Eucatastrophe. Part:8

I was daydreaming of my big break. I’m so happy that I finally got my recommendation. I entered my story just in time and the results are due to come out this week. I really, really hope I win.

Imagine if I win, how much can I do with that amount of money?! I can buy new clothes for each and every individual in the orphanage, I can buy fresh tasty food for the whole year, I can buy a beautiful gift for that sweet Grade: R teacher to repay her for her kindness. I can buy pretty clips for all the girls in the orphanage, I can buy toys for the little children….Oh the possibilities are endless,’ I thought dreamily.

I was startled out of my daydream by the shuffling of people around me. I blinked rapidly trying to get my bearings back and figure out what was going on. I saw Suhail reluctantly walking to the front of the assembly with confused expression on his face. I saw Mr. Moore in front beaming so widely that it looked as if his face would split in two.

The principal shook hands with the two of them before turning to us and saying, “I’m so proud to have someone like Suhail in our midst. Under the guidance of Mr.Moore, Suhail has won the Regional Short Story Competition…”

I zoned out after that. The world began spinning around me. Echoes of Suhail has won the Regional Short Story Competition was all I could hear.  Suddenly everything became too bright as these words continued to echo in my head, Suhail has won the Regional Short Story Competition. 

My dream is shattered. Suhail has won the Regional Short Story Competition, the same competition that I had hoped to win. Suhail has won the Regional Short Story Competition. 

Everything began blurring until all I could see was white. Suhail has won the Regional Short Story Competition. Suhail won the competition I was supposed to win. Not only that but with the story that I was blackmailed into writing for him.

He shattered my dreams with my own story and there was nothing I could do about it. Suhail has won the Regional Short Story Competition…Matron always says “Cheaters will never succeed.” Suhail has won the Regional Short Story Competition.. Have I brought this down on myself? Suhail has won the Regional Short Story Competition. Everything turned from white to black to sweet oblivion.

I didn’t even feel myself fall. I didn’t hear the commotion that followed. I didn’t see who carried me. All I know is when I came to I was completely disorientated. I felt myself being carried but closed my eyes once again dismissing it as a dream. Why on earth would someone carry me? Everyone hates me! ‘It’s definitely a dream!’ I thought, drifting off once again.

I opened my eyes wide before squeezing them shut, thinking that when I opened them again I would be back in the orphanage but it was to no avail. ‘Where am I?’ I thought finally sitting up and looking around me. Walking over to the door way, I peeked out and realised that this was probably the school’s sick room.

“Why am I here?…NO!…NO!…NO!” I began clutching my heart tightly hoping to sooth that ache to no avail. An idea suddenly popped into my head and I began opening all the cupboard rapidly searching for the file that contained all the students details. Yes, there’s it! I flipped through it until I came to grade:10 and there right at the top was what I was looking for.

Name: Abad Suhail

Date of Birth: 19 December 2000

Place of Residence: 7 Red Lotus Avenue

Parent/Guardian’s contact details: ..I put it back quickly as I heard footsteps approaching, and jumped back into bed. Not that it mattered, I’d gotten the info I needed. Suhail Abad was going to get a lovely visit today and he would definitely be getting a piece of my mind.

 

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Eucatastrophe. Part:7

I slowly got to my feet and began limping my way out of school, not caring that I was spoiling my golden record. ‘Nobody even cares if I miss class and nobody will even care if I die,’ I thought darkly.

I’ve had enough. I can’t handle it any more. I can’t stay in this place that makes my nightmares real, a moment longer. I limped all the way to the orphanage unable to stop the torrents of tears flowing down my face.

As if reflecting my inner turmoil the weather suddenly changed to dark and stormy. By the time I finally reached the orphanage I was drenched to the bone. Matron took one look at me and immediately sent me off to change out of my wet clothes.

When I was done I found a cup of chamomile tea waiting for me. I must have looked as bad as I felt because tea was some thing rare used only on special occasions here in the orphanage.

It seems the chamomile tea did its job because I soon found myself calming down and my eyelids beginning to droop. I jumped into bed cocooning the covers tightly around myself and went off to sleep  never wanting to awake again.

3 hours later my eyes opened again. I yawned and stretched and feeling my body aching all over the events from earlier began assaulting me once again.

I pep talked myself out of all the gloom and doom. I felt much much better when I was done because I had decided to concentrate on what needed to be done rather on the injustices that had been done to me.

I decided to get that story for Mr Moore done and overs with and would you believe it what was in my heart came flowing from my fingers. Without even realising I began pouring out all my heartbreak onto the paper.

