3. Toilet paper mystery

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Sensing her opportunity, Emily nodded eagerly. Tommy led her into the house, and Miss Emily was surprised to see that as dilapidated the house looked from the outside, the inside was neat and well-kept.

In the kitchen, Tommy filled a glass with water and handed it to her, before swinging his school bag onto one of the counters.

Miss Emily glimpsed a flash of white from the small gap that was exposed through the zipper but after all this while, she wasn’t surprised.

As she slowly sipped her water, an idea began to play in her mind. What did she have to lose if she just directly asked Tommy about it. It’s not as if her sleuthing had gotten her any answers. But dare she?

It turned out that she did, for minutes later she found herself blurting out, “Hey TomTom, what do you use all the toilet paper you collect for?”

Tommy’s eyes shot up to meet hers and he looked like a rabbit cought in the headlights. Then, he lowered his head and nodded slowly, before running of.

Emily frowned. She hadn’t scared him away, had she? Sure she was direct but… Her curiousity was eating her up! It couldn’t be that Tommy was stealing toilet paper to use in his toilet at home, she was sure of that. Even the idea of it was absurd.
Her various hunches to what Tommy could possibly be up to was starting to drive her mind crazy, when Tommy walked back into the room. Miss Emily gasped in shock and took a step backwards.


2. Toilet paper mystery

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

The next few days, Miss Emily watched Tommy very carefully. But to her utter dismay, she never managed to find out anything. She concentrated on Tommy more than before, subtly asking him more about himself, questions him more during lesson and overall showering him with multitudes of more attention than before.

Emily had expected Tommy to withdraw and become closed up when she did all of this, but under her abundant shower of attention, Tommy thrived. Emily was frustrated that in the past few weeks, she had found out nothing new about her toilet paper mystery but deep down, she was also really flattered at how just with some attention from her, Tommy’s grades had soared. Why, he was almost top of the class! And if he continued improving as he was currently, very soon he would be top of the class.

She poundered over why she was at a dead end with Tommy one Monday morning, while sipping her morning cup of tea, when VOILA! It hit her.

She didn’t know anything about Tommy’s home life at all! That’s why she was getting nowhere. All she was scrutinising was his school life. If she just got a little bit closer to him and observed a bit of his home life… She was sure that she would solve her dilemma.
So after school that day, Miss Emily fell into step with Tommy. Knowing he walked home alone she said, “May I walk you home?”

Tommy’s stared at her awkwardly, very shocked at the question. She thought he was going to refuse, when his face lit up and he nodded eagerly.

Miss Emily frowned after they walked through 3 blocks. She was already starting to tire, was Tommy’s house really so far away? And if it was, why didn’t someone come to pick him up in a car.

After a whole two blocks more of walking, Tammy stopped in front of a tiny house that frankly, looked rundown. Miss Emily was kicking herself for not making conversation and finding out more about Tommy when he interrupted her thoughts, “Thank you Miss Emily. I.. I really enjoyed walking home with you.” He smiled shyly at her.

Emily returned the smile and turned to leave when a soft whisper interrupted her, “Do you want to come inside for a glass of water?”

With closed eyes… 

“Excuse me, are you okay?” I asked awkwardly. I cringed, in a normal situation I’d never just approach a random girl like this.

” Yep, I’m brilliant. Just taking a nap before my next lecture.” I stared incredulously at her, she still hadn’t opened her eyes and was still walking in the right direction. “How are you u not bumping into walls?”

“I have my skills,” her lips lifted in a tiny smirk. I spent the rest of my day unable to get the ‘sleeping girl’ out of my mind.

I saw her a few days later and her eyes were still closed, and bumped into her the next day again and still her eyes were closed.

Doubts began to plague me. Was it… Did she have a problem. Was she physically unable to open her eyes?

I searched for the mysterious girl high and low the next day but she was nowhere to be found. That day passed, and the next, and the next, and I didn’t bump into my sleeping friend in the hallway.

Then, out of the blue, at lunch, I spotted a lone figure curled up beneath a tree looking up at the sky. Could it be her?

Even though I knew there was a high possibility of disappointment,I dashed over just to check. I froze when I reached the tree. What was I going to say to her? I probably looked a sight, running up to her like mad thing.

But my worries faded when I saw that her eyes were open. I laughed euphoricly. “Your eyes are open!” I couldn’t help but exclaim.

“Yeah, I’m awake now. Don’t need any naps at the moment.” She glanced over at me, “What’s your name? I’m Summayyah.”

“Katherine, call me Katy.” I stared back into her eyes. They were the most amazing eyes I ever saw and I wasn’t exaggerating. Deep, warm, brown coloured eyes that reminded me of melted chocolate.

They seemed to sparkle and I finally understood what novels meant when they spoke about a persons goodness shining through her eyes. The warmth behind those brown eyes, it was inexplicable.

Perhaps my mind was overexaggerating because I’d been so eager to see her eyes previously, perhaps not. But truly, they were eyes that held pure beauty. Kindness shone in them as clear as day.

And so, there beneath the cherry blossom tree, began a friendship that blossomed for years to come. At first I was tentative, spending a little time with Summayyah but most of my time with my old friends.
 Time passed and I slowly began spending more and more time with Summayyah.

In every friendship I’d had previously, I’d always been the pushover. The too-kind girl, who put everyone above her and no one felt too bad to take advantage of my kindness.

But Summayyah, she was different. Sweet as honey, I sometimes wondered if she was too good to be true. She never once took advantage of my kindness and for the first time in my life I wasn’t sacrificing for the sake of my friends.

