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One day, two best friends were walking down the park. One of them was Flaubert, a very talented flutist. The other one was Tom who was just an ordinary boy fascinated about mathematics. It was his favorite subject.

“Isn’t this wonderful, Tom? Everything is so beautiful! I just love it!” said Flaubert.

“Yes, you are right Flaubert. Indeed we’re living in a wonderful place and are blessed because of that,” replied Tom.

“I agree with you, buddy.”

“So tomorrow is Roselyn’s birthday, will you go?”

“Yes, she invited me. And she has requested me to play something with my flute too. I am sure it’s going to be a whole lot of fun and I am eagerly looking forward to it!”

“Me too!” said Tom smiling.

Some steps further, they were greeted by Josh. They were all school friends but everybody would avoid Josh because of his bad reputation. He was often referred to as “The thief”.

“Hello guys, what are you up to today?” asked the boy with a wicked smile.

“Hello Josh, nothing much; just enjoying ourselves,” replied Flaubert smiling. “What about you?”

“Me too, just hanging around in here, with my friends and trying to have some fun, that’s all,” said Josh with a funny tone. “Flaubert, I need something right now so is it possible for me to ask you for something?”

Flaubert and Tom looked at each other.

“Yes Josh, tell me. What is it that you need?”

“Would you borrow me your flute till tomorrow afternoon? I would need it!” replied Josh.

Tom looked again at Flaubert.

“My flute?” exclaimed Flaubert. “I need it in the evening at Roselyn’s party Josh!”

“Please ask me no more Tom. It’s kind of urgent and I can’t help myself but ask you for your flute,” said the boy while gazing at him. “Have faith Flaubert, I shall return it to you before the sun sets.”

Flaubert said nothing for a couple of seconds, but would only think about it. Eventually, he pulled out the flute from his bag and handed it to Josh. Seeing that, the boy put a large smile on his face.

“Here you have it Josh. Use it as you wish.”

“Oh thank you Flaubert, thank you so much! I really need it, thank you! I shall meet you tomorrow afternoon here, to return it back to you.”

“All right Josh, let’s meet tomorrow afternoon then at this place,” replied Flaubert kindly.

“Wonderful! I have to go now, but I’ll see you soon! Good bye!” said the boy and left.

“Flaubert, do you really expect to get that flute back from Josh? Have you lost your mind?” said Tom, being still surprised by his friend’s gesture. “You know he will never bring it back, don’t you?”

“He will return me the flute, Tom. I trust him.”

“But he is someone who is referred to as The Thief, Flaubert! Why would you trust him? Why would you even try since everybody knows his bad fame?”

“Because everybody deserves a chance, Tom. Everybody!” replied Flaubert as he looked as his friend.

“To be very honest, I can’t understand you Flaubert!” replied Tom.

“Sometimes, it’s not about understanding, Tom; sometimes it is about feeling,” replied Flaubert.

In the following day, both Flaubert and Tom reunited in the park, waiting for Josh.

“I’m telling you, he won’t come,” said Tom with an angry face.

“Be patient, Tom. He will come, I have faith in him.” replied Flaubert.

“All right, whatever you say Flaubert. But I’ll keep my doubts anyway,” said Tom.

Another half an hour passed; then another half.

Now, Flaubert was really starting to get worried. Will it turn out that Tom was right, after all? He waited for another 10 minutes, looking around for Josh. But there was no sign of him. This made Flaubert very sad. It was unexpected for him to see that he was wrong about Josh.

“Come Tom, let’s go. Josh will not come and we are getting late.”

“Well, this is what I’ve been trying to tell you. I’m glad to see you’ve finally come to your senses. Josh is a thief, Flaubert. He always was and will always be. It’s just who he is and no one will change that” said Tom while looking at his friend.
Flaubert let his gaze down. He was having a bitter taste in his soul.

“Yes, I guess you are right and you have been all along. I’m sorry Tom, I should have listened to you. It seems that after all, Josh is really what his bad fame says he is, just a thief. What should I answer Roselyn in the party? Sorry Tom, I can’t attend today’s party. You better tell her that I am unwell.”

“Ok Flaubert, as you wish. I will communicate the message to her.”

Flaubert never heard from Josh since that day. He would think about Josh for often but there was nothing that he could do. Josh had disappeared with his flute and even worse, he had proven his real self. Days passed and Flaubert moved on with this life.

One day, after about two months, while returning from school Flaubert was waiting for Tom in the park.

“Hello Flaubert” he heard a voice.

When turning his gaze, Flaubert was surprised to see an unexpected guest, Josh. It was really him except that Josh was in crutches.
At first sight Flaubert felt sorry when he saw him but soon remembered the bitter incident.

“Hello Josh. How are you? Haven’t seen you for a long time! And hey, should I call you the thief who stole my flute?” shouted Flaubert in a rude tone.

Josh didn’t say anything for a moment.

“Believe me Flaubert, I did want to come to return you that day. I had all the intention in the world to give you your flute back; not even for a second have I ever thought in keeping it with myself,” pleaded Josh.

“Then, what happened Josh? Why didn’t you come?”

“While I was coming here that day, I had a terrible accident while I was on my way. A car hit me and it broke my leg.”

“Your leg was broken because of me?” asked Flaubert turning all of a sudden his look toward Josh.

“No, no, please don’t take it like that, Flaubert. It just happened. Nobody is to be blamed because of that,” replied Josh with a kind smile on his face.

Flaubert had tears in his eyes. When remembering how badly he had thought about Josh and all this time he was in pain.

“Flaubert, what is wrong? Why are you crying?”

“I am sorry, Josh…I am so sorry! Can you please forgive me?” said the boy with his eyes filled of tears.

“Forgive you? For what?” said Josh being somewhat confused.

“All this time you were suffering in pain, and I was thinking about you in a terrible way; that you are a thief and that you’ve stolen my flute and that I’ll never see it again from you… Forgive me Josh, please forgive me.” said Flaubert carrying.

The boy smiled kindly and took Flaubert in his arms, hugging him warmly. Then, he pulled out the flute from his school bag and gave it to Flaubert.

[Photo credits: garryknight]

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