The borrowed notebook

I was reminded of an incident today from almost two decades ago. We had just moved to Saudi Arabia and I had just started middle school. As it was the middle of the school year, I’d borrowed a notebook from a classmate to copy all the notes I’d missed onto mine in the evenings.

Everything worked fine the first evening. But, on the second, I found that his notebook was no longer in my bag (I’d taken it to school in case he needed it). After some frantic searching, I was sure it wasn’t in my bag or around the house. So, I confessed to my parents.

Another round of searching.

We were all worried now. I vividly remember that sleeping with my parents last night – reserved normally only for special occasions or, as I discovered that night, when we were all worried about something – and we stayed up for a while discussing this.

On reflection, I realized that we were all insecure as we were in a new country and were religious minorities in said country that was known for orthodox beliefs. Eventually, we realized there was nothing more that could be done and called it a night vowing to deal with whatever happened.

I don’t remember much of what followed the next morning. The only memory that followed was walking into class and walking over to this classmate trying to muster a few words about his notebook.

He, instead, gave me a nice smile and said – “Hey, I needed that notebook yesterday. You were not in class during lunch – so, I just took it out of your bag.”


“My life has been full of terrible misfortunes most of which never happened.” | Michel de Montaigne