Ayyah was too considerate to allow that and at time I felt like I was being stingy, not giving her the same selflessness I’d given to my old friends.

When I voiced my thoughts to her, she crinkled her nose and said, “I want a friend Katy, not a doormat or a PA.” And that was the end of that.

The day that Ayyah finally answered my question about her walking around with closed eyes truthfully, was the day our I knew I completely had her trust.

She still walked around campus halls with shut eyes, claiming to be taking power naps. The truth however, opened my eyes to a whole new dimension of Summayyah.

She spoke in a faraway voice as she explained to me about being blind for as long as she could remember.

My heart broke as she whispered about how she understood that it was Allah’s (the name she called her god, by now I knew that much atleast) decision for her, but she just couldn’t stop the yearning to see the grass that felt so amazing beneath her feet. To know what’s blue, red and yellow.

To see the sunset that her brother described to her in detail and it certainly sounded stunning, but try as she might, she couldn’t properly picture it in her mind.

“Then one day, I was really pensive and the desire to see… These colours that everyone spoke about, that sounded so amazing…  it was so overpowering. So I prayed that day, I prayed really hard and I promised that if I just had a chance to see it all, just once, I’d never look at a strange guy intentionally.”

She looked up at me and explained, “Because you know, in my religion, it’s not permitted to look intentionally at any man that its possible for you to marry, unless of course you’re considering marrying him.” Ayyah gave a small giggle.

“That night, my father came to talk to me. He told me that he and my mother had been saving for very long for a particular operation that might restore my sight.  He told me to think carefully because it was bound to be painful and there was only a fifty percent chance of it working out.

I thought about it long and hard, and even though there was a fifty percent of failure, of basically throwing away my parents money, I couldnt help but choose the selfish choice. All I could think of was that I prayed that day and Allah had responded to me.

I had the operation and praise be to Allah, it was successful.
I’ve tried as hard as I could and up till now, I’ve kept to my promise. I haven’t intentionally looked at any guy in my life.

When it came to campus though, there’s guys everywhere and it was nearly impossible to avoid them all. They were everywhere. ”

“So walking around with my eyes closed seemed to be the best solution,” she stated with a quirky smile. “I can move around quite deftly without using my eyes, a skill I still retain even though I have sight now.”

“Besides,” with a dreamy smile she continued, “I love that the first boy I’ll look at will be my husband, the guy I’ll spend the rest of my life with. That would be the most perfect thing ever.”

I looked at my friend fondly, with all her quirks and dreams, she was truly one of her kind. She definitely had stars in her eyes though, her dream of her husband being the first boy she looked at was far-fetched. But definitely, if anyone could do it, Ayyah would manage it.

I found myself whispering a prayer to whatever diety there was out there even though I was not much of a believer in God, for her innocence and dreams to remain intact for as long as she lived. Too many times, I’d seem innocence and dreams shattered and it was heartbreaking.

I prayed for Ayyah’s happiness even though I’d never prayed for anything before. My family was the complete opposite of religious.

But I prayed because I knew deep down, that for someone as perfect as Ayyah to exist, with all her quirks and dreams, was something that couldn’t be coincidental. There had to be someone out there, someone who created such beauty and deep down I suspected that the creator of such a beautiful person had to be a million times more beautiful because honestly, what are the creations of someone in comparison to its creator?

1. Toilet paper mystery 

Winter had come and everyone was coming down with sniffles and colds. 

“Atisho, Atisho!” Someone sneezed yet again and to Nani Jaan’s dismay there was no more tissue to be found. 

Finally retrieving a toilet roll from her bathroom, Nani Jaan apologetically handed it over to the child that had sneezed. 

“This calls for nice, steaming hot bowls of soup,” Nani Jaan declared. 

Once the soup was ready, Nani Jaan called for the children to gather around saying, “I’ve got the perfect story! A funny story to raise everyone’s gloomy spirits.”

“Mrs Delany, I think you need to stop brushing me off and finally do something. This is the 4th time I’m seeing Tommy with toilet paper. I’ve reported to you the first time when he came out with a huge wad fluttering from his waistband but you told me I’m over-reacting. But this is the fourth time I’m seeing him with signs toilet paper on him.” 

Emily Kale pleaded internally for the head of department to take her seriously. 

Her heart sank when Mrs Delany spoke, smiling condescendingly, “Yes Emily, I understand that you are a little stressed about this but every child has their peculiarities. Maybe Tommy just likes toilet paper? Have you considered that?”

“You’re not listening to me, Mrs Delany! Each time that Tommy had toilet paper with him was after he’d been to the toilet. I have a bad feeling that he’s… Maybe..,” Emily bit her lip, “taking the toilet paper from the toilets?”

Mrs Delany’s head snapped up, “Don’t be absurd, Emily. Next thing you know, you’ll be contemplating whether Tommy gets menstrual periods!! It’s as absurd a suggestion as stealing toilet paper. Maybe he had running stomach or something. But it’s probably just something as trivial as sloppy toilet habits. I get that it’s only your second month here but paranoia is not a trait we encourage in our teachers. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have lots of work to do.”

Emily stared at the HOD’s retreating back, her cheeks burning. Familiar feelings of frustration and inadequacy hit hard. Why did the HOD look down on her so much. She hated being the new teacher! Almost as much as she hated being brushed off. 

Something was definitely going on with Tommy and she was going to get to the bottom of this. She’d never heard of any kid having toilet paper fetishes. Something was definitely going on here. She was certain of it. Even if no one believed her.