He made a dash for the bathroom then swerved away and dove into the sofa, his face towards the pillow. He shut his eyes tight and opened his mouth, crying but not-crying in a way he had also learned through long practise. With his mouth open his throat tight, not breathing for nearly a minute, he could somehow get the satisfaction of crying, screaming even, without anybody knowing it. He pushed his nose, his open mouth, his teeth, against the red sofa pillow and though the other children’s voices went on in a lazily mocking tone, and their laughter went on, he imagined that it was getting fainter and more distant from him. He putting it all out of his mind.. all the name calling , nudging elbows and the secret whispers behind his back while he walked the school hallways with his shoes making the sounds of very large flips and flops…He put it all out of his mind.
He imagined, rigid in every muscle, that he was suffering the absolute worst that any human being could suffer. He imagined that he was dying. But he did not think of death as an escape only as a concentrated and painful instant. This was the climax of his not-crying.
Then he breathed again and thought of how lucky the other children were, to not have shoes that they needed to grow into!
(This picture was taken on one of my weekend trips to a village called Devkop , and they belonged to a very tiny boy whose shoes were twice as big as his feet,cute at first but later when i thought about it , it made me respect everything i have 🙂