Mahiha, an Excerpt
By Maiesha Muntaki
Mahiha is a girl who is transitioning from high school to college life. She experiences being in love and feeling sad because of fake friends. This is an excerpt.
We stood near the big field, terrified of how to get back home alone. It’s not like we didn’t know the route, but it was getting darker. We were afraid of what might happen if we tried to walk home by ourselves. My friend kept saying, “It’s going to be okay,” but I could see tears in her eyes. I prayed to god to keep us safe. My friend and I go to this tutoring center daily, but an adult usually accompanies us. Today, however, my aunt only walked us halfway there, leaving us to walk up to the tutoring center on our own. The door was closed, and we knocked on it. A girl’s voice answered, saying, “Your teacher won’t be teaching today.” The center was actually in the tutor’s house, so when we knocked on the door, it was the tutor’s daughter who answered.
We were looking at each other’s worried faces. I thought maybe my aunt hadn’t walked too far back and that we could probably catch up with her. So, we ran to look for her, but she was long gone. Strangers were passing by. Whenever we saw one, we’d get scared, as thoughts like, “‘What if they approach us and do something horrible to us?” ran through my head. So, that’s when it all started. We stood there for about half an hour without a clue how to get home. Our principal’s house was near the center. Also, my aunt’s her colleague, so we decided to walk to her house for help. We knocked on her door and explained the situation. She let us in and told us to take a seat. She called my aunt to pick us up from her house. We were relieved after she made the call.
We were sitting in the living room. I heard someone walking toward the living room, so I looked in that direction. So did my friend. The door had curtains in it, so we could only see their legs when the person came near the door. While staring at it, I noticed a scar on one of their toes. It looked more like a design. It seemed interesting, and I kept looking at it while it kept coming closer. Their feet stopped. I wondered why it stopped moving. So, I looked up from the bottom to the top in almost slow motion. As I did, I noticed their denim pants and shirt, and finally, when my eyes stopped at his face, I saw broad eyes and a confusingly annoyed expression. “What are you looking at, you weirdo?” He said. Judging from his voice, I could tell he knew. “No. Nothing, I was just looking at the floor. It seems very shiny.” I stuttered. Both my friend and he looked at the floor. When I actually looked at the floor, I stammered, “Umm, I meant to say very dusty.” “Dumbhead.” He said as he went out the door.
That night as we were terrified, we were very silent on our way back with my aunt, but I was intrigued by that tattoo-like scar I saw. I kept thinking of it over and over after getting home. The next day at school, I went into the main office to talk to my aunt to get some bucks for lunch. I went straight to my aunt without looking around. I stood near my aunt. But while she was looking for them in her purse, I heard a familiar voice behind my back. I heard my principal reply to that voice. I thought to myself, why does it sound so much like the voice of yesterday’s cocky bitch. I turned to look, and my eyes got wider, and I thought to myself, what’s this bitch doing here? Anyways, I should just mind my business.
The longer I waited there, the more I felt like someone’s stare was shooting through me. It was obvious, so I rushed my aunt. “Aunty! Is your cash lost in a jungle? I’m starving.” She took out a few bucks, and instantly I snatched it from her. The moment I turned around, our eyes met. I looked up to the ceiling right away and kept walking like that. “Why are you walking like a giraffe?” My aunt asked. “Cuz the ceiling looks attractive today. See you later Aunty! Thanks for the money”. As I was walking out, every teacher in the office kept looking at me. I felt fumes coming out of my face and head. Gosh, it was so embarrassing!! What would the teachers think of me now?
