(Picture Source: https://www.wallpaperup.com/14112/Landscapes_nature_trees_bench.html)
It was my third and last phase for my School Based Experience (SBE). Since it was only a week, I always try to make the best of it. For my final phase of SBE, I went to SK Unico Desa, a rural and under-enrolled national school. I was used to being alone during my SBE’s since none of my classmates or batch-mates were from the same district. I didn’t really mind about that honestly. I took this as an opportunity to learn how to be independent on my own. But after this third SBE, something happened to the point where it changed my mind.
The school was unusually small for a rural school. Having only two main wooden buildings, one was the academic building while the other was a mix of the offices, the library and a mini surau. As I entered the school grounds, I readjusted my outfit and took a deep breath. Before meeting the principal, there was a boy sitting on a bench outside the office. It was as if he was waiting for me to arrive, welcoming me to the school. Then, our eyes met and he gave me the sweetest smile. His smile reassured me that I will be a great teacher for the week.
Knock, knock. The principal immediately noticed my arrival. Instead of a curious face, I noticed he had that surprised look on his face. But his face instantly changed back to a smile after the clerk mentioned I was the teacher whom called last week. Similarly, the teachers had the same first impression too. “Madam Amelia?”, they asked. I shook my head and reaffirmed that I was Jasmine, the one-week teacher for the school. A huge sigh of relief could be heard from one of the teachers at the back of the office. Later, I found out that Madam Amelia was a mother of one of the students here. Unfortunately, the student died from a car accident outside the school, while waiting for the mother. Being creeped out, I was also overwhelmed with sadness inside.
After the assembly was over, I rushed to the first class I was assigned to. The boy with the sweet smile quickly followed behind me but only entered from the back door and left afterwards. I assumed this cheeky little boy is playing games with me because I was the new teacher in the block. “Kids will be kids”, I thought.
Without realising, it was 12.50 p.m. when the school bell rang, indicating the end of my first day. Students were running towards the school gate. At the same bench outside the office, I saw the cheeky little boy. We exchanged smiles as a sign that the seat next to him was vacant. So I sat there while waiting for my father to pick me up. At this moment, I learned his name - Ayden. I also learned that he was a chatterbox. “I’m glad that you came by. Please come back again tomorrow,” he pleaded. By the time my ride arrived, we were practically the best of friends. I decided to take a picture as one of the good memories for my SBE. We bid farewell and waved goodbye to each other.
“You could still take selfies even after I arrived, seems like you had fun.”, asked father. “Of course! Especially Ayden, the kid I talked to just now”, I replied excitingly. Suddenly, there was a moment of silence. Father stared at me and explained that I was laughing and talking to myself on the bench. I faced my head towards the bench, Ayden was gone. Goosebumps gushed through my veins.
Ayden was the boy from the accident.
Ayden thought I was his mother.
(P.S. - This story is fictional. No child was harmed in the making of this story. This story was inspired by the haunted surrounding of the school. I was told by almost everyone that the school grounds were haunted as it was surrounded by abandoned forests. It was one of the rural schools in the district. Enjoy! :D)