I missed college so much after I finished it in March 2008. Many times I would wish that the graduation course should have been for 4 years instead of 3. Whilst during the college I would wonder to myself ''When will this all come to an end'' and not realizing that when it would come to an end it would hurt a lot.
During the final 3rd year of graduation, Afrah and I had spent a good amount of time together every day and not even weekends could separate us. It would be highly abnormal for both of us if we didn't meet for a couple of days and 3 days at a stretch. One time when we had holidays after our internal exams and it was about 3 days that Afrah and I hadn't seen each other. We lived pretty much nearby so generally I used to call her before going to her place and when i did this time she seemed excited about meeting and I think it was the first time i had heard her excitement for meeting ME.
After another 15-20 minutes when I arrived at her house, I started walking towards her area (well she had a big ancestral house wherein she was allotted an apartment sort of area which only belonged to her). Once I reacher to the door of her bedroom I knocked only to see Afrah immediately opening the bedroom door with a big smile on her face which made me wonder if she has something special going on which i am not aware of.
I had my bag slung on my shoulder and I was still wearing my abaya as I entered her room. She immediately closed it, turned around and gave me a hug while saying ''Man! I missed you so much''. As much happy as I was to receive that hug I was shocked because expecting these sort of cuddly things from Afrah Hameed is like expecting Adolf Hitler to talk about Peace and Love. Then, I started thinking to myself that maybe she was bored for 3 days and this hug is just the result of that boredom. So here was this hug and Here I was waiting for it to get over because it is generally the other way round, I hug afrah and she waits for me to leave her. I pat her back gently indicating ''This is long enough, I can't hold my breath for any longer'' but she was really determined to express how much she missed me through her hug. It finished, and I was awe-struck at what had happened. This, was Afrah Hameed the girl who would give me a killer look when i would previously even take a step ahead to hug before bidding goodbye.
Time had changed her I think. When she had to leave for Saudi to be with her family in the summer holidays after our 1st year's final exams. I remember I was sitting with her in the balcony of her first apartment. That was our favorite place to hang out at, The balcony was big enough to accommodate 2 chairs, it had a big curtain spread across it tied from one side to another providing no access for the onlookers to know whats going on in the balcony. As our usual ritual after an exam we bought a 1.5 liter bottle of ThumsUp and were drinking it sitting in the balcony. This time, however, it was different because today was the last exam and couple of days from today Afrah would be flying home. The thought of not being able to spend time with my probably the only close friend had made me very uncomfortable so i got up from my chair and sat partially on the edge of the balcony looking into the dark sky and the very little stars which appeared that night. A sigh left my body, a lump of pain formed in my throat and uninvited tears emerged in my eyes as I said ''Why do you have you go so soon?''. ''The tickets are already booked Shireen'' replied Afrah in a straight rough voice and at that moment I knew that it didn't matter much to her that she is going away because she knew she would be back soon in a couple of months. For me, I felt as if i am going to face an eternity of loneliness.
I turned my face in the other direction avoiding to look at her for she may see my tears. ''Can't you extend it for a week at least?'' I finally asked knowing the answer very well. ''No, I can't yaar, It's just couple of months'' replied afrah somewhat sympathetically. She got up from her chair and walked towards me, She noticed the tears that had formed in my eyes and said ''I will be online and we can chat, it won't be so bad''. Little did she know. ''Yeah sure, But I am going to miss you'' i replied hopelessly. ''Don't get so emotional yaar'' Afrah said and then I realized I am indeed too emotional. I must be more realistic, practical and emotionless like Afrah.
Alhamdulillah, after 3 years of friendship Afrah had changed in a way I could never think she could. In the 3rd year, Afrah's cousin sister was getting married and both of us were either busy with shopping or picking up clothes or ensuring that nothing's missing. It seemed as if my cousin sister was getting married and to be honest even if she was I would not work even this much in it. Afrah and I were coming back home from a boutique while walking towards the gate of her house and she said the wonderful words which still make me smile in the most difficult times ''Shireen its like we are not even friends any longer, *i took a gasp* Its like we are sisters man!''