“Goodness, you took forever, Mahiha,” Cora, one of my best friends, said with irritation. “My aunt kept looking for the cash like it was lost in a black hole. I’m sorry! Let’s hurry to the store now.” I said. We had to wait a little to buy our pastries since we came late because there were other students already. When it was finally our turn, two girls skipped the whole line and said, “two strawberry ones please.” I was like, what the heck. Where did these bishes come out of nowhere? “Excuse me. It’s actually our turn now,” I said. One of them, who had glasses on, said, “oh, we didn’t know. We’ll move to the back..” But then, while going back, one of them, with a mean face, said in a low voice, “What’s the deal? She could’ve just let us buy since we were already there. She didn’t need to be petty about it.” I didn’t try to drag the matter, so I just ignored it.
It’s one of my best friends’ birthdays today. While buying the pastry cakes, Cora asked if they could add more cream to the big one. “Are you sure? That’s a lot of sugar. You two are going to be in a sugar coma.,” the lady said. “It’s fine,” Cora said. We actually aren’t good with it. But that’s what Quinn loves. So, since it’s her birthday, we have to bear with it. Quinn stayed back in the classroom due to some homework she hadn’t finished. So, this was the best shot to surprise her.
“Happy Birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to our dear Quinn! Happy birthday to you!” We sang it while walking towards Quinn with the little cake. She smiled so big, and that was like the cutest thing ever. We placed the cake on the desk, and she cut the cake. She fed a bit of it to each of us. Just to have fun, I put a little of the cake’s cream on Quinn’s face. “Ohhh you are dead now Mahiha,” Quinn said. I ran out of the classroom and came out to the hallway while laughing about it. “‘I’m gonna get you anyways, bitch.” Quinn said out loud. She came running after me with a pastry cake that had the most cream on it. We kept running in the hallway until I heard, “Mahiha, catch!” I instantly turned back and tried catching it instead, without even thinking. I’m a very passionate softball player. I even caught it. My hands were above my head with the piece of pastry cake in it and a little of its cream on my head. I thought to myself, why does the cake feel harder and like someone’s nose. I touched over the thing to feel what I might’ve touched. Quinn stopped laughing. Her face was so shocked and got panicky. I could tell from her face that someone’s behind me. I squeezed my eyes and thought to myself, “Shit! Shit! Shit! I’m screwed.” I turned to my back to see who it was. Oh no, what? Of all people, it had to be this bitch? Wtf! I’m doomed today.
It was my principal’s son. When I turned around and looked at him, he looked very enraged. I straight started saying sorry and then asked if he’s okay. For an instant, it seemed like he was about to roll a bulldozer over me, but then he changed his expression and said, “It’s really okay. Don’t worry. I’m fine. I’ll just clean myself in the bathroom.” He turned around, walked a step forward, and stopped. He looked at me, and he asked, “Where’s the boys’ bathroom?” “It’s actually at the end of the hallway.” I answered. I hit Quinn. “Bitch couldn’t you see him coming. Why’d you throw it? What if he tells his mom?” I said. “I had no idea he was coming. My eyes were only on you.” Quinn said. “What will I do now? Quinnnnn”. “Don’t worry she’ll understand if we explain what happened. It was just some cake, not some acid that you threw onto his face. Not a big deal. But that would be very petty of him if he tells his mom about this.” Quinn said. Quinn doesn’t know anything about what might happen to me. Even if the principal understands, my aunt won’t. She cares a lot about her reputation.
I was thinking of the accident the whole day. The more I thought of it, the more it made me anxious. I was also wondering why he tried acting kindly when we could totally see how angry he seemed. I don’t know what his reasons are, but hopefully, he doesn’t tell his mom. “…hiha. Ma..hiha..” I heard someone calling my name. “MAHIHA!” My teacher shouted my name. I got startled. “I know what you’ve been doing,” he said. I started freaking out. Oh my god, has he heard it from him? What’ll happen to me? Will I have to transfer schools? But I would be lonely if I went to another school. Then, I would be bullied. My misery starts now. No! Save me! Someone! Anyone! “…ha. Mah..iha…..MAHIHA!” My teacher shouted my name again.
