Prelude: The Rocking Horse

I emerged from freshman year in university with an unlikely 3.42 GPA and a crack in my heart the size of my heart itself.

It is always like that with first love.

I shed a few kilos, was continuously 20 minutes late for my early lectures and rarely shaved. Nothing made sense anymore. The pain of the breakup hurt, but the “we know” sympathetic look in the eyes of my friends is what killed me.

The long road to healing started with a decision. My decision was very simple and straightforward; whatever behavior associated with broken-hearts I’d do the exact opposite. I am sometimes like that. If broken-hearts people did badly in their studies, I am going to do excellent. If broken-hearts lost weight then I am going to gain extra weight. That is when I committed to two much-loathed activities; studying and working out.

I got the GPA that enabled me to go further with my studies in a very competitive environment (and a little luck really) and gained a few kilograms that would give people the social permission to come up to me and say things like “you look good”

But really, I am getting off the topic here. What I wanted to talk to you about are the people that are shoved into your path by destiny to unknowingly help you out of what you at that time believe is the end of the world.

My savior knew nothing of my severe condition, yet she showed more compassion than anyone who did. She came in the form of my English Communication skills lecturer which I easily aced without opening a book.

My Professor believed in me like no one did. I heard a lot of people say to me through my still-young life “You have lots of potential” but few people acted upon it. My Prof loved my compositions and always asked me about them after lectures. She said I’d be a great writer someday and maybe this blog wouldn’t have existed if it weren’t for her encouragements. One day she told me to remain after class. She said that the university is holding a competition for creative writing and that I should participate. I said I’ll try. It is very like me not to commit to anything, early on. But at that moment I decided to commit to it.
I racked my brains for days trying to come with something semi-decent but couldn’t write a single sentence. I would write a sentence and then scribble it off brushing it away as tacky or worse; artificial, soulless. Then one night after midnight while waiting for then-newly released music video “Bye Bye Bye” of ‘N Sync on MTV India, a light bulb flashed in my head. I started writing and writing and writing. The dawn was breaking, creatures of the night were crawling to their hideouts and birds chirped like I never knew they could. It was 4 in the morning when I finished writing yet the time that passed felt like it was only the 5 minutes that ‘N Sync would harshly and squeekily declare that it ain't no lie. I handed my piece over the next day but my Prof said that the deadline has already passed. I was disappointed yet relieved. I didn’t want anyone to read what I wrote. She said she’ll hold onto it for next year’s competition, which I thought was a white lie that that I was learning that adults like to do every now and then, just because they can, and because no one can commit to anything that long, especially a Prof with classes to teach, assignments to mark, and grades to be given.

But after one, whole year a friend told me my name was hung on the announcement board to report to the Language center. Again, I cynically thought it had to do with my oppositely shameful performance in Arabic Communication skills, rather it was an invitation to read my piece out in front of an audience of students, professors and the Dean of the university.

I won.

My Prof handed me a neat, printed copy of my piece, dotted with punctuation marks and resolved grammar mistakes. I thanked her but she was the one who said it to me..

You have lots of potential. You're the one who won..


sara said...

potential says it all :)

no no,

potential DOES it all :D

ur story is stuck in my head now :)

Rami M. said...

Mabrouk, but what did you won!

Rami M. said...

sorry win :)

7aki Fadi said...


There are those people who do something big or small that leaves an imprint on you for your whole life. I love people like your teacher.

i*maginate said...

wow :)

Al Ramahi said...

Hmmmm, interesting! Those people really make a difference. They are few yet they affect your life forever!! One must hold on to these people cause they surely can change your life :)

Expated in Dubai said...

@Sara, I agree completely with you
@Rami, hehe I won some shitty encyclopedia set and pen. But it's not the material stuff that counts, right?
@7aki fadi, yeah I liked that teacher too, no wonder I took a second course with her
@i*maginate, sanx..
@Al Ramahi, yeah they do make a difference..your display pic looks great..

Anonymous said...

I love this post. Exactly, each word is re-say of my story! ya weird! great!

Expated in Dubai said...

Glad, you felt a connection :)

Elizabeth said...
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Sasha Grey said...
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