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Read Story: SEASON 1 EPISODE 1

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I never thought this day will come. Ya

Allah I am going to college, and not just

any college, the most well-known private

college in England. Ever since we arrived

in Bradford 6 years ago, that’s the only

thing I looked forward too. I am tired of

seeing my mother cleaning people’s

houses for money. I kept going back to

all the things my family had to face to

get here and how long it took for me to

stand here, in front of my very first class

in college. After standing in front of class

for more than a century, yeah that’s how

long it felt like. I finally took a breath and

stepped into my Business

Communication class. I was early as

usual, but I didn’t seem to mind it. I have

always been early; it’s just a habit I

guess. I looked at my watch and the

time was 10:45 am. The class was about

to start in 15 minutes and there was still

not even a single soul in class. I

remember back home in Turkey, all the

kids use to come to class super early just

so we can all talk about our days and

discuss our homework. How different it

is here in England, everything seems so

fast, even though I have been here for

almost 6 years, everything still seems all

foreign. I have only one friend, her name

is Sobia who works with her mother at

a bakery shop near our flat, but she

doesn’t go to college so I don’t even see

her that often.

When I finally looked up from the

sketches that I started drawing when I

got lost in my thoughts, I noticed that

the class was starting to get full. All the

kids were coming in, wearing top-notch

clothes, girls with expensive handbags

and jewelry. That’s the only thing that

kept me worried for all these days. I was

not like these people. I was from a

middle-class immigrant family, who still

had an accent and had a laptop that was

given to me by my mother’s boss 4 years

ago. The only reason why I was here is

because somehow I turned out to be

smart in high school and got a full

scholarship here; otherwise not even in

a million years I would imagine coming

here.

I keep looking around, hoping that

maybe, just maybe someone would

actually sit beside me and maybe say hi.

Why was it like that? Was I really that

invisible that nobody would want to sit

next to me or even smile? Stop it, I told

myself. I can’t let these days get in my

way. I can’t let people affect me like that.

The teacher finally came into the

classroom. From the moment he walked

it, I knew he will be a good teacher. I

could tell. My mom tells me it’s a gift. I

can sense it I guess. It doesn’t take me

long to figure out what people want or

how they are. Instantly, my teacher

looked up to the entire class and

introduced himself. After introducing

himself, he directed everyone in the class

to stand up one at a time and introduce

themselves and tell a fact about

themselves. Since I was sitting all the

way in the back, I was thankful that I am

not going to be the first one to speak.

When other students started

introducing themselves, they used facts

like how they have visited tropical

beaches, how they plan on starting their

own business, how big their house is,

and what their favorite 5-star hotel is

and so on. Jeez, my turn was coming

soon and I had no idea what to say. I

just didn’t know. There wasn’t any cool

fact about me that anyone here could

relate to. Facts about me are too silly, too

obvious, and too ordinary. I can’t tell

people that I am one of those weird

people who likes the sound of thunder,

or who still watches cartoon with my

little brother every Sunday morning, or

who loves cooking and going on long

walks with my mother.

My turn was the next one, after a girl

few desks away from me finished telling

the class about how she attended Paris

Fashion Week last summer, all the eyes

turned towards me. I instantly felt self-

conscious but I didn’t let it show on my

face. I placed my hands on the steady

myself as I rose up from the chair.

“Hello everyone” I said with a smile. But

again only saw wondering silent eyes

reflecting back. “Well my name is Laila

Barakat, I came to England 6 years ago. I

live with my mother and brother. He is

11 years old and loves playing football.

There isn’t any cool fact about me really.

I volunteer at an animal shelter in the

weekends and I received a full

scholarship from this college and this is

how I got here.” I said all of that as fast

as I could, without taking any break in

between and sat back down

immediately.

When the class introduction was over, I

kind of felt relieved. It felt liberating to

let everyone know who you are and why

you have the right to be right to be here

just like everyone else. My teacher

continued on with his lecture, but I still

saw some heads turning my way. I was

used to this type of a reaction. The same

thing happened to me in high school as

well. Nobody wanted to talk to me, to

get to know me, all they did was stare at

me. I was the only girl in this entire

college who wore a hijab. There were

other muslim girls in my class too, but

even they didn’t talk to me.

When the teacher started his

powerpoint slides, I opened up my the

Notepad on my laptop and started

taking notes. After typing what felt like

hours, I suddenly heard someone sitting

down next to me. I looked up and saw

pair of brown fierce eyes. I saw him for

the first time; he did look like someone

straight out of magazine.

“Do you mind?” He said, looking

annoyed. So he was one of those guys,

who knew they were good looking and

just couldn’t bother to be nice to people.

Of course.

“You are sitting on my bag so you are

the one who should mind.” I said back

to him. My bag was stuck under the

chair leg.

He looked at me as if I was speaking in

Gibberish. After staring at me for a few

seconds, at last he moved his chair and I

picked up my bag and placed it on my

lap. I went back to typing my notes but I

still felt him stealing a glance or two my

way. The class went on and on and for

the homework my teacher, Mr. Charlie

assigned us to write a report on

different communication channels that

we use in today’s society. I took down

all the notes and closed my laptop. The

lights turned back on and I gather all of

the stuff and placed it in my bag and

head out.

I was waiting at the bus stop when I

saw some of my classmates getting into

their cars and driving off, but not him.

The guy who was sitting next to me in

the class was just sitting on his bike and

looking my way. I tried ignoring him and

starting wishing for the bus to come a

little early. I adjusted my red hijab and

clenched my bag a little tighter. Why is

the bus taking so long? Jeez. I better call

my mother to see if she can pick Sabir,

my little brother from school today. I

dipped my hand in my bag to only find

out that it was missing. I checked my

bag, and the pockets of my jacket and I

still didn’t find it.

“Looking for this?” I heard a familiar

voice from across the street. When I

looked up, I saw him again. Yes that guy,

who else. I could see an evil spirit in him

already. I saw my dearly blackberry in his

hand, and without a second thought, I

marched across the street and extended

my right hand. “This is mine” I said.

“And?” He chuckled. I can’t believe this

guy! What does he think of himself?

“And it’s mine so give it back” I snapped

back almost snatching it from his hand

but he was quicker than me.

“Not without a price” He smirked.

“I don’t pay for what’s mine” I fired

back.

“Oh but I don’t give things back that

easily, darling!”

“I am not your darling, now give it back

or else I’ll call the security.” I tried to

scare him. Honestly, I had no idea how

to call the security; I didn’t even see any

guards in the school.

“What’s your name?” He asked me.

“None of your business.” I stood there

with my hands crossed over my chest.

“Now stop wasting my time, I have to

make a phone call”.

“Give me your name and the phone is

yours” He demanded again.

“Fine, Laila.” I said it and snatched my

phone from his hands successfully this

time and started walking away. I can’t

believe this guy.

“I’ll see you soon Laila” He yelled back,

mocking me clearly.

“You wish” I mumbled back. There is no

way I’ll be sitting next to him in class

from now on.

I called my mother and told her to pick

up Sabir and got inside the bus. Few

minutes later I received a text from

Sobia who wanted to meet up so I

replied back instantly with a yes and

headed straight to her bakery. I

desperately needed some of her auntie’s

homemade cupcakes.


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