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He stood by the water feature in the mall, eyeing the various people that passed him by. Sizing them up he rejected them one by one, either because of their appearance which did not appeal to him, or, that they went past him as if he did not exist.

The boy was young, it was hard to judge his age he could have been anywhere between eight and eleven. He was black-haired with a light brown complexion; his eyes were big and dark brown verging on black. Like most young boys the eyelashes were long and curled, with thin black eyebrows above them. His nose was small and slightly up turned, and lips that were full and red looked like they’d been coloured by sucking a strawberry Popsicle. Being summer he was dressed in a baggy T-shirt sporting a Nike motif on the left breast. His combat shorts reached below his knees, and his tanned hairless legs flowed into a pair of white socks and trainers. The boy was about 4ft. 6inches in height, slim and stood with a look of despair on his face. He’d been standing in the same spot for nearly twenty minutes as he sized up the adults that went past. Then the look on his face changed. From a look of despair and frustration, his eyes suddenly brightened and became more alert. He moved his position more into the centre of the walkway, knowing the person that he had seen would have to pass close to him as he went by.

The man noticed the child standing in the walkway ahead of him and as he approached he made eye contact with the boy and smiled. He looked down at the child when he was alongside him.

The boy’s mouth opened and tried to speak. His mouth moved but only a croak came out.

Stopping the man looked down at the boy and asked? “What was that?”

The boy’s mouth moved again, and again the same croak came forth

The man reached down placed his hands under the boy’s armpits and lifted him. When he had the boy at eye level he placed an arm around the boy’s upper thighs and supported him in his arms.

“Okay, you don’t have to be frightened what was it you wanted to say?”

“Will you take me home with you.”

“Will I, did I hear you right? Say that again.”

The boy repeated his request for the man to take him home.

“That’s what I thought you said.”

“Yes, if you don’t mind.”

“Hold it, not so fast.” The man said setting the boy down on his feet. “We need to discuss this a bit more. Would you like to talk this over a cup of coffee or milkshake.”

“Okay, there’s a McDonalds just down the ways we could go there.

“Well lead on my fine friend and I’ll follow.”

The boy took the man’s hand and said. “You don’t have to follow you can walk alongside me.”

“Umm, that was just a figure of speech.”

“Oh okay whatever, come on,” as he dragged the man towards the fast food outlet.

When they arrived after enquiring what the boy wanted he went to the counter and placed the order and stood waiting till it was ready. He picked up the food and drinks and made his way over to the table that the boy was seated at.

“One quarter pounder and a chocolate milkshake right,” he said, setting it in front of the boy.

“Yeah thanks a lot,” and the boy didn’t stand on ceremony as he started attacking the food.

The man sat down and watched the boy as he ate not saying a word content to wait till the boy was finished. At the same time his mind was in overdrive thinking what was he supposed to say.

With cheeks bulging with food the boy said, “So what do you want to discuss?”

“What are you doing away from home and why aren’t you in school instead of in the Mall?”

Swallowing a mouthful of food the boy replied, “I was running away from home.”

“Oh I see, and what’s the reason for your running away?”

The boy took another bite of his burgher and with bulging cheeks and with his head bowed he mumbled, “My dad doesn’t love me.”

“And what makes you think that?”

Again the boy swallowed before answering, “Well he’s always too busy to come and attend any parent days at school, or watch me play in the school soccer matches,” and paused to take a sip of his drink before continuing. “Sometimes he doesn’t come home until I’ve gone to bed. Yesterday was the final of the Inter School Cup competition and I scored, and our team won 3-0 and he didn’t come to watch me play. Everybody else’s dad was there, but only my mum came but she doesn’t understand football like dad.”

“What job does your Father do?”

“He’s a doctor.”

“So don’t you think that’s why he couldn’t come to see you all those times because he was busy?”

Taking another sip of his drink the boy replied, “There are other doctors they could do the work if he came to see me at the school couldn’t they.”

“Yes, I suppose so if they were just normal everyday cases, but if they weren’t then he would have to stay at the hospital.”

“That’s what he always says.”

“Would you like to come with me now that you’ve nearly finished your burgher and milkshake before I take you home?” The man said, “I’d like to show you something.”

Taking a last mouthful of chocolate milkshake and swallowing , “Okay,” the boy said, getting to his feet.

“Before we go do you mind if I make a phone call first.”


The man went to one side and took out his mobile phone, dialled and made his call, he spoke for a few minutes then put the phone away and returned to the boy’s side.

“Taking the boys hand he said, “Right, let’s go.”

They walked in silence to the man’s car they got in and the man drove off, while driving he turned and asked the boy?

“You didn’t take a lot with you if you’re running away.”

“I didn’t want to be tied down with anything heavy,” the boy said looking at the man, “I took all my money that’s all I need.”

“How much have you got?”

“Forty pounds.”

“That’s doesn’t seem to be very much money.”

“It’s a lot of money,” the boy said with a tone of indignation in his voice, “It’s all my savings. I bet I can go really far away with it.”

“Well how far do you want to go?

“I dunno, maybe a zillion miles away.”

“That is far, but have you got your passport with you?”

“Shhhhhugar!” The boy exclaimed looking at the man, “I didn’t think of that. Maybe I can get a forged passport”

“That will cost you money.”

“Well how much do they want for a forged passport 5 pounds?”

“Umm I’m not too sure, but I think it might be quite a bit more than that.”

“Well I’m not going to pay any more, they’ll have to take what I give them.”

“Okay we’ll talk about that later we’re coming to where I wanted to take you.”

The man parked the car. When they got out he took the boy’s hand and led him into the building. They walked down endless corridors with people acknowledging the man and giving the boy a questioning glance, till they entered through some doors. He led the boy inside the room and then to the side of a bed then turning to the boy he said,

“This is Jonathan he was knocked down by a car yesterday and he’s still unconscious. We hope he’ll be okay we don’t know yet, we’ll only know when he opens his eyes and he starts to talk,” then indicating to the people by the bedside “This gentleman and woman are Jonathan’s parents.”

“Hello Doctor is everything alright any reason for you to come back.”

“Yes everything’s fine I just wanted Javed here," indicating towards the boy. "To know why I was unable to attend a football match yesterday.”

“Is he your son doctor?” The woman asked.


Turning to the boy, “Javed,” the woman said, “Your dad was in the hospital for nearly twelve hours yesterday helping Jonathan if it wasn’t for him Jonathan may not be alive now. You must be really proud of your dad for all the people he helps.”

“Yes I am very proud of him,” the boy said shyly, “But I didn’t know how important he was, and how much people depended on him.”

The man addressed the parents saying, “I’ll be back tomorrow to see Jonathan, bye for now Mr & Mrs Wright.”

“Bye Doctor, bye Javed,” they responded.

The man and boy left the ward walking hand in hand.

“Sorry Dad.”

“What’s to be sorry about?”

“Running away.”

“Well we knew you hadn’t gone very far, when you left a note for your mother telling her where you had gone.”

“Well yeah, I didn’t want her to worry. You know how she is.”

“That was very thoughtful of you Javed.”


“Yes Javed.”

“If you have heaps of operations then it’s okay for you not to come to the school plays, or football matches.”

The man stopped lifted the boy into his arms and brought their lips together in a gentle kiss then lowering the boy to the ground said,

“Thanks son, come on let’s go, your mum is waiting anxiously to see you.”

With feelings of well being Father and son walking hand in hand made their way home.

The End.

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