The Sun was appearing the light. My eyes stared at the unclear shadow in front of me. Slowly, I tried to lift up my head and there he was, standing in front of me with an awkward smile. I got a frightening sense deep in my heart. What was he doing right there? Riddles came across my mind. His name is Emir. He always scored great marks in the examination. I can never be as great as him. I never get my flying colours. I did not have any confidence in myself.
Emir also has that one good-looking face that made all the girls in school dying to know him better. Well, not all of them. I had no interest of him at all. For me, having a relationship in my senior year was a whole lot of mess. And I never even dated anybody before, because in Islam, there is no such thing as couples and dates. Literally, I did not believe in puppy love.
Emir took a glance at me and hand in over a piece of paper. He asked me to fill some information for our Communication in Technology Club. He was the president of the club, for he won the highest vote from the students, especially the girls. We had never talked before eventhough we were studying in the same class for almost three months. I became kind of bashful when it comes to guys. I could not be as genial as Elisa and the rest. After writing down my address and my contact number, I quickly passed the form back to Emir. I noticed he was observing me while I was filling the form.
“Hey, are there something wrong with me somewhere? You seemed to be afraid of me Solehah,” Emir took a shot. I shook my head. He looked dissatisfied with my answer but he just kept quiet and walked away. And that was it. That was I how I treated every other guy in the school for this two years. But some of them just did not want to stop trying.
“Leha, what do you think of Emir? He is handsome, intelligent and rich. He suits me, right?” Dayanah smiled excitedly after he left. Dayanah is a friendly person and she understands me well. I could always rely on her. She’s my best friend.
“Nope, I don’t think you two belong with each other,” I tried to tease her. Her face expression changed in a few seconds. “And why is that?” she wanted an explanation.
“Because... he is way too tall for you,” I burst into laughter. Dayanah pinched my arm softly. Then, she started to laugh. That was when Farid appeared and stood right in front of me. It had been two weeks since Farid started to make a hell out of my life. He knew I did not like to speak with boys but he still kept bothering me everyday. But this time, it was over the limit. Dayanah chased him from my sight but he did not want to budge even an inch. “Hey Leha. How are you today? Do you miss me?” Farid asked on purpose. “Don’t bother her!” Dayanah was still there, defending me.
“Yeah, don’t bother her Farid. Get away from her,” I suddenly heard a familiar voice. It was Emir’s. He noticed the incident and tried to help me. I was shocked and impressed at the same time. He was willing to chase his friend to defend me? Farid was still standing there.
“Leha, do you want to go out with me someday? We can go to the cinema together. I can drive my father’s car to pick you at your home,” Farid said intentionally. Without my expectation, Emir approached us and he pulled Farid away from me. It was very kind of him. I never taught he would do such thing for me. He... understood. Emir brought Farid outside the class and he said something to that guy, which nobody knows what.
Time passed and I was starting to get busy with stuffs in the Communication in Technology Club. We were asked to create a magazine about internet and technologies for the teachers and students. As the president, Emir divided the team into several groups; photography, graphic designing, articles and reports. I was grateful because everyone in my small team were girls. We could work more efficiently. I volunteered myself to search the words of wisdom for the last page of the magazine.
“You know, I love collecting inspirational words. I even have a journal for every single words of wisdom I found. That will make my work easier! I will not let you girls down,” I said enthusiastically without realizing that Emir was behind me. All of the girls just kept quiet and did not respond to me. As soon as I realized Emir was there, I was ashamed.
He did not want me to make a fool out of myself. “You do? That’s great. Here. I also have some collections that you might want to use some,” he handed over a few piece of papers. I took those papers and read the words. I nodded as a thank you sign to him. Right after he left, my friends grabbed the papers from me and started reading the words.
“Oh my God, I think he likes you!” Sara spoke and blinked her eye. “That’s absurd. He was just trying to help. Please don’t make any further assumptions, Sara,” I pretended to sulk. I knew she was just teasing me as usual. “He already has a girlfriend,” Zalia added.
