The night was cold and wet. It was raining heavily. There was Sara, laughing over what I had just told her.
“Oh my gosh, Khadijah is it true? You were never so naughty during our school days.”
“Ofcourse I was, but the only difference was that I was not daring and was always frightened of getting into some trouble.”
Sara was still laughing uncontrollably. “But that was seriously mind blowing! I wish I was there to witness it live rather than getting it to hear from you.”
And all I did was to look at her smile.
“Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar!”
I woke up from the call of the Fajr prayer. Amused at my dream, I was drifted towards the memories of my school days. Those were the most delightful days of my life, the most carefree moments. And to spend them together with me was my best friend Sara.
The dream I just saw was so vivid. I thought.
“Ammi always says that dreams before Fajr prayer comes true,” I said to myself, “I really wish it does.”
“Whom are you talking to dear?” It was ammi. I was so engrossed in my thoughts that I never realised when she entered my room.
“Nothing ammi, I was just wondering whether dreams before Fajr have some connection with our real life or not…”
“Well, I have heard they do. But who knows, probably it must have just been a myth.”
“Hmm. But I hope it is not.”
How are you? I still remember our fun filled times at school. I doubt if you even miss me now…’
“Khadijah are you ready? We are getting late.”
“Yes brother, I am coming in a minute.”
I quickly closed the lid of my laptop, grabbed my bag and left for university.
While on my way to university, I recalled that chilled winter night when it was raining and, Sara and I had sneaked out just to get wet in the rain. That night we had talked for hours, pouring out all our sorrows to each other. After that we had felt so relieved and light hearted like as if there was nothing more to trouble us. The dream I saw today morning had so much resemblance to that night.
“Alright class, before you disperse, I would like to assign you all a project. Make a presentation on any disease, its symptoms, treatment etc, and submit it to me by next week. In addition, I would like this project to be done within groups. So better start working from today.” That was Sir Arshad. He teaches us Biochemistry and is one of the most motivational teachers I have ever come across.
Ms.Pushpa was one such teacher at school and every student looked up to her. Sara and I were one of her favourite students. Ms.Pushpa was impressed with the way we both worked together.
During lunch break, all my friends were busy chattering. But I was unable to stop thinking about Sara. I was awing about what kind of person she must have turned into now. Would she be the same Sara I once knew or must have transformed in to a totally different person.
‘Zoom, zoom!’ My cell phone buzzed loudly.
I excused myself from my friends to answer it.
“Walaikum Assalam! Khadijah be there at 5 ‘o’ clock sharp.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll be there before five in the evening.”
“Good! So see you at the other end. Allah Hafiz!” And with that the call was disconnected.
That was Bushra, my schoolmate, ex-classmate and a really good friend. Despite being busy with her studies and her university life, she is always there to lend me a listening ear. It was Sara’s birthday today and all of my school friends had decided to throw her a surprise party.
I left university early in order to reach the party on time. I got into a taxi and headed towards the surprise birthday party for my dear friend. On the way I stopped at a gift shop to get Sara a present.
“Khadijah I want you to gift me this locket on my sixteenth birthday. You know how much I love chains and locket,” Sara’s eyes were sparkling with excitement.
“But I’m giving this to you right now. Your birthday is months away and I can’t wait till then!”
“Thank you, thank you, thank you!” And she suddenly hugged me.
“Ma’am would you like this chain and locket to be gift wrapped?” The salesman inquired.
While getting back into the taxi, I wondered if Sara still had the same taste and will she treasure my gift just as before.
Almost all of my friends were already at the party when I reached. Seeing that I assumed I was late and felt nervous and anxious at the same time. Once inside the party hall, I looked around in anticipation to see if Sara was already there. She was nowhere to be seen. Glad to not miss the surprise part, I walked over to my other school friends.
Sara arrived after several minutes and was stunned to find us all there. She was not alone but was being accompanied by two girls who were walking side by side beside her. They were her university mates and they had given their utmost help for executing our surprise plan successfully.
I walked towards Sara to wish her and present her the gift. I was looking forward to getting a warm hug but was instead greeted with a handshake. I asked her for her well-being, she did the same and that was it. She was then led towards the cake by her newly found friends. I felt ignored and was utterly disappointed. And that was when I knew I won’t be able to stay any longer. I left the party smirking and telling myself that she has got really caring friends with whom she is happy.
At home, I was done with my studying and was now planning for the assignment. I will talk to my friends tomorrow about the assignment. I thought.
It was already eleven and I was feeling tired and sleepy after such a long day. I lied down on my bed, and was running my thoughts over today’s events when my cell phone buzzed. This time it was a text message.
‘I’m very cross with you! How dare you left the party without eating my birthday cake? I was so badly longing to talk to you. Now you better meet me tomorrow. There is so much awaiting to be told to you.
Your best friend Sara.’
I couldn’t help but beam with happiness. My best friend still valued me.
‘At times we may not be in contact with the closest of our friends. It never means that they have forgotten us but rather, we have just lost them among the crowds of this world.’
(This short story was written for ‘All Pakistan Aspiring Writers’ Convention 2012 -APAWC LUMS)