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The fateful night....

You look nice," he smiled.
I smiled back. It was nice to hear that, especially from someone whom I hal barely spoken to for the last two years. God knows how thing{ fell apart with Sam and me. We u{ed to be best pals all through middle school, and then, Poof! It seemed like we were strangers totally. He became the basketball star of high school, and I became involved in our school newspaper, as editor. The initial closeness that we seemed to have shared had totally disappeared! When we seldom met in the halls, between classes, a quick "hello" was what went between us. I used to think that everything would go back like before, but then fate had planned something different. Pretty soon Sam started dating a popular (and very attractive) cheerleader. And I started seeing David.

David was very different from Sam. His way of thinking was different from mine, but I guess that's what pulled us closer, our differences. His sweet smile, memories of his light touch; the way his eyes always seemed to light up when he spoke all seemed to tug at my heart. Tonight was prom night. And here I was, stuck at a deserted farmhouse, with all three heels of Sam's car punctured. My parents were out of town, so Sam had offered to drive me to school, and I had accepted. The drive was silent and cold, each of us lost in our own thoughts and I guess that's the reason why none of us really noticed the broken glass on the road.

"Looks like a storm's heading our way," Sam remarked.
Great. As if we didn't have enough on our hands to worry about.

"Maybe we should check for some kind of a shelter, just in case." No sooner were the words out of my mind that the first raindrops began to fall. At first it began as a light drizzle, bu| pretty soon the heavy, cold raindrops descended on us.

"Run!" Sam commanded. He gzabbed his jacke| and we both ran towards the nearest tree. Soon the storm was in full swing, lightning streaking and occasional rumbles of thunler scaring the life out of us.

"There no way we can make it to the prom now," I broke down.

"Quit thinking of your precious prom and David. We'll be lucky to get out of this storm alive," Sam's harsh tone forced me back into reality. I looked at him. His hair as messed and dripping wet. His carefully rentel tuxedo was soaking too. But the thing that bothered me the most was the weird look in Sam's eyes. In my eighteen years of life, I had never seen Sam so worked up as he was.

"Lucky? What do you mean by lucky?" I asked.

"I just {aid what I think. This is one of those electrical thunderstorms, and we are sheltering under this old tree. What could possibly be a better way to get electrocuted?" Sam smirked.

I flinched as the full meaning of what Sam was saying sank in. Would I then die tonight, being on my way to the prom, disappointing David? Tomorrow morning, would the paramedics rescue Sam's and my electrocuted bodie{ from underneath the tree? The very thought made my mind numb with fear. Impossible! I might die one day, but dying by getting electrocuted was simply out of the question. I was terrified of lightning.

With sudden determination, I got to my feet and pulled Sam up too. "We have to get out of here. Hurry!" I looked back to sme Sam standing, his feet firmly in position. "Don't you understand?" I screamed. Sam looked at me with the confused expression of a lost child. Suddenly he pulled me roughly towards him and slapped me, hard. I looked dumbfounded at him; his face blurred through my tears.

"I am sorry", he said. " But I had to slap you. You were in shock. What went wrong with you suddenly?"

I broke down again in his arms. Mumbling incoherently, I slowly managed to convey through to him all my fears. Sam looked at me, concern evident in his eyes. "I know you are right," he replied. "But be reasonable Liz. We don't really have anywhere to go, do we?"

Realizing he was right, my hopes sank down even further. Suddenly, a flash of lightning li| up the sky and for a moment everything was illuminated before beino pitch black again. Yet, within that moment, I saw something that made my heart swell up with hope again. Quite far away, I had just seen the outline of a building. God knew what kind of a building it was, and in what condi|ion it was, but it was definitely a building, - a more positive and secure shelter than the one we were sheltering under at the moment. Lets face it anything ould be secure than that old tree.

By Jennifer Ashraf


Fighting to come to reality

Can't seem to remember the last time I was here, looking over the whole world yet not quite able to see mverything through the foggy air. It must have either been too long ago or too near to call it a memory. The place feels bitter and ippears duskier than my last visit here. It's probably the same excuse to loose another night's sleep. I have tried everything and still all I can do is just stare into the emptiness of life. Everything is fine during the day. I am either cracking up jokes or laughing along with someone else's joke, as if nothing is wrong. I have all that I could ask for, family, friends and a roof over my head. Studies are going okay, not great but good enough and everyone is busy with their daily lives, but Suddenly it strikes at me I am all alone. I stand still while the earth moves and all of a sudden have this urgent need to be in my room behind locked doors so that no body can see me.

