Thursday 15 August 2013

Flash Fiction 2013 Longlist, Ayesha Hassan

The Cobbler

There was no cobbler near the tools; I looked about holding my broken sandal in my hand. A small boy, probably aged ten, came and sat in front of the tools. “Will your father be long?” I asked him, thinking he must be the cobbler’s son. “I am the cobbler.” He said, indignantly. “Can you sew this?” I asked him handing the sandal over to him. “Of course, I can sew everything.” He said, taking the sandal from my hand, turning it around and inspecting it with his ‘professional’ eyes. He chose a needle for his purpose and then began mending my sandal efficiently; but it was, nevertheless, a struggle.

My sandal was made of a hard material which required a lot of strength to sew it together. The little boy, diligently, continued his struggle. Screwing his forehead in deep concentration; his little tongue peeping in and out of his mouth, helping him to concentrate, he sewed the shoe. After a few final struggles the job was done. Taking pity on the boy I handed him a ten rupee note, more than what he asked for. But he refused to take the change. It upset him, “I am no beggar. I do an honest job and ask for an honest amount.” Hesitantly, I took the change thinking eight rupee s wouldn’t have helped him much.

“Don’t you go to school?”
“I used to but my father died and I had to leave school. One day I’ll become as good a cobbler as he was.” With those words circling in my thoughts, I left the little cobbler.

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