Illustration by Aamnah Arshad
Illustration by Aamnah Arshad

“Mum, I met my old friend Rumaisa in the market yesterday. Remember Rumaisa, the one who was obsessed with a musical band and was so crazy that she even planned to move abroad to meet them?” Yusra reminded her mum about her old good friend.

“Yeah, I remember,” her mother replied.

Yusra asked her mum, “Mum, we’ve decided to meet at the mall tomorrow. Can I go?”

“Yes, you can and but don’t get late,” mum replied in affirmation.

The next day at the mall, Yusra saw Rumaisa standing at a distance, so she hurried to her. They greeted each other excitedly and sat down on an empty table at the food court.

Yusra started talking, “It’s been very long … I missed the good old days.”

“Yeah! You are right. Those days were really fun. In practical life, there is no space for dreams,” Rumaisa said while keeping her face sombre.

“By the way, I remember you were so serious about going abroad to make money and also enjoy your favourite musical band’s concerts. What happened?” Yusra asked cheekily.

“I went there … but I am back and regretting it,” Rumaisa replied still very composed and sombre.

Yusra just looked at her in shock.

“It took me four years to save and come up with enough money, make arrangements and persuade my parents to permit me to go and live abroad. Finally, when I reached there, the first few months were pleasant. I lived in a rented apartment and after many attempts, found a low-paying job. I attended many concerts of that band and felt that my life was great.

But within a year, I realised that it was not the life I should be living. I was barely managing to manage my necessities. I couldn’t study because I could not afford the university fees. I didn’t have much money left after paying rent and buying groceries. I am pretty sure that if I were living in my country instead, I would have achieved a better academic degree and, perhaps, had my own house by now.

“Then one day, I remembered your words Yusra, that living abroad is dream come true, but one must accept that it is not a piece of cake, especially when you have to live on your own. And then I realised, how blind I was,” Rumaisa confessed sadly.

“Then, how did you manage to come back?” Yusra asked in low tone.

“I just decided to return home and make amends. So I started saving money to buy my return ticket. It took me many months, but I am happy. I finally made it.”

“I am glad that you realised how you were chasing a dream that doesn’t always come true. It’s never too late to start all over,” Yusra said while holding her hand.

Rumaisa smiled and said, “Yes dear, and the good thing is I still have my best buddy in you here!”

Published in Dawn, Young World, July 6th, 2024

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