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The Elopement
by Fehmida Zakeer

“Our parents will never agree to our marriage.” Anita’s eyes filled with tears.

“Best would be to get married first and tell them later,’ Sameer patted her hand, “don’t worry, I won’t leave you.”

Anita gulped and tried to smile. Both sat on the park bench lost in thought. Finally Sameer got up.

 “Time to go, have some homework to finish.”

“Ok.” Anita got up.

They walked home hand in hand. Sameer said, “I think we should get married this weekend. We’ll ask Tina to come with us; her sister eloped last month, she’ll have an idea. What do you say?”

Anita nodded with a smile.

On the proposed day of the wedding Sameer, Anita and Tina made their way to the bus stop in the unfamiliar bluish grey light of the dawn.

“Why are we going so early in the morning?” Tina asked stifling a yawn.

“Because the registrar’s office is in the next town and we have to get back by evening,” Sameer replied and added, “Have you got the food?”

“Yes, it is all in here.” Tina patted her bulging backpack.

“You’ve got your birth certificate?” he asked Anita who nodded a vigorous yes.

“You got the money, right?” Anita looked at him. The three of them had pooled their money the day before and Sameer had taken it upon himself to keep it safe.

“Y..e…s…I think…” Sameer slid his backpack off his shoulder in a hurry and balanced it on his knee. The three of them stood in the middle of the road and peered into the bag.

A few frantic minutes later, Sameer cried out, “Oh no, I left my piggy bank on my table…”

The seven year old hit his forehead with his hand while six year olds, Anita and Tina looked at each other and groaned.