Mahiha had math class that period. However, she was so busy thinking about the accident that she even forgot what class it was. They were learning PEMDAS, the most basic algebraic fundamental. Mr. Matt noticed Mahiha and thought to himself with so much excitement, “Yes! I’ve caught a fish!” In the last three years he has worked at this school, students rarely failed tests, arrived late to school, or struggled with paying attention. Sometimes, he regretted coming to this school because of how picture-perfect his students are. His heart ached to be able to pick on the students’ flaws, but there were almost none to be found. What’s the point of teaching if I can’t scold these little brats once in a while. “For the first time in forever, my student is being a student. For the first time in forever, I get to fulfill my role. For the time in foreverrrr…” Oh my god! This bit** is so obsessed with his job that he’s even singing. These folks are always going beyond and above. Mr. Matt shouted with all the energy he had and smiled as he enjoyed his privilege. “Now tell me, what is M?” Mr. Matt asked Mahiha. Mahiha thought to herself, “Why the heck is he asking such an unrelated simple question in math. Well, maybe Mr. Matt is still having a hard time fitting in as a teacher.” “Ummm.” Mahiha made a sound. “Come on. This isn’t a riddle.” Mr. Matt said. “M is an alphabet.” Said Mahiha with a duh face. Everyone started laughing, and Mahiha looked around confusingly.
“What?” Said Mr. Matt in excited surprise. “This is amazing. It’s the best day everrrr.” Mr. Matt thought to himself. “Everyone quiet down, and Mahiha, see me after class.” Mr. Matt said. As he started explaining the lesson on the board, he sang out loud with excitement, “It’s the best day ever.” The whole class had their mouths open in surprise and gazed at their teacher. Right after that, he froze and turned his head to the class and said, “Well, it’s the best day ever to teach you all.” “Ohhhh,” uttered the whole class. The class ended, and Mr. Matt told Mahiha to come with him to the office. Mahiha quickly stopped her teacher and said, “I’m really very sorry, Mr. Matt.”’ She pleaded with puppy dog eyes. “How could I not forgive you when you’re apologizing like this. It’s okay. I just wanted to talk with you about it because I’ve never seen you zoning out like that,” he said. “I’m fine. I just couldn’t concentrate. No need to go to the teacher’s lounge.” She said. Mahiha went back to class.
I sat down in my seat. Quinn sits behind me, so she leaned forward with a concerned look on her face and asked, “What happened?” as soon as Mahiha sat down. “Nothing happened. I explained to Mr. Matt. Mr. Matt understood me and let me go.” I said. Some group of girls in our class were talking about me. They said, “how come Mr. Matt let that bitch go this early?” “Who knows? You know, someone’s got her aunt to back her up.” “Oh she’s so privileged to be able to get away from any trouble. If it were us, they would’ve made a big deal out of it. Makes me wanna puke seeing how disgustingly unfair they are.” Said another girl. “Shhh, she might hear us. Y’all are too loud,” one of the girls from the group said. “So what? I’m not afraid of saying the truth out loud.” It made me upset to hear this, but it wasn’t rare to hear them talking about me like that. I’m tired of hearing people over and over, so I don’t pay much of my mind to it. But I wish this would stop.
The day has come. We finally get to be grown-ass women. I can’t wait to go to our one and only dream college, live in a dorm, and go to parties. We three were waiting to receive the email. “OMG, my heart’s gonna burst out. This is so stressful,” Quinn said. Cora, Quinn, and I have been on a call since we came from school. “I think I got an email. How about y’all?” Cora asked. “So did I,” I said with excitement. “Me toooo!!” Quinn said loudly. “Okay, guys, ready? Open it in three. One. Two. Three.” Cora said. I gasped. “OH MY GODDD, GUYS, I GOT IN! I GOT IN!” I shouted out. “Mahiha, You did itttt. You got into NWC. NWC baby!” Cora said. “I knew you were gonna get in there. I’m so happy for you.” Quinn said. “How about you two?” I asked. Both Cora and Quinn were silent. “Ummm, I didn’t get in,” Quinn said. “Neither did I,” Cora said. “What? Are they kidding? How could they not?” I said angrily. “Although we do wish to go to NWC, but there’s nothing to do if they haven’t accepted us,” Cora said. “But if we all get separated, we won’t be able to see each other often,” Quinn said. “Maybe we can catch up every now and then,” Cora replied. I could hear the sadness in our voices. We had all these plans, but it seemed like they’re hardly going to come true.