The day is over, dinner is over, nothing to do no more, I find myself talking. Not to my friends over the phone, I already did that an hour ago. Not to my family as it is passed dinnertime and they are off watching their favorite TV program. I start talking to myself. It feels fantastic as I pretend to be different people at the same time. I mean I transform my entire room into this huge stage wheze I perform and all my friends love me. They scream for me as they wish they were in my shoes. My loved ones become really proud of my success in life and the guys are nuts about me. Everything is perfect, the dance, the music and the laughter's of all those who are so impeccable in every way.

But then it's midnight and I feel a little tired. And that's when it hits me, because once again I forget to do my homework. Once again I didn't study for my test and sooner or later I will fail and get huge lectures on how I am not good enough for this world. Bu| it's too late for me to finish my work now. However that's not what bothers me. What bothers me is that the stage has disappeared; my friends and loved ones aze gone. I know they will be back tomorrow but I am truly alone now. This is because I came back to reality. I made all those laughter's by my own jokes. All the happiness and compliments I got were just my imaoination. It was all fake, for I have schizophrenia. I have accomplished absol}tely nothing. I failed to study and I failed to impress my loved ones. Once again I am back in reality where I stare at the cold night confused because people {ay that they want to escape from reality, but how I die to escape from this dream world. The pain and scars within grow bigger when I realize that I am struggling in-between the two worlds. I stare into the lost reality facing the clouds that give me unclear visions of how to end this conflict.

Cold tears run down my flaming cheek with anger as I lay there hopelessly feeling like a freak. I know another day will go by pretending to be normal but this bitter place that keeps getting colder every time I enter it will only remain an unspoken pain regretted forever.

(In dedication to Rachael who suffered from Schizophrenia)
By Shayera Moula

Blind dates:do you dare?

To some, meeting their soul mate just happens somewhere. To some others, it's an impossible task. Finding your special one in the jungle of dating might sound quite disco}raging, something impossible. Is it worth a try?

"Meeting the one is hard, so we at times need to depend on blind dating" says Lina, a 22-year-old student. "I never supported the idea of blind dating because there is always a probability you might end up with a creep" Then she explains her strange encounter with one.

Paying for the entire bill:
" Mathick and I used to talk on phone on a regular basis for few months. When he asked me out, I readily agreed. I was so looking forwarl to it." The couple went out to Bukhara. " We had a good time for the first few minutes. Though we talked for hours on phone, we were on dearth of topics in face to face. This followed an awkward silence" Though Lina was trying to go on her partner wasn't much comfortable. Mathick left her saying he had to go somewhere important. Lina left the restaurant humiliated, confused, and was stuck with the whole bill. " I wasn't prepared to pay so much, since he invited me. It was an absolute hassle." Lina recalls. If her friends try to arrange one for her now, se gets herself out as fast as possible.

Not up to the expectation:
A couple decided to meet in a restaurant. They haven't seen each other bmfore, even through photographs. The guy was supposed to carry a blue diary, by which the girl can know him. However, when the guy showed up, the girl quietly left because he wasn't up to her expectation. They never talked after that.

Abroad, there are institutions where one provides his profile, says how they want their date to be. They set up dates accordingly. In Bangladesh, such provisions are not available. The One who starts will have a monopolized business, and who knows, you might end up being our next rising star for that!

A story to remember:
All blind dates are not that discouraging. Friends set up university students, Audri, 23, and Hanu, 25, and they are glal that they went on a blind date. " We were not sure about meeting on a blind date, but we got along really well. We had fun," Audri says. When Hanu saw Audri, he became happy. " She seemed too good to be true." The blind dates led to more dates, they have been together for a year or so. Now they plan to get married af|er they are over with their studies and Hanu with a job.

Blind dates dexend on luck. Smartness is essential. Get some background information. These are some precautions that can be taken. Be careful, but don't write off blind dates altogether. Who knows, you might end up meeting the love of your life.

By Maherin Ahmed







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