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    A Short Story by Asuda Abdullayeva

    ON A Hot Summer Day
    It is snowing hard at the moment. I am sitting by the fireplace looking out of the window. The room is warm and pleasant, but it is very cold outside. The white star shaped snowflakes are landing on the rooftops, on the leafless branches of the trees, on the ground, making everything and everywhere as white as themselves. It is getting dark. The streets are empty with nobody around. I like this kind of weather and time of year. It feels that all living beings and lifeless things are having a rest because everywhere is so quiet. I do not know why, but suddenly I recalled a very hot summer day. It was one of those unforgettable days of my youth that I had spent in a summer camp with my niece and nephew. Summer camps were called pioneer camps back then. I was a young teacher and was working as a pioneer leader and my niece and nephew were having their summer holidays as bright pioneers. I led 20 kids about 10-11 years of ages. On that day the air was very stuffy. It was afternoon. Everybody at the camp had plunged into the cool rooms to hide from the heat and have a nap. I also took the kids that were under my responsibility to their rooms. Because they had been running barefoot to and from since morning, they washed their feet before lying on their beds. As a leader I walked around the beds trying to keep everyone quiet so they could go to sleep. As for me, I had no desire to sleep because I had a very interesting book with me, but I could barely find a chance to read a single page when the children were around. I could only enjoy the book while they were asleep. So, when I heard their snoring I took the book and tiptoed out of the room. But I had scarcely stepped out when I thought I heard a whisper. I turned back and saw two pairs of very open eyes following me. But they shut their eyes immediately after I had seen them. I waited a little, knowing they would check me again. I was not mistaken. In a minute or two the eyes half opened once more, but before they were able to close them I managed to put my index finger on my lips and smiled at them. This time they looked at me with wide open eyes. To their surprise, I motioned them to get up slowly and come out. At first, they did not believe me. As I waved to them once again, they understood me and did what I wanted them to do. Taking care to not wake up the others they got up very slowly and came out. We headed towards the sea. There was a railroad just behind the camp fence. Along the fence a lot of tall trees with large branches lined up. So, it was quite shady on the railroad. We sat on the cool rails in the shade. I knew that there was a train only once a day, in the mornings so there wouldn't be any trouble. We sat there facing the sea. I was reading and the girls were chatting and playing a kind of a word game. Suddenly one of the girls said in a loud voice, “Miss, let’s get our swimming suits and have a little swim.” “No, no, no!” – I immediately replied. “Why not, miss? It is very hot. We want to swim.” “Firstly, this time of the day is not good for swimming the sun's rays are harmful. Besides, you shall wake up the children,” I strongly objected again. But they pleaded on and on and at last I yielded, but warned them, “Well, go and take your swimming suits, but be very careful.” The girls raised their fists in the air and cried joyfully. “Yeeees!” As they were ready to run towards the camp, I stopped them and reminded them once more, “You must be very, very careful! If you wake them up…” I did not finish my sentence on purpose, but they got it. “Ok, ok, miss! Don’t worry. We will just be in and out.” So, they flew like two birds and I stood there following them anxiously with my eyes. “Did I do right?” I asked myself. No, it was not fair. But I had already let them go. From a distance I could see how they approached the staircase and how one of them stood at the foot of the stairs while the other entered the room on her tiptoes. I was standing with both hands on my heart trying to calm its fast beating. I saw the girl who was inside appeared at the door with a swimsuit in her hand. She showed it to the other girl whom we called Catty as she was little for her age and looked like a cat. Catty shrugged her shoulders. That meant it was not hers. The girl disappeared and reappeared with another swimsuit. Catty waved her hand with an objection again. The second swimsuit was not hers either. This time the girl didn’t go back into the room. She was a little older than Catty and felt more responsibility to keep the promise not to wake the other children up. So, she stood there on the stairs and they looked at each other for some moments. From a distance I realized that they were quarreling. Suddenly I saw that the girl bent over Catty and punched her. Wow! Imagine what happened. Catty began to cry in a high pitch. The girl on the stairs looked in my direction and tried to cover Catty’s mouth with both hands. But Catty pushed her away and ran into the room stomping her feet on the floor as angrily as she could. “So, the game is over”, I thought. Just then there was a loud shout. The girls had already let the cat out of the basket. A few minutes later all the children were running towards the sea waving their swimming suits over their heads and shouting, “Sea, sea! We are going to swim! Hurray!” I stood there regretfully, upset and motionless, waiting for them to come up. When they approached I didn’t see the two girls among them. Looking back I saw Catty and her friend sitting together at the foot of the staircase with their heads down and swimming suits in their hands. It was evident that they were more upset than I was. I didn’t know what to do. The only thing I knew was that I would be punished by the head of the camp. My kids couldn’t get rid of the punishment either. Because, we had broken the internal camp rule. But what had happened had already happened, “What will be, will be”- I thought and gave my decision. “Wait for me here, I’ll be back in a few minutes” – I told the skittish kids eager to enter the water at any time. I ran to the girls. When they saw me approaching them they got really terrified and stood up as I came nearer. But when they saw my smiling face they confused. We stood face-to-face for a second. Then uttering not a single word I hugged and kissed them. They didn’t expect it, of course. (Sometimes we adults should be a child, I think). I got the girls and ran back together with them. We enjoyed a wonderful afternoon in the sea that day. I must admit now that namely that day was the most interesting and most remembered day of all our summer camp life. The memory warmed me as I sat looking at the snow.

    Asuda Abdullayeva

    Lankaran State University


  • Don't ever doubt yourselves or waste a second of your life. It's too short, and you're too special.          @Ariana Grande

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