It’s been two weeks since I started classes at NWC, but it’s been pretty hard to catch up with Quinn and Cora. I wish I could be with them. It’s not that NWC was the wrong choice. It’s just that things are awkward every day. I tried making friends, but it feels like it’s becoming harder every day. Everyone seems to have made friends already or have known each other before coming to NWC. It was just yesterday when I helped a classmate sitting next to me by telling them what they got wrong when I noticed they got a question wrong. I said, “It’s actually a radical 61 over 4 not 80.” In response, they said, “Yeah, right. Whateva.” I thought they would like me if I helped them, but they seemed more pissed off and annoyed. To be honest, I really wanted to be friends with them. Right when I saw them, my heart even skipped a beat. I think. I really loved their style of clothing and how pretty they are. Ughhhh, am I really that bad at making friends, and am I really that unapproachable. Everything’s going to be fine if I keep trying and give this some more time. Every day has something new.
That took me too long. Right when I was getting out of the stall, a girl just rushed into it by pushing me away as if they didn’t even notice I was there. “Sheesh, at least look around.” They got in and closed the door. I went to the faucet to wash up, but then I heard a loud noise like, “Ahhhhh.” It sounded like it came from that girl’s stall, and it sounded like they’ were in pain. “Are you okay?” I asked. “I’m fine. Ummm, do you have a menstrual pad? If you do, can I please get one?” they asked. “Sure, wait a sec. Here., I gave it to them through the bottom of the door. They opened the door, and their footsteps were so wobbly. I wondered if they’re having severe period pain, so I asked, “Is everything alright?” They replied, “No, I’m f..” But they were so wobbly that they fell on me and passed out. I started freaking out. I was lost on what to do, so I called out for people outside. I was so worried that no one would hear me since the classes have probably started. I kept calling out until someone came. I couldn’t help but think about what I had gotten myself into. Now I’ll have an absence in a class at the beginning of the semester. Ugh. But I hope this person wakes up. Periods are fucking hell. After a while, someone, a staff that was passing by, actually came in. Afterward, they took care of the matter. I was relieved, and I went to my class.
I got to class pretty late, and it seemed like the class was halfway done. It seemed like everyone was working. I explained to the professor what happened. “Hmmm, I see. We’ve started group projects. Since almost everyone’s group is filled up. You can work with Ryuu,” the professor said. I said, “Okie.” He called out the student’s name. Right at that moment, my phone rang, and I looked into my bag to mute it. I muted my phone and then heard the professor saying, “This is Ryuu, Mahiha. He’ll explain everything to you.” “Oh fuck, what is he doing here? Out of all places, why you have to end up here. And out of all the people in this class, why am I getting stuck with this jerk. “Youuuu?” I asked out of shock. “Oh great, do you two know each other already?” “No, I don’t know her,” Ryuu said. Oh, so you’re going to play it that way. Sure, then. It’d be better not to know you anyways. “I don’t know Ryuu either. Ryuu’s face reminded me of a certain someone.” I said. “Well then, Ryuu, this is Mahiha. She’ll be working with you.” As much as I hated it, I had no choice but to go along with it. The group work seemed to have gone well. But Ryuu was rather cold. He divided the work and didn’t really talk much with me about it.
