A human, A leaf, A yellow carton and A plastic straw and The First Footstep of A Bus…

She looked out the window at the squirrel running from branch to branch with an urgency which she was only too familiar with in her own life. “Was the squirrel also in a mess like her?”, she wondered. As she watched, the squirrel rushed to the tip of a leaf where a huge drop of water was waiting ready to drop and gulped it down in one quick motion. Suddenly she realized that her throat was also parched. Sighing deeply, she walked to the dining room to get herself a drink. Someone had stocked the fridge with some fresh juices from the juice shop round the corner and she reached for one which said Lime Mint Cooler. As her hands reached for the dark blue plastic straw from a nearly empty pack of brightly colored straws she recalled the day she had bought them. It was an ordinary day a week ago and she was walking her dog in the park as was her routine. Most people from the neighborhood frequented this park as it was pretty big and well maintained so she was familiar with most of them but she noticed him not just because he was a stranger but also because he was sitting on one of the isolated park benches with an odd looking yellow carton next to him which he was holding with one hand in a strangely protective manner. She remembered the often repeated messages made by the city police department about precautions and safety and how people needed to report mysterious people and objects and then quickly decided she was being paranoid. As she turned away from the odd man, she noticed the small boy who sold balloons and small knick knacks around the corner and felt like seeing what he had that she could use. He greeted her with his usual sweet shy smile and she asked him if he had anything for her. He scratched his head in his childish way and then pulled out this pack of brightly colored plastic straws and offered it to her. Though she normally did not buy plastic straws she did not have the heart to refuse him and so ended up buying the straws. Funnily enough, the entire week had been busy with many guests at home and she had found the straws very useful. Now she remembered the boy and smiled. Sipping on the juice, she walked back to the window and looked at the early morning rush on the street below. She loved looking at the morning rush from the comfort of her cosy apartment. The usual view included harried parents holding on to energetic kids and navigating the busy street, street vendors setting up their stalls and catching up on the latest gossip from their neighbors, the usual crowd of school kids and office goers at the bus stop waiting impatiently for their bus. Though it was another normal day, somehow today seemed different. She was not sure why but she felt as though she was at the threshold of something. Her instincts had always guided her in her complicated life but she was not able to put her finger on what was bothering her today. Then she saw it. Turning round the corner was the bright red school bus filled with a noisy bunch of kids of all ages and her eyes fell on one small boy who had a blissful expression on his small chubby face and realized that he was standing unnoticed on the first footstep of the bus. As she watched in frozen disbelief, the boy leaned out…


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