The girl in the chair
By Rawdha Alhameli
ABU DHABI—During the middle of seventh grade, my family and I moved from the middle of Abu Dhabi in an apartment to our very first house outside the city. Although moves aren’t always easy, I was happy to have my own room with the freedom of decorating it however I wanted.
After we got settled into the new house, we came to the realization of how hard it was to drive from Al Shamkha (near the Abu Dhabi International Airport) all the way to Al Bateen—which is a 50-minute drive. My siblings and I had to get up 5 a.m. to be able to reach school on time. Indeed, the trip back home was worse.
With everyone else leaving for work and school, we would nap in the car from boredom. That led to the decision of moving schools midway through the school year. Luckily, the school I was in had another campus closer to my new house.
I arrived at the new campus with butterflies in my stomach. I was nervous about feeling like an outsider, especially since it was the middle of the year, and there were no other new students then. After the principal took me on a tour of the school, she led me to my classroom and introduced me to the students.
The introduction to my new classmates turned out to be very awkward for me, as all the students in class were very surprised with my appearance out of nowhere. I went to sit in the only seat available in the middle of the classroom.
On the desk in front of me was a pink slip with a warning addressed to a student with the name “Maitha.” The piece of paper warned her about being tardy. It was also written down on the slip that she had detention during lunch.
There was only one little problem: I didn’t know how to read time yet, let alone how to read in French; I still don’t how to read in French.
This only added to my anxiety because I was nervous that the teacher would ask me about the note, and I wouldn’t be able to answer. So I just sat there and tried to focus. Still, I ended up daydreaming, and out of nowhere a girl stands in front of me with a not so friendly look.
She says, “Who are you and why are you sitting in my chair?”
I panicked and tried to get up, but there are no other seats available.
This girl then sat in her chair and rolled her eyes at the slip on the table. I stood awkwardly while the teacher offered me her chair to sit on. I felt like crying from humiliation.
A few days passed, and I got to know Maitha, the girl in the chair. Yes, I did not know how to read time; however, I did realize that she was always late.
Yet after getting to know her, she turned out to be a very nice person. We started to bond and little did we know eight years later, we are still friends. We always remember the time we met and laugh about it now.
Although 12-year-old me thought that the little embarrassing moment was the end of my life, in perspective it was not a big deal. In fact, it made me realize how many little issues we focus on in our daily life that makes us unproductive and deter our focus from our goals. Those insignificant issues only waste time and decrease efficiency.
So in the end it didn’t matter that I didn’t know how to read time or that I felt nervous on my first day of school. It all worked out in the long run.
And I had a new friend.