"Bruh that was incredible I didn't know that you can dive like that. And a summer salt that is just too much." Isma'il said to Abba rubbing his hair dry with a towel. They were in the boys changing room.

"Thanks. I can teach you if you want." Abba said putting on his tracksuit. "Let's go."

They headed to their class, unlocked their lockers and brought out their spelling books. Isma'il was about to close it when he saw a paper stuffed into the side of his locker. He hesitated at first but then he picked it and read. He was puzzled as he read it twice, and then thrice. He then held the paper to Abba who also looked baffled as he is.

"You've also found a letter?" They both said in unison.

"From Zainab?" Isma'il asked while Abba said from Maryam.

"But why? Why would they do this? I mean I'm dating Maryam while you aren't dating Zainab. Or are you?" Abba asked curiously.

"No. You know i'm not. We are just friends remember? Yes, I have to admit I have a little crush on her. But don't be angry I also like Maryam too." Isma'il said ducking his head.

"You can have her. She's my ex now after all. "Abba said with a gritted teeth.

"Easy there tiger. You're lucky you were not accused of something you've not done." Isma'il said. He then showed Abba his own letter.

"I'm sorry man. Maybe she thought you like her and... " Abba said but was interrupted.

"No. She just hates me for no reason and I vow to repay her times more than what she's intending to do in her foolish mind." Isma'il said blinded with rage.

Abba laughed nervously. But when he saw the sincerity in his hazel eyes which were now red and golden, he tapped his back. "Please don't do anything stupid." He warned. Just then Miss Kafayat, their english teacher came.

"Please Zainab go round the class and collect their spelling books it's almost closing time." She said looking at her watch. Zainab nodded and stood up.

When she reached Isma'il's desk, he ignored her and tapped his fingers on his table.

He saw the paper. Zainab thought miserably.

Abba who was close by saw the tension between them both. He felt sorry for her and was thinking that something had happened that made her wrote that letter. He took Isma'il's book and handed it to her which he earned a grateful smile from. She quickly walked to her teacher and dropped the books on the table then went back to her seat. Her friends sensed that something was wrong but didn't ask.

Miss Kafayat cleared her throat and began. "The first group will be Zainab, Aisha, Maryam, Abba and Isma'il. The girls should head over to the two boys there please." There was a loud grunt followed by a hiss from Isma'il. Miss Kafayat looked at him sharply and then she continued making her groups. 

Maryam cat walked to the boys carrying her chair with her with her. She then plopped down next to Isma'il earning dagger glares from Abba. She eyed him and fixed her gaze on Isma'il. Just then Aisha and Zainab came along and joined them.

"I heard what happened to you and I'm very sorry. I remembered telling her not to try such a thing but tayimun kunnun uwar shegu ( she turned deaf ears on me). We are not more friends with her I can't stand being with a coward, a liar and also a cheater."

Those three words pulled the trigger and shot Zainab real hard. Her heart ached and she felt like they're going to burst out of her ribcage. Her face was an amalgamation of hatred and sorrow.

"Maryam enough of this. This is enough okay? How can you do this to her? I'm pretty sure you're the one to blame." Abba said angrily.

Maryam scoffed. "I'm the one to blame? Was it my handwriting on that paper? Or did you see me forcing her to write lies about a poor innocent boy that had never in his life came across what she wrote?!"

Zainab was about to break down but the firm hold on her shoulder by Aisha told her that she shouldn't be weak in front of that snub. She was better than that.

"Maryam if you ever utter another word wallah i will make your sorry. I'll disgrace for the rest of your life that you'll kneel on your knees and beg me for mercy. I assure you that."  Aisha said her eyes blazing with intense anger.

Maryam looked shocked and baffled but dare not say anything. They were holding her secret against her. There were the only people that know her secret including Abba, Yasmin and Hafsat. Isma'il wasn't paying heed on their discussion. He just stared blankly at their teacher as if waiting for her to tell him that what Maryam was saying was a lie. But his dumb brain doesn't have the capability to reason. 

"Ok now Group A spell TUBERCULOSIS. Miss Kafayat said. Abba, Aisha and Zainab raised their hand. Miss Kafayat turned her gaze to Isma'il and smiled at him. He stood up abruptly and spelled it.

"T-U-B-E-R-C-U-L-O-S-I-S." Isma'il spelled.


The students all clapped for him and with a little nod he sat down. Miss Kafayat wrote down the score  and continued. When she was done she announced the winners. Jamila's group were the first followed by Zainab's group and the rest. Miss Kafayat told them to perform ablution and head to the masjid where they will pray their Jum'ah prayer and then head home. At that moment Zainab can't hold it anymore. She fled to the toilet with Jamila and Aisha on her heels. Yasmin and Hafsat went over to Maryam and they high fived.


When Miss Kafayat was done I couldn't take it anymore. I ran to the toilet my eyes blinded with tears. I could sense that Jamila and Aisha were following me but I kept running. I entered one of the stalls and locked it sobbing. I could hear Jamila and Aisha knocking on the door so I had no choice but to open the door for them. They scurried and took me in a group hug making soothing circles on my back.

"Maryam she...she..." I hiccup.

"Shhh" Jamila shushed. "It's okay. I'll make sure she pay for what she did. Wallah she will."

"Come on let's go and pray." Aisha said raising me up my feet. "But let's perform our ablution here first.

When we were done we went to the class and picked our hijabs from our  bags. We then went down to the mosque and we were right in time. We prayed the two units raka'at. When we were done I could see some of my classmates glancing at me and murmuring some things which i know nothing about. Suddenly some  of my classmates, Halima, Fatima and Asma turned to me a look of sympathy plastered on their. Some cry when they are sympathized but with me it does the opposite effect.

"Zee, we heard what happened and we're very very sorry." Halima said. "I knew it was Maryam's doing just to get Isma'il and she did. Maryam is my cousin we grew up together and basically i know Maryam and what she's capable of. So don't worry insha Allah she'll get to taste her own medicine."

"Thank you Halima I really appreciate it." I said and kept quite. I didn't trust myself to speak any more further.

Fatima and Asma too sympathized with me and almost every girl in my class did excluding Maryam and her gang. One of the teachers told us that we could leave and we left to our class.

"I'm following the bus today." I told my friends. Mama will be super busy today so I've got to follow the school bus.

"Okay we should head out now." Jamila said.

On our way out we passed Maryam and she kicked my leg. I ignored that but the eyes of my friends didn't miss that. Jamila turned swiftly and gripped Maryam's wrist giving it a strong squeeze. Maryam grunted wiggling her hands.

"Let go of me you bitch." Maryam cried.

But Jamila gave it another squeeze. I was really scared because even me myself i wouldn't want to be involved in Jamila's bad side. Including everyone in our class too.

"You, you're the bitch yourself dear." Jamila said a hint of venom in her voice. "How dare you do a thing to a girl like her. Now tell me how do you feel when I do this." Jamila then twisted Maryam's arm. Maryam grunted in agony, tears rolling down her cheeks. Hafsat and Yasmin watched. No one can stop Jamila when she's like this. I couldn't take it anymore. I laid my hand on her shoulder giving it a light squeeze. She turned to me a little and then released her grip. Maryam held her hand sobbing. Her two friends rushed to her and with that we silently walked outside to the bus. 

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