Ben’s Story (Part Two)

As requested, here is Part Two for your perusal. Remember to leave a comment if you’d like more. Thanks. -M

Part One can be read here.

For the subsequent part of the day, Ben was even more quiet than usual, and if it hadn’t been for that peculiar Asian boy Ben wouldn’t have spoken at all. Khaleel was brown-skinned and black-eyed, and for lunch he would bring an egg sandwich which smelt as though it had onions in it. After break his breath would be less than fresh, to put it politely and if anyone else in the class (apart from Ben himself) was the target of some unwarranted attention it was Khaleel, the Pakistani boy. Yet Khaleel always had a smile on his face, yet he seemed composed. Ben wondered about Khaleel sometimes. How was it that Khaleel somehow managed the bullying so well, and became the better for it?

Ben watched quietly as the boys asked Khaleel, in a most mocking manner — if he was gay. Why was it that he never asked someone out? Khaleel bit his lip and said calmly, “Because it is disallowed in Islam.” Ben admired Khaleel’s composure. The boys continued to taunt him and only Ben saw when Khaleel whispered something to himself. He had no idea what it was that Khaleel’s lips were saying, but it seemed as though he drew strength from the repetition of his mantra. Ben felt impossibly curious.

Later in the day as the class filed out to go home, Ben walked beside Khaleel, for he had something to ask him. “Hey mate,” Ben said. Khaleel responded with a smile, as was his habit.

“Ask you something dude?”

“Of course man. Shoot.” Khaleeel said.

“What was it that you were reading in class? When they you know.. umm..”

“Yeah. When they called me gay you mean?”

“Exactly,” Ben responded relieved.

“Oh that. It was a portion of the Quran. Helps to calm me down you know,” Khaleel replied matter-of-factly.

“Oh — that’s the Muslim Bible right?” Ben queried.

“Yeah man”

“It’s a book right? Do you remember it?”

“Just a few portions of it. It’s in Arabic though.”

“So can you understand it?”

“Not the whole thing. Just bits of it.”

“What were you repeating? What did it mean?”

“Would you like to see?”

“Sure.”

Khaleel walked back to the computer lab with Ben and knowledge always excited Ben. He wanted to know, he needed to know what calmed Khaleel down so wonderfully well.

“It’s called Ayat-ul-Kursi,” Khaleel said as he read something in Arabic. On the computer screen Ben read the following words.

There is no god but He,
The Living, the Everlasting,
Slumber seizes Him not, neither sleep,
To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth.
Who is there that can intercede with His, except by His leave?
He knows what lies before them and what is after them,
And they comprehend not anything of His Knowledge save as He wills.
His throne comprises the heavens and the earth,
The preserving of them fatigues Him not,
And He is the All-High, All-Glorious.

[Al-Quran: Surat al-Baqarah, Ayah 255]

Over and over Ben read the words to himself. To Him belongs the heaven and the earth, he repeated. Melanie, Josh, the Math teacher, Khaleel and even his own self, belonged to this Unseen God that Khaleel and his book spoke about. The majesty and the power of the words hit him.

So there was a God who controlled everything, who was Eternal, Everlasting, and watched over the world. Ben knew who God was since family were Catholics, but Mom never insisted on going to the Church, because Jesus (PBUH) could be called upon anywhere.

This was something different though. It appeared that Khaleel’s book was talking about a God that Jesus (PBUH) himself prayed TO. Ben was reading, only gaining knowledge about this supposedly terrorist religion. And he was surprised at the profound peace it brought to his heart.

**************************************************************************************************************************************

“Ben?”

“Benjamin?”

“BEN!” his mother said loudly.

“Oh sorry! Yes Mom?” he replied, momentarily alarmed.

“Ben, for the umpteenth time, how was your day?”

“The usual Mom. Th-th-thanks.” Ben said guardedly.

His mother shrugged as she put on some country music as they drove back home from school in their 1999 Chevrolet station wagon. Ben loved the old car. It had been around for as long he could remember, and he had profound memories of his Dad driving the car, back when things had been different. Ben didn’t always stammer. Not back when Dad was around anyway. When God decided to take his father away in a horrific accident on the beach in high tide, their life had turned topsy-turvy. Ben was five. From the calm, supportive parent she was, his mother had turned into a chronically depressed woman who practically lived on cigarettes.

“Mom? Could you please t-t-turn that o-o-off?” Ben said gesturing towards the car’s tape recorder.

“Sure Ben. Anything,” His mother replied quietly, as she expertly lit a cigarette with one hand on the steering wheel. Ben pulled down the window, his face scrunched up in disgust. He hated the smell.

**************************************************************************************************************************************

Ben watched apprehensively as Melanie, Josh and Nathan walked towards him. He hurriedly put his corned beef sandwich back in the tuckbox, and shut it. Melanie had a beautiful smile, Ben noted. Pity she had the vile nature of a vixen, he thought cynically to himself.

“Hey Tadpole! ‘Sup?” Josh, whose voice had just started breaking into a manly pitch said.

Ben looked wary. What was it that they wanted now? Couldn’t they just leave him alone?

“Khaleel and you! Who would have thought!” Josh said tauntingly. “We know you disappeared in the computer lab with him after school, Tadpole. Smart work kid! Everyone knows about Khaleel, right? But you too!” Josh said with a wink.

Ben clenched his fist and ground his teeth. His eyes blazed dangerously.

“There’s a God more powerful than Josh. To Him belongs everything,” he whispered to himself.

Josh looked worried at Ben’s complete silence.

He’s doesn’t get tired. Ever,” He repeated, careful not to move his lips.

“Tadpole’s lost the power of s-p-p-peech!” Josh interjected.

“God, if You really are all that Khaleel’s book says, show me. Handle this. Please,” Ben beseeched silently, his eyes closed.

Melanie looked on interested, and a throng of older boys and girls was fast approaching. Ben seemed to draw strength from the fact that to the real God, Josh and his entire group was probably equal to speck of dust. He was all-powerful. Suddenly Ben stood up and looked Josh square in the eye.

“If you’ll excuse me, Josh, your fly is open. Close it before something falls out,” Ben said, sounding far more assured than he felt. With that he stood up and walked calmly away from the crowd, with the sound of raucous laughter following him. The laughter that for the first time, wasn’t directed at him, as Josh, embarrassed, zipped up his jeans. The unwanted attention had been redirected and Ben couldn’t believe himself. He’d stood up to Josh, the big annoying Josh! He smiled as he noted how he, for the first time in years, hadn’t stammered. It felt weird. Surreal, but great.

“God, if You’re really there, thanks,” Ben murmured as he walked back to class. He’d have to learn more about this God and His book. Seriously.

To be continued…

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10 thoughts on “Ben’s Story (Part Two)

  1. oh..its taking an interesting turn mashaAllah
    ..I wasn’t expecting this story to do anything with Islam at all to be very very honest..
    can’t wait for the next part!!!!
    *patiently waits* 😀

  2. Pingback: Ben’s Story (Part Two) | Tea Break

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