“Assalamualaikum class. I’d like to introduce you to our new student,” said Sister Fatima, the fourth grade teacher. “Her name is Sumayya and she came from Detroit and I’d like all of you to make her feel welcome. Sumayya, you may take a seat beside Ameena.”
As soon as the teacher wasn’t looking Ameena turned around to her best friend, Rabia.
“Isn’t she so weird?” cried Ameena.
“Yeah,” agreed Rabia.
“Today we will we learning about verbs,” continued the teacher. “Would someone like to tell me what a verb is?” Sumayya rose her hand. “Yes, Sumayya,” she asked.
“A verb is an action word like sit, run, and play,” replied Sumayya.
“Correct.” Sumayya was able to answer all the questions Sr. Fatima asked.
So the day dragged on and Sumayya couldn’t help feeling that someone was watching her and she shuffled in her seat uneasily. As soon as the lunch bell rang she got her lunch from her knapsack and went straight for the cafeteria. When she entered she noticed that each class sat on one table. So when she was about to sit down Ameena said “Hey everybody, look, here comes the geek.” Ameena had said that so loud that now giggles broke out in the whole cafeteria. During lunch Sumayya had hardly touched her sandwich. She felt left out and missed the feeling of having a friend.
At recess, she walked alone feeling she had no one in the world beside her. She could hear all the others far away, laughing and having fun.
At home time, the teacher called Sumayya to her desk to tell her how well she had done for her first day. As Sr. Fatima told her this, Ameena and Rabia were close by listening in on everything.
On Sumayya’s way home, Ameena and Rabia ran past her calling her the teacher’s pet.
The next day Ameena noticed that everything Sumayya did was perfect. The fact was, that before Sumayya had arrived, Ameena got all the attention. Now there was someone better than her and it was hard for her to handle.
At lunch time the whole fourth grade table spread their lunches in such a way that there was no space left for Sumayya to sit so she seated herself with the third graders. Sumayya didn’t like what Ameena was doing to her and decided to ignore her as if Ameena didn’t bother her a bit.
At recess she found herself alone, again, so she decided to talk with Sr. Fatima who had recess duty that day. When she got home she realized the only friends she had were her parents at home and her teacher at school. She prayed to Allah and then fell asleep.
The next day, at recess, she found herself face to face with Ameena and Rabia. “Move out of our way, snob,” Rabia said rudely. Rabia and Ameena kept yelling at her to move out of their way but she wasn’t paying much attention to them, actually she felt like blowing a punch at Ameena recalling the ways she had made her mad. But all she could do was stare. Then she moved out of their way.
“What’s the matter, you can’t stand up for your self?” Ameena asked slyly. Now Sumayya thought Ameena had gone too far, calling her a chicken when she was the one who was yelling at her to move out of their way. So the next second without knowing what she had done, she found Ameena lying on the floor in front of her. She saw that everyone was quiet now, no one laughing or playing, looking on from Ameena to Sumayya with astonished looks, their mouths hanging wide open. And then she realized what she had done. Quietly she ran inside to the bathrooms, crying and crying. “If she hadn’t been so rude I wouldn’t have done it, it’s not my fault,” Sumayya wailed.
Ameena was then taken home but had no serious injuries.
The next day Sumayya couldn’t help noticing that Ameena’s desk was empty.
“Assalamualaikum, class. I’m afraid I have bad news. Today we got a call from the hospital and we found out that Ameena is there and won’t be attending school today,” Sr. Fatima said aloud. Whispers broke out in the class.
“There was a fire that broke out in her house yesterday and she and her family barely escaped because the neighbors called the fire department just in time. Police are still investigating what caused the fire to break out,” she continued. “So I’d like all of you to pray for them.”
For Sumayya, that whole day passed on slowly and drowsily.
After school Sumayya felt sorry for punching Ameena so she decided to pay her a visit. On her way she stopped at a floral shop and bought a small bouquet. When she reached the hospital she went straight for room 5023, after asking the receptionist, where she found Ameena Lying down. She laid the bouquet on the table quietly and stood above Ameena.
“How do you feel?”
Ameena opened her eyes and looked up to see Sumayya standing beside her.
“Not well, I guess,” Ameena mumbled. “But what are you doing here?” She asked in a surprised tone.
“Well, I came to apologize for…”
“What you did yesterday, Right?” asked Ameena before Sumayya could finish her sentence. “Well your apology is accepted…and I’m sorry for calling you teacher’s pet. I guess I’m not used to seeing others get more attention than myself.”
Now both girls were smiling at each other.
“Friends?” asked Sumayya.
“Friends!” Ameena cried.
“Well I better go now, see you soon.”
Sumayya left room 5023 with a proud look on her face with the feeling that she wasn’t alone.