The class ended, and while I was walking out, I was texting Cora and Quinn about the principal’s son. I texted, “Guys, that jerk is in my school.” “Who?” They both texted. “Our school principal’s son. I got stuck with him on a project. He’s so cold and unfriendly.” I texted. My back started to feel cold, as if someone was standing behind me. I looked behind, and I saw Ryuu. I was startled, and I hid my phone instantly. “ Why are you hiding it now? Keep talking shit behind my back.” he said. “I’m sorry.” I said. “You’re lucky I didn’t complain about you to my mom.” “Hey now, that was all a mistake. I’m sorry for that day.” I said. “Whatever. Just get outta my sight. And here’s—” Ryuu was raising his hand, and I thought he was about to hit me. I got scared and squeezed closed my eyes. “Ummm, Hello? Take your jacket.” Ryuu said. I snatched it and walked away as fast as I could.
After coming out of the campus, I texted in the group chat, “Today’s tea is on me. See y’all in 20 mins.” I thought of surprising Cora and Quinn by going early. That’s why I said 20 minutes instead of 10 minutes. I got to the cafe, and I was hiding behind the wall at the entrance. The cafe is actually my uncle’s, so I was free to do anything there. Cora and Quinn sounded frustrated and angry, as if they were having an argument. “It’s not fair that she gets to go to NWC, but we don’t,” Quinn said. “ It’s all probably because of her aunt, Cora added. “Ughhh, being friends with that bitch didn’t really help at all. We only decided to be very close friends with her so that we’d have a greater advantage,” Cora said. “She’s such a loser. She thinks everyone wants to be friends with her. With that kind of social skill, people would think she’s such a nerd and a braggart. haha,” Quinn said. “Also, she’s so lucky that our principal’s son is there. He’s so handsome. I wish we could be with him.” Cora said. “Mahiha is just a dumbass bitch with privileges.” My stomach started to grumble. I couldn’t keep hearing them. I felt sick to my stomach. I went into the bathroom and called Quinn. “I won’t be able to make it today. I’m sorry,” I said. “What happ—” I cut the call without listening to Quinn. I went out the back door to avoid them.
I sat near the lake. Cora and Quinn’s conversation kept repeating in my head over and over. I couldn’t make sense out of it. I felt as if a heavy stone was on my chest. We’ve been friends for years. How could all of those times mean nothing to them? All our memories flashed through my head altogether. My eyes started to become teary. “Sis, she was the one who helped me. Omg I thought I wouldn’t get to see her. Is that you?” Someone said from behind me. I pulled back my tears. I looked behind me, and it was the girl from the bathroom incident. And behind her was the pretty mean girl from my math class. “Was it you who helped me out that day when I passed out?” The girl asked. “Yes. Are you okay now?” I asked with a concerned voice. “Thanks to you I’m doing great. I’ve been tryna find you this whole time. I really wanted to thank you. Could we have a meal together? Also, what’s your name? I’m Dawn,” she said with so much excitement. I furrowed my brow and thought to myself, this is too much energy coming off from a person named Dawn. “I’m sorry I said too many things at once. I tend to talk too much. Hehe. I would really like to know you,” she said. “Dawn shuddup and let her talk, you dummy,” the pretty mean girl said. “Oops I talked too much again. I’m gonna shut up and let you talk. My lips are zipped,” Dawn said. “I mean I’ve done what others would’ve done in that situation. No need to thank me with a meal.” I replied. “I don’t know what would’ve happened to me if you didn’t help me out that day. So, pleaseee, pretty pleaseee have a meal with me?” Dawn said. I couldn’t say no to that. “Since you insist, maybe let’s go for lunch now.” I said. “Yayyy, thank you. And your name? ”Dawn asked. “Ohh yeah, I’m Mahiha.” I said. “Ohh, nice name,” Dawn said. “Enjoy your nice meal! Bye Dawn!” Said the pretty mean one. Dawn pulls her hand and says to her, “Nope you’re not going anywhere. Mahiha, this is my sister, Alex. Short for Alexandra.” We stared at each other. None of us spoke. “Come on, Alex,” Dawn said. “What? What have I done now?” “Ohh do you guys know each other already?” We both were quiet. Dawn said in an annoyed voice, “Oh my gosh, you two—” Before Dawn finished, Alex cut her off and said, “It’s something like that. Now, let’s go for lunch.”
