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Dear diary,

Today, a girl proposed to me . . . Ngl it was weird.

White dirty shoe laces. Izhaar looked at his sneakers-with a frown- that got dirty with his run in the muddy school playground. Cold air rushing through his nostrils seemingly hurting his lungs. It was a cold day with faint heat but bright sun rays.

Suddenly a hand slapped on his shoulder tilting him down – “Bro how the hell are you so fast?” Izhaar looked up at his friend huffing beside him. “That’s Izhaar for you, best at everything.” Malik said causing the boys to hoot.The whole class have surrounded him, albeit subconsciously.

It was fine- until it starts to suffocate.

Zipping open his bag Izhaar pulled out his rumpled coat over him. A lone envelope fell off his bag landing on his foot. His eyes squinted at the pinkness of it. “Sus, gotta dispose off before anyone s-”

“Yo, what’s that?!” Malik picked it up. Automatically all eyes on him.

“Hey! give me tha-”

“It’s a love letter.”

Izhaar’s eyes zeroed, No way. A silence fell over the class room and suddenly the class was in cahoots.

“Read read read.”

“Bro stop it.” Izhaar slumped on the seat tired, having given up already.

“Dear Izhaar,” Malik cleared his throat, then made it more feminine “Dear Izhaar, I know this might be awkward for someone like you. You are so perfect in everything, your studies, sports, the way you carry yourself, you are so different than other boys. Over time I have grew very found of you. I like you. I always think about you and your beautiful eyes Please, only once meet me at the sch-” Izhaar snatched the piece of paper before he commits homicide out of cringe and chucked it out if the window. “Bro- c’mon at least who was she?” One of the boys complained.

To his rescue the teacher arrived, the whole day however was a teasing nightmare for Izhaar.

The bell rung and a cahoot of hoorrrayy reverberated across the school hallways. Izhaar was the first to strategically sneak out of the classroom. His legs sprinted down the stairs into the playground behind the school. His eyes following his friends in the distance- looking for him- then leaving the school. They were going for a secret vape session after school. It was the third day Izhaar slipped out. He doesn’t have the strength to confront them face to face.

Izhaar looked down at his muddied sneakers again only to find the rumpled piece of pink paper on the ground.

His mind spiraled back, to caverns of hopes and wishes. Well, who was she though? He couldn’t help this thought. Suddenly he found himself picking up the paper and pressing the creases. It’s even scented, he sniffed. His eyes skimmed the cursive writing.

“. . . I like you. Please meet me behind the school playground behind the stairs.~ Zahra.”


A strange feeling enveloped his stomach and his heart felt warm and heavy. He doesn’t know her but he felt like doing so. Before he knew he found himself walking behind the staircase. Please stop, A voice said inside him but it was too faint and weakened by then.

It was the golden hour, like a scenery out of a book. There really was a girl in a school uniform and white headscarf. Izhaar didn’t lower his eyes like he always does and stared at the shocked eyes of the girl. A moment passed. Very awkwardly, then the girl spoke.


Izhaar relaxed his arms in his blazers. Not very salaam of you to ask a guy to meet behind the school alone, Izhaar thought. He lowered his eyes to her pristine white sneakers, what the hell is he doing here.

“I do not mean to break your heart Zahra, but I am sorry I am not interested in you.” He looked at her to find her heartbroken -angry even- but all he could detect was her loving gaze increasing twice.

Oh no. She thinks Iam such a noble and kind person.

She got closer and Izhaar went on high alert. Oh hell nah. I can ‘smell’ shaitaan right now.

“It’s okay I just admire you, even if its from afar I shall do that.”

“Are you nuts in the head or what.” Izhaar knew that after his deliberate harshness she will surely be thrown off and run away. Izhaar looked at her again only to find literal hearts glowing in her eyes. Oh hell nah, she thinks Iam the bad boy type. Worse then that his bodily reactions were getting haywire. Abort mission right now!

“Izhaar, i genuinely love-” That’s it. Izhaar sprinted off.

What in the actual hell was I even thinking? Seriously.

Izhaar broke off from a sprint to a slow walk. His breathing suddenly slow and paced, contradicting his erratic heartbeat.

What in the actual hell was I even thinking. Seriously. Literally putting myself in a situation like that.

The wind whistled leaving his body in a mixed sensation of hot and cold. Izhaar realized he have walked way past the bus stop. His hands fisted in defeat and he thumped at the footpath uncaring of the world.

No matter how far he runs away from this suffocation, he can’t. The best at everything is it? He chuckled as his eyes dimmed a bit more. Adding to his misery this new occurrence in his life. He knows how it’s is. Attraction, attachment, heartbreak. Anybody who disagrees is a dimwit. Izhaar rolled his eyes and looked up at the road, eerily empty and quite, the whooshing of trees and the glowing restaurant name in the distance.

I have everything, He thought. Intelligence, looks, health, friends, family. I even pray, I obey, I abstain. Then why, my master? I fulfill my purpose in life then What is this emptiness in my heart? What is this suffocation? What am I missing? This gaping hollowness in my chest?

Izhaar looked up. Suddenly awed to silence. The short winter day closing its end, the sunset sky painting the last climax of colors.

