When I was in seventh grade, I attended a new school. Of course, as a new student, I had not yet made any friends, but one day, one of my classmates who sat next to me, Fatima, asked when my birthday was.

“It’s the 15th of July,” I told her.

“That’s in just two weeks,” she said.

No one had ever celebrated my birthday, not in my home nor at my other school. So two weeks later, on the day of my birthday, I did not even think of it. As usual, I walked alone to school. I remember that particular day, it was very hot. As I did every other day, I wore a simple uniform of a black dress with white scarf. The black color of my dress drew the sun into me. I sweated as I made my way to school.

The day was normal, no different than any other day. The first three hours of school consisted of mathematics, Dari literature, and then physics. After our lessons were complete, we had a twenty-minute break. As usual, I walked out into the schoolyard. I remember standing alone, watching nothing in particular, when I heard clapping coming from across the yard. The clapping grew closer. I turned around and saw Fatima; she was clapping and looked very happy. I had no idea why she was clapping or why she seemed so happy.

As she got closer, she said, “Happy birthday, Sabira!”

No one had ever said this to me and I suddenly felt a swell of joy. Fatima reached her hands into her pocket and pulled out a beautiful notebook. It was a diary with beautiful pictures and a blue cover. I opened the notebook to see that Fatima had written Happy Birthday Sabira! on a page. I remember the feeling I had as I looked at the notebook. I was so grateful and happy.

I am in the twelfth grade now, and to this day, I still have that notebook. Every time I open it, I remember the day my friend Fatima gave it to me. But her gift was bigger than that notebook. It was the biggest gift of friendship. And from that day forward, no one in my family ever forgot my birthday again!

By Sabira