“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?