“Really? I never know about it,” I said frankly. “Tell us about that lucky person,” Sara was dying to know.
Zalia looked around to ensure that nobody was listening to the conversation. She did not want people to call her as the gossip girl. But what she was going to say was nothing but fact. “Her name is Aimi. She’s two years younger than us. She studies in another boarding school, not far from here. They have last for a year now, and Emir seems to be a very loyal person,” Zalia smiled mesmerizingly. She was one of the popular girls in school. “And how cute is that!” Sara held both of her hands, probably wishing to be in the girl’s shoes right now.
“Cute? What is cute about loving somebody that may not be your wife? If he likes her, he should pray to Allah to save Aimi for him. Who knows she might fall in love with another guy in her school?” I did not know why but those words just came out from my mouth. Emir’s a kind guy, I was just hoping that he would do things the better way with his girlfriend.
“Wait a second! Leha, are you jealous of Aimi?” Sara guessed.
“Me? Jealous? No way. I was just telling the truth. And I don’t even have any feelings towards that guy. He is my classmate and our president. That’s it.” I tried to defend myself. I did not want them to think that I loved Emir.
“Chill out, Leha. We were just joking. Wait, you’re blushing!” Zalia pinched my cheeks softly. “No I’m not!” We ended up the day with laughter instead of discussing our works.
That night, as usual, I went to the preparation class. That was our daily routine as hostel students. We were given some space to study for the next morning. But eventually I spent the night to finish the ‘never-will-finish’ works given by the teachers. While completing my task, suddenly we heard a scream coming from outside the class. Everybody was shocked and people started to gather at the corridor to find out what was happening. It was a girl’s scream. I also did not want to miss the opportunity to fulfil my curiosity. “What’s happening?” I asked Dayanah. She might know the truth. “They said she was shocked. Maybe she was just imagining things such as ghosts.” So, there was actually nothing happened with the girl. I wanted to continue my work, but as soon as I turned back, the front door was blocked with the boys. They still did not want to enter the class. I became confused whether I should stay or enter the class.
“Leha, why don’t you just use the back door? It’s safer,” Emir suggested. That was quite a surprise. Emir seemed to understand what I was thinking at that moment. Without wasting any time, I went to the back door and returned to my seat. I was touched with what Emir had done for me just now. He acted as if he was protecting me. I never met someone like him before. I never thought guys could actually understand us muslimah.
Day swapping days and finally we were going to face the toughest examination in the school history. Yes, it was the night before SPM. I was filled up with tears when I hugged Dayanah. I asked her for an apology. And I apologize to all of my friends. After that night, we might do not have any time left to spend with each other. Some of the girls did not want to miss the chance to speak with the boys. I decided to wait Dayanah, but a bit far away from the students. I did not want to meet with any of the boys. I already forgave everyone and I was hoping they did the same. After fifteen minutes waiting, Dayanah approached me with a big smile.
“What’s with the smile, Dayanah?” I returned her smile. “Well, take a guess.”
“You talked with Emir?”
“Yes, that’s correct. I also spoke with Farid, but, we were not talking about us. We were talking about you,” Dayanah answered.
“You were talking about me? And why was that?” I thought Dayanah was making a joke at that moment but it turned out to be the truth.
“Farid owes you an apology of course. And Emir, he left you a message. He knew you do not want to talk to him or the other boys, so he asked me to say this. First of all, he wishes you the very best in your examination. He also believes that one day, you will be a successful person in your life. He told you to just believe in yourself,” Dayanah explained.
“He said that?” I could not believe what I just heard. Dayanah nodded and smiled. “Why should I lie to you?” Dayanah convinced me. I took a deep breath and slowly smiled to her.
Since that day, I became more confident in myself. If a guy such as Emir can trust me, I should have trust myself first. Emir is one of a kind. He treats girls the way they treat him. He is an understanding person eventhough he’s not perfect. I never meet him since we left the school but I will remember him as my classmate. So I just want the other guys in the world to know that if you treat a muslimah in a proper attitude, we will totally respect you like the way I respect Emir right now.