Amazing Kids! Magazine

The Unsaid Lesson

By Muskan Vedi, age 13, India


I opened the book, and out slipped a photograph: blue eyes, red lips, sleek brown hair along with a fair complexion—a natural tony, but a nerd.

Her name was Merlin but was renowned as Marshy, considering how often she contrived herself into mortifying situations. She was the new California girl who had moved into town quite recently. Little Missy always had her nose buried into a book or the other, reached classes preliminary, and hung about in the history section of the library all break. A socially inept person as she was, she was engulfed by her own studious world. “Geek” was euphemism for heaps of harsh profanity.

It wasn’t long before her peculiar attitude found grounds in the daily gossip. It started arousing mocking rumors. Her quietness and wooly left her lonesome. Even so, least perturbed by the isolation, she lodged her own way.

Transpiring of a couple of months got all the trivial gossip to wane. Our heed drifted off to the imminent excursion to the woods. Surfacing energy was decisively manifest. The entire grade started to get divided into groups. Each squad had to arrange for its own food, sleeping bags, tents, and all that was obligatory. I, along with my four cronies, formed a team and named it “Tigers.”  Zephyrs carried about colossal euphoria.

The dispositions and arrangements were made briskly, and we were set to go. The buses were loaded with wayward and adrenalized kids, all chattering with elation.

After a tedious, six-hour journey, we halted in the middle of nowhere. Burly and lofty trees besieged us, the verdure so thick that not more than an occasional ray of dappled sunlight was able to penetrate through. Slight chirping could be heard now and then. Dried leaves cracked under our feet as we hopped off the bus and into the open. We all stood there mesmerized by the enchanting scene. Never in our lives had we been so close to nature.

My avidity to explore, grabbing hold of my mind, got me treading ahead when I would have preferred relishing the view. Hiking, trekking, camping…

I could decisively spot some sort of a steppe farther down the aisle. More or less jogging than walking, I surged on boisterously with my friends not far behind. The weather was betraying us by minute. It wasn’t even noon, and you could decipher sweat trickling down your face, not to mention the exhaustion caused by the immense load on our backs.

“The sun’s blazing radiations are detrimental to one’s health. In my opinion, we should take a break somewhere charismatic and airy instead of embarking upon such a traipse,” stated a familiar voice.


A retort flew out before I could stop it: “Well, then, if you are so jaded, why don’t you go and guard our bus for these couple of days? I am certain the driver wouldn’t mind being superseded, nor would any of your comrades mind your absence.”

I heard people within earshot chuckling while Miss Babble crimsoned coquelicot. Smirking profusely, I gave her a cold shoulder as my friends caught up patting my back and laughing hysterically.

It wasn’t long before we clinched our tents in the pasture. A prodigious bonfire was kindled about the canter of our camp. All gathered about as Mr. Parker, our music teacher, began playing his guitar.

The sound was soothing, and we relaxed while gazing at the little birds setting up their nests. There were thousands of them: some big, some small, some noisy, some tranquil. Infinite wasn’t even a word to describe the scene. It was way beyond.

In the midst of all the ecstasy surged my emergency to use the washroom.

“Mr. Parker?”

He quickly played his last G-note and turned to face me. Then, before I could utter a word, he began, “No, you may not sleep outside. No, you may not switch tents. Now, if there is anything else, please don’t hesitate to speak up.”

Unbelievable! I hadn’t even begun, and he told me all that I couldn’t do.

“I just needed to use the washroom.”

“Well, there are your shoes,” he replied, pointing behind me.

Yeah, sure! As if I was oblivious of their location! Anyway.

I briskly scuttled past the crowd and to the path that would lead to the main tent. Black clouds were building up above my head. The wind speed was pitching higher. Frogs and crickets were making weird, eerie sounds. I’d have to hurry.

Zooming past the luscious trees, I headed for the sturdy-looking structure. The steps were huge and creaked as I climbed up. Pushing the front door, I walked in.

“Hello! I needed to use the washroom.” I moved further in, hoping to see the trip organizer. “Miss Ardella? Are you there?”

The control I had over my excretory system was about to sunder, and so, without anyone’s consent, I rushed to the toilet. After having done with it, I slowly pushed open the door, preparing to get scolded. But then again, the hall was vacant. Where was everyone? This place was meant to be vivid and lively. A place people could go to when in need of assistance. But all I could see was emptiness. Either way around, no one saw me, and I wasn’t about to get in trouble. So, without a second thought, I marched out of the hall, smug for my own little accomplishment.