We ordered our food. We all were pretty quiet. To break off the silence, Dawn asked, “Mahiha, do you come to the lake everyday?” “No, I just felt like going there today,” I said. “You don’t look good. Are you okay?” She asked. Alex looked at me. “I’m fine. There’s just something that’s weighing on me.,” I said. Dawn’s phone started ringing. She picked up the call. “What?! Now?” she asked. “Ohh no, shit. Ok, I’ll be there in a bit,” she answered. She started getting up and put her purse on her shoulder. Oh no, why is she leaving me with her mean sister? “I’m so sorry Mahiha. I have to leave now. Alex will pay,” she said in a rush. No, why are you doing this to me? Don’t leave me, girl. I don’t want to be left alone with your sister! “I’m sorry. Bye you guys,” she said and started running out of the diner. “But—” Alex and I said. Even before we finished, she was gone. “She’s way too lively to be called Dawn,” I said while looking at the door. “Yeah,” Alex said. I gasped and then put my hands on my mouth. Oh my gosh, did I just say that out loud? I started apologizing. “I mean I didn’t mean to,” I said. “No, don’t worry. She really is,” she said with a smile. Ohh, okay, good. She can at least smile. They served our food, and we started eating. Right behind my seat, I heard Cora and Quinn’s voices.
“We’d like waffles and hash browns,” they ordered. I couldn’t keep eating. I felt sick to my stomach. Alex noticed and asked, “Are you..okay?” “I’m fine,” I mumbled. I took a sip of water. “Ughhh, why the f**k did she cancel it at the last minute?” Cora said. “Yeah, we had to waste our time to get there. Mahiha probably thinks our time isn’t as valuable as hers now that she is in NWC,” Quinn said. “That nerd probably is studying somewhere or something,” Cora said. “Oh my goddd, I used to hate it every time she’d find my mistakes. That shit is so annoying,” Quinn said. My tears started dropping without even realizing it.
Alex stood up and held my hand. Then, she started to walk fast toward the door. We got out and stood in an alleyway. “WHY ARE YOU EVEN HELPING ME? YOU PROBABLY THINK OF ME AS A NERD TOO,” I said in a loud crying voice. “What?” Alex said. “I’m so dumb and gullible for being nice to everyone. Why are you all so mean and fake?” I kept shouting at her. I stopped and kept crying. Alex hugged me so suddenly as if she was trying to hide me. But my heart started beating fast. I looked up at her face. “Shhh,” Alex shushed me. “Did you hear someone cry?” I heard Cora’s voice. “Maybe we heard wrong. Anyways, let’s go,” Quinn said.
“Are they gone?” I asked. “They are getting a taxi. They are still there,” Alex said. My cheeks were getting hot. It felt like fumes were coming out of my cheeks. Oh my gosh, my heart is beating so fast, I need to calm down! “Aren’t they gone? Can you let go of me now?” I asked Alex. “You are not dumb at all. I’m sorry for talking to you rudely that day. I’m grateful to you for helping out my sister. Don’t believe what those bitches are saying about you.” Alex said, looking at me. I looked up at her, and my eyes got wider. At that moment, she looked like the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen. And the moment she smiled, It felt like my heart started to fall for that kind beauty in front of my eyes.
To be continued.
I was inspired to write this story from a personal experience. My mentor and I have been working on it for a while. While writing this, it felt like a personal reflection for me, although a lot of it is fiction. But that also felt like it helped me heal in some way.
Maiesha Muntaki is a junior in high school. She’s from Bangladesh living in Queens. She loves graphic novels and her recent hobbies are reading manga and staring at the sky. One of her favorite clubs in school is Japanese club because she loves learning new languages and learning about different cultures.