It was a bleak Monday morning, unlike yesterday. A sudden draft of cold wind was brought about by a car speeding down the paved road and suddenly stopped in front of the school. From the car alighted a silhouette clothed in a black hooded jacket with loose tattered jeans. You can never tell if that person is a he or a she. The silhouette’s face was hidden from the hood that was pulled lower. That person was walking with hunched shoulders and downcast eyes.

It only means that there’s a new student in James’ school. He wondered who is that person. His question was answered when he entered his first class. That person was a she and Leila was her name. She had a rather shabby appearance but you can tell she’s attractive. There was something mysterious hanging over that girl which James cannot pinpoint.

When he got home his parents were in the kitchen and were talking about a new neighbor. It turns out that Leila lives in his neighborhood down a few blocks from his home. He learned that she was living with her father and that she lost her mother when she was a child. So that was why she was dressed shabbily. There was no one to teach her how to dress properly like a girl.

When his parents noticed him lurking in the corner, they stopped talking. Casually, he asked them why Leila transferred suddenly.  His mother gave him a reprimanding look for being nosy. Sheepishly, he went upstairs to his room.

The next morning, everyone at school was talking about Leila. She was being treated like a pariah for being different. You see, people who live in James’ community are mostly high-income earners and dressed nicely. Anyone who is out of the ordinary is treated differently.

Leila was bullied because of her appearance. She was not even spared by the popular girls in school. They showed no Mercy in bullying her. At one time, James helped her up when she tripped because the girls put pearls in her way. He was fed up with them treating Leila this way. He had to stand up to the girls for them to stop harassing her. Because Leila was grateful to James for coming to her defense, she invited him for dinner later that evening.

That evening was a turning point for James. Leila had a revelation. The reason that Leila and her father moved was that he was given a better job in James’ community. His father was a genius software engineer so companies were fighting over him to work for them. And Leila had a way with computers too. She had a promising future ahead because her father had already taught her the basics.

On his way home, it got him thinking about humanity. It made him realize that one must not be quick to judge. We do not know a single thing with what’s going on in other people’s lives.

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