She was a poised little lady for a twelve year old, living in an uptown neighborhood. Over the years she had grown to become more and more aloof from the most immediate of her family members. She kept company to herself and was generally found in her room, a pencil and notebook in hand, sketching the landscape as it looked from her window.
Hers was a stately residence in the outskirts of the city, for her father preferred the long journey from his office to staying deep in jarring cacophony of the mainland. There was a beautiful garden in front of the house. The garden was well maintained, with beautiful flowers blossoming in the variedly shaped flower beds. The grass was a refreshing shade of green. The families living in the area never hesitated in loosening their purse strings for the highest of maintenance of that garden.
There was a pair of swings in one corner of the garden. The girl would go to the garden every evening and spend some time on one of the swings, humming random tunes every now and then. While the garden had its share of visitors, they were either too old or too young for our little girl of twelve.
And then one day came another girl of her age and sat on the swing next to her. She smiled genially and said her name was Sara. They would swing each other in turns. Over time, the two girls became good pals. Sara was chatty, while our little girl was not a forthcoming talker. The setup seemed to suit both of them nicely, for the one who did not like to talk could keep quiet and the one who did not like to keep quiet could speak uninterrupted.
Since our little girl was fond of sketching and painting, when the flowers bloomed to their prime in the garden, her tiny corner with the swing seemed a little too stuffy and she moved closer to the flower beds to capture the grinning faces of roses and sunflowers and lilies and dahlias. Sara came looking after her dear friend and found her sitting on the grass, head bent on the sheet in her lap and color pallets and brushes around her. She bent forward inquiring about this hitherto unknown side of her friend. Talkative as she was, she tried to engage our young painter’s attention to her speech. But not finding the reception she was so used to, she went quietly to the swing by herself.
Few weeks went by, with Sara sitting on the swing by herself and our little girl spending time in a world of colors. Once she had captured the flowers in all their shades, the little girl went back to the swing. Sara, sitting dully on her side of the swing did not notice her friend’s return. The little girl walked behind Sara and gave her swing a gentle thrust. Sara looked back startled and got off the swing. She looked at the girl and smiled uncertainly, greeting her more formally than she had before. Our little girl was surprised, but not being the candid kinds, she followed Sara’s lead and replied with equal formality. Small talk ensued, with uncomfortable bouts of silence. Sara being the outspoken one could not keep it anymore and asked her friend why she had left her alone.
The little girl having been conditioned in aloofness was taken by surprise at the allegation. She explained to Sara in the best way she could that she never realized Sara expected her at the swing every day. She showed her the paintings she had made of the flowers. The high spirited girl that Sara was, took one look at the beautiful paintings and forgot all about her woes of the past. She asked excited, if the little girl would paint her near the flower beds. The little girl was pleased and said she would love to, only if Sara agreed to keep quiet all that while.
They laughed gaily and played till late evening that day. The little girl laughed and talked about herself. The setup was disturbed a bit, for the one who did not talk much talked more than usual and the one who did not like to keep quiet talked even more, but no one really minded the disruption.