2 hours later, I flexed my fingers as I finally put the pen down. Wanting to get this over and done with, I didn’t bother reading it. If I had, there is no way in a million years would I’d have ever handed it in. I had basically spilled my heart bare there and someone else was going to read it. In those moments of weakness, I didn’t fully realise what I had done until it was too late.

The weather had suddenly changed again and was already warming up. I found myself running back to school as it was almost time for school to let out. I spied Suhail just before he jumped into his chauffeured car and screamed for him to wait.

Slapping the pages into his hand I spat, “I finish do the dirty work your royal dunce-ness. The least you can do now is type it out yourself.”

I searched around for Mr Moore but he was no where in sight. Well I’m half done, I thought deciding to head back as it didn’t look like Mr Moore was around. First thing tomorrow I’ll ask him for that recommendation I thought. Little did I realise that I hadn’t reached my rock bottom. Things were still about to get worse.

 

Eucatastrophe. Part:6

I struggled to breathe for a few moments, gulping oxygen like a drowning survivor. All the air had literally been knocked out of me. It was then that I realised that I was shaking violently. I tensed my muscles and tried to stop shaking.

All that happened was that the pressure increased on my shoulder and the incessant shaking just got worse, a small moan escaped my lips and thankfully the shaking stopped. Gosh, I hurt all over, my entire body felt like one heave bruised mess of hurt.

Hazily, I registered someone sighing, “Oh you’re alive! Thank god!” I just closed my eyes and allowed my head to loll back succumbing to the warm, welcoming sleep that was oh so inviting. The annoying shaking started again and annoyance rose in me, who was this idiot that just wouldn’t allow me to sleep? As if the shaking wasn’t enough, the idiot started yelling, his voice grating against my poor abused head. His pitch rose higher and higher, until it felt like my head was about to explode. “Wake up! Wake up! Just get up. You can’t go to sleep, you’ll die. Oh my god! You’ll die and I’ll have your death on my hands. Don’t die. You can’t die. Just.”

This stupid idiot! He wanted me to wake up when he hadn’t even let me sleep.I ought to teach this idiot a lesson. I really should. Trying my best to remember that self-defense move one of the bigger girls had demonstrated to us at the orphanage, I curled my fist and with all the strength I could muster, lashed out in the direction that the annoying noise was coming from.

My eyes were still closed but it seemed that idiots face was closer than I thought and I heard a sickening crunch followed by, “Shit! What’s wrong with you!” as my eyes flew open to see him cradling his nose.

“I’m sor..” I began before changing my mind. “Good, you deserve it. As if it wasn’t enough that I had to go against all my scruples just to write you one stupid essay because you have no brains and can’t manage to write one yourself you had to injure my poor brains too. My head hurts, My back hurts, My ribs hurt and my heart hurts because I’m sure my mother is looking down at me very upset at what I’ve done and you don’t even have the decency to let me sleep. So what if I die, It’s better of that living in this miserable universe that idiots like you reside on.”

Suhail seemed very weirded out and began backing away cradling his nose staring at me wide-eyed as if I was a patient from the mad hospital. If it wasn’t for the fact that I was in so much of pain, I would have found this situation hilarious.

“Yeah, run away coward. You know what? Please go. I hate you! I don’t think I can stand another second in your presence.”

I watched him retreat in satisfaction but once he was gone so was my distraction. All the pain and heartache returned. My head began throbbing, my ribs began aching, my backside was probably turning blue but most of all was the pain in my heart.

I couldn’t hold back the tears anymore. “Will it ever end?” I questioned yearning for someone to comfort me and reassure me that it would but there was not a soul in sight.

Little did I know HE was watching, HE saw everything, HE was waiting for me to turn to him but I barely even knew HE existed. I knew I was Muslim but I didn’t know what being Muslim entailed. It was only later that I came to know of HIM. That despite everything HE loved me. HE would have helped me through everything but I didn’t know about HIM so I didn’t turn to him for help.

Due to everything that I went through I later pondered how come I didn’t snap? How come I didn’t go crazy? How come I don’t suffer from depression? How come I didn’t resort to terrible avenues and criminal activities? The reason for this was that HE was watching over me. Allah loved me more than any human ever could and he protected and helped me through everything but at that moment I felt utterly crushed and defeated that I actually contemplated suicide but something held me back. Little did I know it was HIM, My creator, my guardian, my Allah.

Eucatastrophe. Part:5

But…but Mr Moore, what…. Why.. How does that even benefit you? Why would you cheat on behalf of a student? It just doesn’t make sense. Why.. Why are you dong this?” I cried out.

The answer I received was one that I remembered for years to come, for it changed my entire perception of the world in the blink of an eye.

