.... it crumpled on the floor into a ball of white paper, no strings of letters or numbers to speak of and that was the only evidence out of the whole world that something inside of me felt broken......


2. Part 1

'' What the fuck was that all about?''

I exploded into laughter as we walked out of the shop, the plastic bag hanging from my fingers as I struggled to catch my breath.

''Hot?Medium?Spicy?''  Haris mimicked the shopkeeper and then he too erupted into a frantic frenzy of uncontrollable laughter. Our laughter seemed to light up the evening sky as my stomach began to hurt from the amount I was giggling and even though the feeling subsided I found a permanent smile stretch across my face as we walked home.We began talking about how I couldn't understand the shopkeeper because of his Indian-accent and he was talking way too fast and I blamed Haris for sitting in the corner, laughing his head off as I was unsure about how to respond to something I couldn't understand.

'' I'm never going to Star Grills ever again'' I vowed, referring to the fish and chip shop we had just walked out of.

Haris smirked.

'' You got ripped-off, you know'' I went on,'' Who the hell charges three-pounds just for fish and chips?''

'' Dunno''

'' You dont seem to care''

'' I dont''

'' But it was your money. You should care'' I said as we crossed the road,cars roaring past in an ecstasy of headlights that sliced through the utter darkness of the sky. It was getting late. I glanced at my watch, which told me it was quarter to eight.

'' Mum is going to kill me. I should have been home fourty-minutes ago...'' I told Haris, my face most likely looking worried.

'' Just say you had a detention from mosque or something'' he said.

We walked back onto our road, past the familiar dead tree that homes a nest of birds, I dont know what species but probably either magpies or pigeons because that is pretty much all we have in Britain.

''Then she would kill me for getting a detention''

'' So either way, you're dead''


He laughed and  when Haris laughs, you just cant help but laugh along with him. It is like happiness is contagious or something because I was infected with giggles and guffaws and soon I was ,again,trying to catch my breath by his side...

For the next few minutes, we practiced the pack of lies I would tell my mum and debated whether she would believe them or not. We concluded that my mum is impossible to reason with and that it was unlikely that she would believe any of them. I shook his hand as we stopped outside his house.

'' If you dont hear from me tomorrow, do my funeral'' I said solemnly, handing over the bag that contained the fish and chips as he smiled, amused by the dead-panned sarcasm in my tone...

I walked on as Haris closed his door. My house would take only less than two-minutes to get there, since Haris and I live on the same road. I looked up at the sky. The stars seemed spiteful,somehow, all those white dots piercing the contrasting dark blanket of the night sky. Sometimes I imagine my house, then zoom out to see the city, then zoom out to see the country and then see the world and the universe as I become a microscopic blip among all the giant stars and  mighty cosmic explosions.   


There was a mighty cosmic explosion when I got home. Of course it all kicked off as soon as I kicked my shoes off.

'' Where have you been?'' Mum yelled.

I knew that any excuse was pointless so I just said the first thing that came to my head, which was, '' I had a detention from mosque.''

'' Why''

''I was talking''

'' I hope you were not misbehaving with Haris'' She said as I made my way up the stairs,trying to run away from the future lecture that was going to be based on the 'bad influence' subject- again. 

''No mum, I wasn't'' I lied.

 Here it comes I thought. And sure enough-it did.

'' Good. You have to keep it that way. You know how much of a bad-influence he is on you and your father and I only want the best for you.No point frowning''  She added because I pulled a face. I hated this conversation. Really hated it.

I tried to block out the rest as I did my maths homework on the laptop. Mum went on and on about how my behavior has been affected in school( I had a fourty-five minute detention from my Spanish teacher just yesterday), and how I am behaving badly in mosque and how my close friendship with Haris must be the reason for all of this to happen. The whole time I was staring at the prime decomposition of 98760 on my screen and it finally all ended when Mum went downstairs to make a cup of tea. 

Dad arrived from work about an hour later, when I was reading my maths revision guide in my bedroom because the internet stopped working. I wasn't really reading it. Mostly just staring at the hopeless strings of letters and numbers that filled the page and the page after that and the page after that. 

Dad came in when I was on page twenty-four.

'' I heard you had a detention from mosque today''

I sighed. 'Not this- again!' I thought as my patience threatened to brim over the edge.

'' Don't try to deny that you were messing around with Haris'' He went on'' Because I know you would do something like that....''

'' Why do you hate him so much?'' I said, stopping dad in mid-sentence. 

Dad cleared his throat.'' I dont hate him.''

'' Why then, Dad? Why are you trying to stop me from being friends with him''

'' Well, I think he is a-''

''Bad influence. Yeah, I know. But you dont even know him. You're not giving him a chance. You're being unfair''

Dad cleared his throat a second time. '' Just listen to your parents. Leave him out of your life. You have no association with him''

'' But there must be a reason why you think he is a bad influence''

Dad seemed as though he might cave but then muttered,'' Some people are better left with their own kind''

'' Some people like who?'' I said, my eyes flashing dangerously because he thought it was alright to speak about people like that.

'' Now is not the time, Amaan...''

''But why accuse him of being something he is not'' I persisted, aware I was pushing my luck.

''Look, there is no point bringing it all up again'' He snapped.

'' Why though? Whats the big deal? He is only a friend....''

'' LEAVE IT!'' He exploded,'' Honestly, know when to back off'' He said as he left the room,anger flooded through his veins.

You would expect me to rampage or get angry back or make a big scene, but I just ripped page twenty-four out of my revision guide and threw it on the floor where it crumpled into a big ball of white paper and no strings of letters or numbers to speak of and that was the only evidence in the whole world that something inside of me felt broken...



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