He doesn’t know how long he stared, What does the world around him perceived him as? He stared long enough for the world to disappear, as if there was nothing more left then the vast sky. A lone tear slipped down his eyes.

Do I? Really fulfill my purpose, a silent whisper hushed. I am week. In a herd of people I am walking alone, not belonging anymore. I fear failure and seek validation, I’m a loser!

“Can you move your leg!” Izhaar suddenly zapped into existence looking wide-eyed with a tear streaked face. the little girl in front of him was probably eight and a little annoyed. She picked up the plastic bottle at his feet and placed it in her huge sack. Suddenly conscious of his state Izhaar rubbed his face with his blazer sleeve. The girl’s frock was faded and her dry dirty hair was roughly plated. Izhaar felt a little ashamed and pity. Then asked-“What’s your name?”

The girl looked at him with vary then continued picking up. Izhaar almost thought he got ignore-zoned when she answered-“Zahra.

“Hmm, sounds familiar. He thought but forgot from where.

“Are you hungry?”The girl suddenly glared at him as if offended. “No!”

Wow way to go Izhaar. What a genius.

“Well I certainly am.” He said standing up dusting his pants. He grabbed the girl’s hand and gently tugged her in the direction of the pizza parlor -perhaps not the best idea. The girl left her sack and tried to free herself away from him.

“No!” She looked at him teary eyed. Her voice going frantic- “Are you going to sell me off!”

Izhaar’s eyes turned wide and he zapped his hands back into his pockets, “No no absolutely not!” He shook his head with a vigour that ruffled his hair up.

“Then Why are you asking me to come?”

Izhaar backed a few steps then stepped down to her level. “Pizza khaya hai kbhi?” (Have you ever tried pizza).

The girl shook her head.

“I was just feeling alone,” Izhaar said “-and would have liked someone to eat with me. And yes. . .you shouldn’t go with strangers like me. . . also I guess.” He said nodding slowly but a little confused.

“Is that why you were crying?” The girl asked taking him by surprise, the tips of Izhaar’s ears tinted red.

“And we have a bull, its very smelly.” Izhaar nodded with utmost attention at her. By now the girl had become very comfortable and stuffed herself with a cheesy slice.

If I had a sister maybe that’s how it would be everyday- He smiled almost subconsciously.

The cafe was filled and he knew he was getting weird glances. It felt like ants climbing his back.

“What about your father?” The girl shook her head. “I have a mother, she is a cleaner and I also have a brother and we help my mother.”

“Ohh.” Izhaar nodded slowly.

“Do you go to school?”

“Sometimes.” She said shrugging nonchalantly.

The girl grabbed another slice and Izhaar slides the remaining pizza towards her.

“My little bro-” she said taking a bite, her eyes sparkling- “he loves these stuff but mom can’t afford.

“Accha.” Izhaar said.

“He likes buggers.”

“Burgers you mean?”

“Buggers.”, She said chewing a mouthful.

“Ok buggers.” He chuckled quietly.

Izhaar stood at the reception doing mental calculations. He only have enough money left to take a ride back home. Handing the cashier the money he walked out. By then the horizon had blended into shades of blues and black.

“Allah Hafiz!” The girl said said waving.

Izhaar smiled back and he saw the girl pick up her left out sack and going away. A thought appeared to him, ridiculous at first but Izhaar accepted it. “Hey wait!”

The girl turned back looking at him with expectant eyes. Izhaar dashed inside the restaurant returning with a package.

“What is it?””A bugger for your lil’ bro.” He said handing her the package.


“Yeah. . . bye.” He said ruffling her hair.

Izhaar saw the girl disappear out of his sight. The street lights lined the street along with shops and city-lights. He turned towards the other end of the road disappearing to infinity. The stars twinkling above.

A 2.5 kilometer walk home won’t be that bad would it?

By the time Izhaar reached home his legs had successfully transformed into jello and lungs nothing but a block of solid ice. The Isha azan called as he opened the door. The TV was a static noise in the background and a cherry red dot glowed in the dark, emitting smoke. Dad was home.

“Where the hell were you?!” He heard his mom from the kitchen.

“I -” Izhaar couldn’t thought of a good lie, his brain was too cold-dead.

“Arey probably was with his freinds doing things boys his age do. Let him have his fun.” He saw his dad ushering him inside. His mum gave him a suspicious look but let it pass, after all it was futile to argue with her husband.

By the time he prayed his missed prayers and retired to bed Izhaar was beyond tired. He looked at the moonlight filtering through glass panes falling on the still ceiling fan. The TV still a hum in the background with his dad probably still smoking.

Izhaar realized he wasn’t feeling suffocating today, nor empty. He realized that being alone probably isn’t that bad but necessary. That perhaps he wasn’t never meant to mix in and was made to walk alone.

Like the crescent that’s hanging outside his window high in the sky. Made to be alone, so as to light the dark night.

Suddenly he sat up straight. Pulling out his diary he switched on the study lamp.

Dear diary,

Today, a girl proposed to me . . . Ngl it was weird. I made a little girl happy and walked 2.5 km by foot because I had no money to have a ride.

I also cried a bit :`)

But alhumdulillah, i am feeling the happiest than i ever had.


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