Khalid, my elder son, lost his soulmate and best friend, Laith Assaad Al Rifi, 9 months ago. Laith drowned while he was trying to save a Yemeni boy from drowning. Both drowned in a swimming pool in the Saudi capital Riyadh on Saturday 26 June, 2010.
Laith who was studying at the British Section of the Bangladesh International School in Saudi capital Riyadh, was almost the same age as my son. They were taking the same school bus every day, playing with each other, chatting, teasing each other and laughing, etcetera. Only home time separated them, but they used to finish their chatting over the Facebook.
On the morning June 27, when my son was getting ready for the first day of the final exam, and was waiting as usual for his friend to go together to school, he wanted to check his messages on the Facebook. Surprise and tragedy were waiting for him; fate had unfolded a fresh loss before his eyes.
To this day the phrase "R.I.P laith" daces before my eyes. I wish I could do something to take it off my sight and memories. I don't know who was crying louder, shouting, weeping, running in the house like a mad person; my son or me. I loved lath so much..! He was a lovely kid and a great football player we lost so early.
Laith was the only male boy of his parents. May Allah (God) rest his soul in eternal peace, and help his parent , Dr. Iman, and his father Assaad and sister Lama to overcome their huge loss and tragedy . May God help them to get through and regain peace.
I believe that this is a wonderful piece of writing. So please encourage a young man and writer who is forcing his way to notoriety.
ENCOURAGE HIM PLEASE!
Khalid is now 16-year-old . I believe he has a brilliant future before him. AM I RIGHT?.
By Khalid Musadaq Al Sawi
Bangladesh International School, Riyadh, KSA, Gr.9
"A friend is, as it were, a second self." Cicero
The most severe and everlasting damage inflicted on a human soul is, undoubtedly, the feeling of losing a close friend. In my so young life, I have learnt to bounce back stronger from embarrassment, frustration, losing a silly fight at the school yard, and when my parents reprimand me. Every human being enjoys certain limit of tolerance before cracking and so does a hard rock under pressure. I am just another human being who cracked and severely hurt when I lost my best and dear friend (Laith).
He drowned while was trying to save a Yemeni friend as old as him. He jumped with his clothes and mobile phone on. Saving another life was all that on his mind. Being the sole attempted to be rescuer, while there were six other boys besides the pool shouting and waiting for help. Tell me then; would anybody without a lion’s heart and high sense of humanity attempt to do so?
He was a lion!
A REAL KING!
Three months have already passed, since his tragic death, but the echo of his distinct laughter still resounds into my ears. All the shared little details of our life together never left me for a second. I could picture him, every morning in the school bus, sitting beside me. Whenever I roam the school auditorium, I would imagine him appearing from somewhere in the school calling for me to join him to play football. I wish I had a magic wand to bring him back!
His memories are and will always remain with me.
But life isn’t always a grief. Life has to go on and I have to face the reality of having lost him for good. Despite my grief, I have to be more realistic and neutralize the negative spirit and carry on with my daily routine and fulfill my duties.
Many time I wish if I could set the time back to wake up and discover that the whole idea of having lost ( Laith ) was nothing but a mere nightmare. Truth is often very harsh and we have no option but to accept it. And so the death of ( Laith ).
He had a sharp mind, determination and will. He was gifted, talented, generous, humorous, and haunted by football. When he didn’t find a ball, he could easily replace with a beverage tin and play. No one could resist his smiley face and football style.
The day he died all the school mourned him. It was a general mourning and Memorial Day.
The principle of the Bangladesh International School (BIs), described him as a wonderful boy that he got to understand, when it was too late: “it seemed that Laith wanted to leave his signature and print on every corner in the school as if he had a mission to accomplish and a message to leave”. He said.
I believe that he was bidding farewell to everybody, everything his own way, And that his mission was to pulling me out of my corner and become more open! That was one of his major concerns for I was a bit calm. He seemed like my elder brother, though I was taller and looked more mature for my age. We were both studying at the British Section. He was in Gr. 9 and I at Gr. 8.
Laith was the first student to welcome me when I entered the (BIS) for the first time. I did remember it was my first day to walk into the vast doors of a new school. I felt embarrassed nervous and alone because I had left all my friends behind. I wasn’t well welcomed, or felt so. Whenever I entered the classroom, I would get cold looks. Whispers felt like lead poured into my ear holes as soon as I entered... Recess came and I escaped my “predators” only to find myself alone again.
I was surrounded by a lot of people but I still felt that I was the last person on the face of god’s earth. I sat down on a bench at the auditorium area watching my classmates pass by without noticing me. I wanted their friendship but I got repelled like the same poles of a magnet.
But all that changed on the next day as I was trudging down the stairway, I noticed a 5 foot boy, with fair skin, who had a mushroom like hairstyle, gazing at me. I went on and continued to the bench, my sanctuary. He followed me, came near, shook hands and asked: “Brotha, you Sudanese?” I replied positively with a smile on my face knowing that I finally left my planet and landed on earth. We started talking about all the youth common issues from Football to Rap Music to politics. We started to talk daily and got so sad when recess would come to a closure till one day it turned out we share the same bus ride back home.
My friend, like any other young man of his age, loved living life to the fullest. He was adventurous too; sort of a modern aged Indiana Jones without the hat and whip. And he was full of African pride too; I recall that there was some friction between him and a classmate which occurred because he couldn’t stand the gestures mocking the African society.
My consolation is our short-lived friendship, our unfulfilled dream of attending the same university back in Sudan and our wish to extend this friendship to our both families.
Having a brilliant future and beautiful relationships between our families will always be one of my major loveliest aims. By doing so, I am sure he will peer off his celestial wagon and whispers in my ears before vanishing in the light: “WELL DONE MAN!”