The Reward

by Padmini Krishnan

Nina sat in her class, biting her nails. She was scared because Vici was joining her class. Vici was Nina’s neighborhood bully. She was a tall 6 year old and looked closer to 9 or 10. She frequently picked fights with kids who looked weak.

Nina recalled one such incident that took place 6 months ago in the play area. Children of various age groups hovered around the monkey bar. Vici swung effortlessly in the bars. After she got down, she cheered for kids who performed well and teased those who did not. When it was Nina’s turn, she held the bars and looked around anxiously. Vici laughed at her and imitated her movements. The following week, when Nina went to the play area, Vici threw a heap of sand at her. After that, Nina started avoiding Vici.

 


Nina’s teacher interrupted her thoughts.

 “This is Vici, the new girl.”

Some kids said ‘Hi’. Others gave her a curious look. Vici sat all by herself, as other kids sat with their friends. At lunch, no one offered to take her along. Vici was sitting alone in the classroom when Nina returned from the cafeteria with her best friend, Jessie. Vici smiled at her in recognition, but Nina did not smile back. She was still angry about the monkey bar incident.

The next day Vici sat alone once again. However, Nina wondered why the other kids were ignoring her. Was it due to the fact that she was well-built and too tall for her age? Nina thought about that as she walked home.

 Her sad mood turned into joy when she saw her aunt Emily who had come over for a short visit. At dinner, Nina told Aunt Emily about Vici. Aunt Emily was silent for some time.

“Yesterday, you were angry with Vici. But, today, you feel sorry for her. So, why don’t you talk to her?”

“But, she is bad. She made fun of me. I don’t think I like her.”

“Did Vici look angry or vicious to you today?”

“No. She looked sad.”

“So, why don’t you give her a chance?”

“How do I know if she has changed?”

“You would never know that without talking to her, would you?”

“I will try,” whispered Nina in a small voice. “But, what will I gain from being nice to her?”

“You will find out after you have talked to her.” Her aunt smiled. She continued after a pause, “You will not be sorry about it, Nina. God tells us to forgive our enemy. And who is little Vici? Just a small girl who thinks that she is better in games.  Show a big heart, Nina, and you will not regret it.”




Sure enough, when Nina smiled at Vici the next day and started talking to her, Vici apologized for her behavior in the play area. Curious, Jessie came over to talk to Vici. After some time, a few more kids joined them.

 

In gym class, Nina introduced Vici to the gym teacher as one of the most athletic kids in the play area. A group of kids crowded around Vici. Vici looked past them at Nina, smiling gratefully. Nina smiled back, feeling happy and peaceful. She realized what aunt meant about forgiving someone. She had got her reward.