What had begun as whispering in the air had now turned into loud, virulent howls. The wind speed had escalated by about a hundred times since I had gone inside. Dark, black clouds had gathered in huge number above, changing the sky’s cocktail-blue color into a shade of gravel-gray. A slight, cold drizzle kicked off the moment I stepped outside. My instinct beseeched me to turn around and go back in, but for some reason, I couldn’t get myself to do so. It was an isolated wigwam, gloomy and creepy. I’d prefer facing the scowl of the skies than go back inside and wait.

Picking up my stride, I barged on ahead confidently. I’d get drenched; yes, but at least that’s better than staying alone in some forsaken place. Every step forward bought about a newer vigor in the already turbulent weather. It began pouring cats and dogs the instant I was about 50 meters away from the shack-like building. I had taken too long. The storm was at its most lethal peak. The walk which had taken me five minutes before would now take me an hour. I wouldn’t be able to get to the tents quickly enough.

I kept moving ahead reluctantly because I had no other choice. The winds were aiming at my profusely shivering body, and the rain had literally seeped through the thickest of my attire. However, a different fear was now haunting my mind. Which way should I go?

The night was somber, foggy, and cold. The rain had made the soil wet and mucky and was still making it filthier. It was all I could do to keep one foot ahead of the other and walk, hoping that I wouldn’t step in a quicksand and would reach the camp soon. Little did I know that with every step that I was taking, I was moving deeper into the jungle.

After what seemed like eternity, I still hadn’t arrived at the base camp. I knew it for sure that I was lost. If only I had someone to give me company or, even better, tell me where to go. Tired and repenting, I simply sat down beside a huge tree, waiting for help to arrive, though I was familiar with the terms that it might not come till morn. Salty tears rolled down my cheeks leaving behind dark trails. I was forlorn and miserable, and there was no one to console me and tell me that everything would turn out to be okay. Gradually, my sobbing subsided, and I fell into a light, restless sleep.

I was staggered back to consciousness after sleeping sound for quite some time by a faint noise. “Kate! Kate, where are you?”

At first, I thought it was one of my friends and jerked up abruptly, but then a weird thought came up my mind. My friends would be asleep at this hour, and even if they weren’t, why would they step out of their tent in this rain? I started to sit back down when I heard the call again, a bit closer this time. “Kate! Are you there?”

No, it definitely wasn’t a dream! Someone really was calling me.

“I’m here!” I yelled at the top of my lungs. Luckily, whomsoever it was heard and started to come towards me. I began relaxing a bit as the trampling sounded nearer. Finally, after a lengthy five minutes, I saw a girl walking my way. My sensations clenched and heartbeats increased as she got closer; it was Marshy!

My rage, ego and self-conceitedness busted the very second. Tears sneaked out of my eyes and tumbled down, surging over every pucker and crease. With gratitude in my heart and my heart swollen in glee, I hugged her tightly, with pure thankfulness inscribed over my visage. She, out of everyone in the world, came for me!

Without the need for much explanation, she, too, returned my hug enthusiastically and patted my back. “Everything is fine. Calm down, girl!” she asserted.

With a dainty, polite bob of my head, I grabbed her hand tightly. I felt like a little kid under her knowing gaze. She knew exactly where to go and moved ahead, confident. I felt remorseful, remorseful for my attitude towards her. She wasn’t bad. In fact, she turned out to be a rescuer. I could have died if she hadn’t come up to save me!

We reached the camp after about an hour’s hike. The raining had stopped by then, and so everyone was outside. They were looking about frantically and not just for me but also for Merlin. We had both been out for around three hours. Mr. Parker came towards us with an intimidating but relieved expression. “Where were you two? We were all so tensed!”

Merlin narrated the whole incident: how she had a gut feeling that I might get lost and how I did get lost. Then she told him all about how she found me. I held my breath as the part of me crying and hugging her came up, but she never actually said it. Instead, she simply moved on further with the explanation and acted as though it had never happened.

Relief surged over me with an intense force. I knew that the news of me weeping would’ve given my friends a lifelong pass to deride me into dirt, and she just saved me tons of embarrassment. I owed her big time!

The whole camping trip got cancelled due to the rain. We were made to go back home right after our return. All my mates were lambasting throughout the trip back, saying that all we made out of today was disappointment and exhaustion, but this once, I opposed their views.

This trip, though not a very pleasant one, taught me a lesson which I would never forget; a lesson which I would let remain, unsaid. Merlin was like one of us or, honestly, a bit more considerate. She helped me in my studies, and I, in turns, helped her in sports. She was fun and clever, completely contrast to what I had thought of her. She was not only a good student but also a true friend. I would never again call a person Marshy!