischievous smile that passed between Dema and Karma. Tshering was getting gitters of all types as he also forgot to bring his project. He stood up and began to stroll up and down the steps thinking of what to tell his teacher. Behind his back Karma and Dema were smiling at each other as their plan to trick Tshering seemed to be working.
Tshering’s face which was white as snow became red as a rose with his hand nervously trembling. When the bell rang, indicating the start of the next class, he started to tremble. Karma nudged him to go to class as he simply stood there as a statue. His friends left when their teacher came. Tshering was so lost in his thoughts that he did not realize when his dzongkha lopen stood by him. Only when the lopen tapped his shoulder did he realize who was there.
After hesitantly greeting the lopen he went to his class and waited for his fate to reveal itself. As time passed he came nearer to Madam Chimmi’s class which was the last period. When the bell rang for the last period his heart did a summersault. He was so nervous that his desk partner asked him if he was sick. To that he just answered that he had a headache. All of his friends rose to greet the madam and then sat down while he was rooted to his chair. The teacher began to see who all were present and the absentees were registered in the log book.
He was so afraid to look at his teacher fearing she may ask for the work as she looked like a monster looking hungrily for food. He was unable to concentrate on what she was teaching as his thought moved time and again to the project. He was looking at the watch to see how minutes were left for the period to finish so that he can be out of this misery. When it was 3:45, the teacher as she began to leave, she stopped midway and said
“I have forgotten something to tell you. It’s regarding your project.”
At the mere mention of the project, Tshering felt like his breathe left him and felt numbness alongside his body. He saw a person who was seeking revenge for not listening to him as Macbeth. As his teacher continued to talk, his body part started to melt away and forgot what was happening there. His desk partner asked him if he was going home or not. Unable to understand what was happening, he looked around and saw an empty class.
“Where is everyone?” asked Tshering.
“They went home and so did madam,” replied Pema.
“But what about the project?” asked Tshering.
“Did not you hear? She asked us to submit the project tomorrow, same as the other class,” replied Pema.
“Really?” asked Tshering.
“Were you dreaming all this time? Anyway got to go, bye,” shouted Pema.
After saying bye to Pema, he took his bag and went out. As the breeze blew on his face he felt free like Airel. When he turned he saw his friends laughing hysterically at him. He was angry with them as they played with his feelings so he went the other way but he was caught by Karma. They told about the prank they played and were really sorry for it. They apologised and promised never to do again. Later Tshering talked about how frightened he was and felt like he would have heart attack. As they moved towards their home they laughed about the incident, especially Tshering for being a coward.