“shga3ed tsaween ihny baba ??” my dad asked me taking a look at 3ali as if acknowledging his presence .

“wala shay baba bas yait a5eth el walkman malee” I answered , my heart was beating fast .. it’s definitely not the time for my dad to find out.

“ umm, ha 3ali wain raye7 ?? ” dad turned to the other side

“ la 3amy bas kent ba6la3 atmasha bara” we both seemed very nervous

I grabbed my walkmen , and gave my dad the keys “be’3ait shay baba ?” I asked

“ Ee aby a5eth el thermos kan bel sayara” he said as he also grabbed it from the driver’s side and he walked with me back to the chalet.

Till this day I’m not sure whether he suspected something or not, all I know is he never talked about it, so I assumed he didn’t hear a thing.

Next week ... the gathering was in our house.

After I helped my mom through dinner going up and down the stairs to bring this and that to the buffet in the basement, I was exhausted. I went up and threw myself on the couch to catch my breath...

‘wain 3ali ?? , I was so busy with the dinner, I haven’t even seen him !! hmm’ I thought to myself

I have a thing .. when I’m in a crowd and I’m surrounded with people, I tend to slack back and take a few minutes for myself to be alone .. Before going back to the social GALA

So I got up and went to the front door .. I opened the door and got out ... I sat on the small balcony in the front porch ... I just stayed there for a couple of minutes thinking of no particular thing...

“ AALLOOO .. ALLOOO , ee asma3ek el7een !! ee gool !!” 3ali said as he got out of the house and closed the door behind him.

He didn’t notice me sitting in the corner, he walked a few steps forward talking with his pal, and when he ended the call and turned around .. HE smiled ..

“ Curls !!! shetsaween ga3da bara ???” HE exclaimed

“Umm ... wala shay” I smiled

He came closer to where I’m sitting and stood right in front of me ..

“Ha how was ur graduation ??” I asked

“ GOOD walla wanasa , 6ela3t ma3a rab3y after the ceremony .. it was fun” he answered

We talked a bit more about random stuff ...

“ so shno m8adem el7een , wain ib tadres??” I asked

“I’m thinking of staying at school for year 12 ..” He said

“9ij !! ZAAIN ..” I was thrilled coz I knew he intended to study abroad , this would mean more time together..

“BAS ..” he started

“BAS what ??”

“oboy ygool a7sanly I start now .. its an advantage for me since I graduated early .. so I thought I would study medicine abroad” He explained

“OH .. but ... but that means .. umm .. “ I wanted to say a lot of things .. I wanted to tell him not to go .. I wanted him to stay here where I could see him every Thursday .. I wanted him near.. but I didn’t say anything “Yeah , that’s great .. you’ve always wanted to be a doctor” I ended my sentence, and forced a smile on my face.

“I already did my papers, bas na6er I get accepted for the scholarship” He said

“aha” I couldn’t reply, I couldn’t talk .. my eyes started stinging so I turned around..

“I have to go now” I said as I pushed the door and went inside.

There was something in me that wanted to stop HIM, he cant go .. he cant leave me here alone .. what am I going to do ??

It was all so fast, I didn’t have the time to take it all in, I would still wake up at the morning thinking that it was all just a dream.

He told me once that he regrets not telling me earlier about his feelings, and it kept me wondering why when it was just perfect, he had to go ?

His date of departure was decided, he was to go in early September .. which leaves us only a few weeks.

And on the last week before he left ..

I was adjusting my 7ijab in the mirror when I heard 3ali’s mom talking

“3ali, wadait el 7ilo 7ag el ryayeel ??” she asked

“ee Yuma”I heard his voice and turned around

“w etha taboon el chay mawjood bel ma6ba5”she said as she headed upstairs

“inshallah” He said as he turned around and motioned to me to follow him

I held my ground as I wondered what he would possibly want with me.

“ta3alay”it was the first time he ever called me

“laish?”I was suspicious now

“ta3alay agoolich”

I slowly made my way to where he was and followed him to the reading room in their house. He stopped there.

He opened a drawer and grabbed a small cream envelope.

“this is for you” He said as he handed it to me without looking into my eyes.

“what is this??”I smiled

Of course I knew what that was, it was a letter for sure, my first love letter.

I ran my fingers through the lap of the envelope; I meant to read it right then.

“la2 egreeha ba3dain, when ur alone” he said, his head still lowered; his shoes suddenly seemed interesting to him :P

“sure” I replied

We had a moment of silence.

“3ali u will keep in touch, wont you?, I mean when u go there”

“I don’t know how its gonna be in there, but I will try as much as I can”

I nodded and went upstairs to place the letter where no one could see it.

The night ended and we said our goodbyes only by stealing glances and stares.

Two days after he left and I felt empty, I felt the wind blowing right through me, I felt drained out of my energy.. I laid in bed and grabbed the small cream envelope from my bed side drawer and read.

‘I know I’m leaving, but you’ll always be with me ... in my heart’