The Park Bench by the Phone Booth

Rupa liked to sit on the bench beside the park, by the red telephone booth next to it. The bench was always vacant, so she sat there reading her favorite story book every evening, undisturbed. She was new to the neighborhood, and she had no friends. She had found refuge in the books, which were always her companions.
One such evening, as she sat reading her favourite author, she heard the phone in the booth ring. Startled, she looked around. People were busy with their walks, and the other kids were playing happily. She went up to the booth and picked the call. ‘Hello, what is your name?’ she heard a voice at the other end. Scared, she hung up, and decided to go home. The next day, the same incident repeated. This went on for about a week. Rupa was confused as to why the phone rang only when she sat on that bench? After a week of these daily incidents, she almost decided not to sit on that bench. She hesitatingly looked at the booth, wondering if the phone would ring. She stood by the bench, thinking whether to sit and read, or to just take a walk in the park.
And as expected, the phone rang. But today, the voice said ‘look up!’ She peeped outside the booth and looked all around. She couldn’t see anyone. ‘H..hello’ she said with a quivering voice. Dummy, look across the street! I’m waving at you! The voice said. This time she looked at the building across the street. At a window on the third floor, she saw a face, and the person waved at her. The girl seemed about her age. She hesitatingly waved back. Then the voice said, ‘come up here, to my house. I am at 304’ and disconnected.
Rupa was in a dilemma. Why didn’t the girl come down? Was this a trap? Mummy had warned her not to trust strangers… but this was a young girl, of about her own age! Finally, curiosity won, and she went to the building, to the third floor. She knocked on the door at 304.
A maid opened the door, and she took her to a room. There she saw the girl with one leg in a plaster cast.
‘Hi! I’m Rita!’ She said. Rita had broken a bone and couldn’t walk. She had missed school for some time, and was getting very bored. She had seen Rupa sitting alone on the bench, and had decided to talk to her.
‘Why didn’t you say so the first time, you idiot? You almost scared me!’ Rupa said.
‘I had fun looking at your scared face!’ Rita laughed. ‘Today I felt that you wouldn’t come back if I scared you anymore, so I revealed myself to you!’ the naughty shining eyes said it all.
And it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Thanks to the bench by the phone booth.

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