“Sarah, I like you, you’re a good student so I’m going to let you in on the way this world works,” Mr Moore stated, peering at me over his glasses, “Money makes the world go round, it’s as simple as that. Remember this because it’s a reality. If you’re rich, you’ll have the world at your feet and if you are not, and want a chance to live even a slightly luxurious life, then when an oppurtunity comes along, you grab it. Oh, and one more thing, you don’t say no to a millionaire.”

“So you’re saying that you were bribed,” I state narrowing my eyes at him.

“Now, now, Sarah, when you put it like that, it sounds so uncouth. I prefer to use the words incentive or mutually beneficial deal. You like to write so you should know the importance of using the right words,” Mr Moore says snarkily.

“No! No! I won’t do that. I can’t!” I whimper. “Then I’m afraid I can’t write you that letter.”

My heart was bursting with insurmountable desperation. What was to become of me if I lost this chance? I’d pinned all my hopes on this. Could I really go against all my values for this one chance? Then again for all my values and always doing the right thing I’ve never gotten far in life, have I?

Maybe it was time to take the plunge. I mean, it’s only one essay. There’s nothing to lose and so much to gain. I need this chance. I’m losing hope. I can’t remain in the orphanage for the rest of my life. I need to make something of myself and time is running out. My chances just seem to be getting slimmer and slimmer.

But I couldn’t just give in like that. My moral code simply wouldn’t allow it. It was unethical, and downright cheating. In my desperation I tried one more ploy, “Mr Moore, If you don’t write my letter, I’ll, umm I’ll go to head and report exactly what you’ve asked me to do.”

I grimaced internally, why did I have to be so terrible at talking to other, I hated how shaky my voice was. It was possibly due to that reason that Mr Moore didn’t take me seriously. He simply laughed at me and told me to stop being so naive and that I should know that between a teachers word and an orphan student’s, whose will hold more weight. “Go ahead!” He said cynically, “I’d love to see how you embarrass yourself .”

“I’ve already explained to you how this works. I’m higher than you on the status chain so whose word do you think will be believed? But since you seem to need more incentive, I’ve been generous in marking your papers and essays, do you really want to test me? Because the way that you are acting, it seems that you don’t deserve my generosity.”

I deflated then, faster than a popped balloon. A stabbing hurt filled my heart and tears began pricking my eyes. How was I supposed to do anything when the entire world was against me. It was as if everyone was just waiting for me to slip and fall for the sole reason that they would get the chance to laugh and jeer at me.

My whole life, I’d never been handed anything on a platter so why had I expected this to be so different. Maybe I should just agree, it was just one paper after all. But what if..

Although my heart and mind were still at war, my tongue seemed to have made its own decision and I found myself saying, “Fine! I’ll do it but only one. I’ll hand in the essay to you next week and I expect my recommendation as soon as I hand it in.”

A smiling Mr Moore objected, “A short story and we have a deal.”

All my will to fight was drained out of me so I simply nodded in agreement before promptly spinning around and walking out, my heart and mind full of turmoil. Was I doing the right thing?

Feeling like I couldn’t breathe and unable to suppress the feeling that I’d just done something dreadful, I broke into a run.

When my doubts still continued assailing me, I ran faster and pushed myself harder, trying to drown out my conscience. Faster and faster I went until I was full on sprinting. But still, my inner voice wouldn’t shut up.

Pound..pound.. I shouldn’t have done that…thud.. thud… What if I get cought?..Pound.. pound.. Why did I agree to some thing so silly.. thud..thud… maybe I can still get out of this.. thud..thud.. But how will I get this opportunity again?

By now, I was panting and out of breath but I continued to push myself to go faster, refusing to slow down. The exit staircase came into sight and I began slowing down, when something hard banged into me and I went flying down the staircase, my flailing arms and legs doing little to slow my fall.

Nani-Jaan smiled indulgently as all the children groaned and begged for her to continue. Shaking her head, she explained that it was getting late and perhaps they should get going back to their homes. That day, she left them with an important lesson, one she hoped they would remember for as long as they lived. “My dear children, always in the history of mankind, bullies have existed. In fact even Qabil (Cain) the son of Adam, bullied his brother. We have to be very careful not to turn into bullies. And yes my children, you get adult bullies too, mummies and daddies also sometimes bully others, but this is also wrong. Just like how Mr Moore is wrong to be bullying Sarah like that as he’s her teacher, any type of bullying is unacceptable and should be stood up against. Now before you go children, I want each and every one of you to promise me to never bully anyone ever again.”
All the children obediently complied with a loud chorus of promises and even though Nani-Jaan never showed it, she noticed the red, shame-faced boy in the back who just mumbled it, his eyes cast downwards. She felt a jolt of satisfaction at seeing this, Alhamdulillah! It seem that the morals were driving home and the lessons were being learnt.