Little Lioness

You could blame the years that’d piled on.
Or my thinning hair or an ageing man’s poor eyesight.
But I could spot an old student from a mile away.
She stood across the street- tall beautiful and proud.
Waiting for the speeding cars to stop.
They didn’t. Neither did my mind.

She used to sit at the farthest corner of my class.
The awkward pig-tailed child, all of ten.
You know the ones, who are alone in a crowd?
The ‘Fat Girl’ with the warmest heart.
The ‘Strange Kid’ with the biggest smile.

No one knew that She comforted
The Troubled Boy at recess.
Helped Stuttering Simone learn
The poem for Annual Day.
Walked home with the Quiet Girl,
Who forgot her way, everyday.

No one knew, no one cared.
I often found her crying, after-hours.
Butt of another mean joke, of another cruel prank.
For people were as people would be,

And my heart bled and bled.

More than a Decade later,
Her eyes gleamed with recognition as they met mine.
The graceful young lady smiled radiantly
At this old haggard man on the other side of the road.
The traffic lights changed and She was gone.
Lost in the sea of humanity.
And all I was left with, was the memory of a dimpled smile.

The duckling hadn’t changed into a Swan overnight,
The Little Lioness had learnt to roar.

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