SS and CG (Chapter 1)
What was most famous about Ibrahim is his love for the concept of love. Comments such as "They will love each other, get married, and have children" and "Did Ibrahim participate in writing that scene?" were common when there was a romantic scene in movies such as two people holding hands or saying something about love.
It all started when Ibrahim received his first phone. He was around 15. Ibrahim was of average height, tan skin, fit, and black eyes, and black-haired boy. A common phrase in his society is "Everything forbidden is wanted." Since boys can't talk to girls in his community, he decided to message girls on social media, hoping they will reply and somehow be their soul mate and love each other, get married, and have children later on. For some reason, though, almost none of the girls replied. And the ones that replied to Ibrahim had only one conversation with them, then they never replied or something similar again. Except for one, this girl's name was Shahad.
Ibrahim and Shahad talked for a long time. They got close rather too quickly. They texted each other for hours and hours. For many months, Ibrahim thought that she was the one. One phrase shattered his dreams, "I have a boyfriend." So did everything he did was for no reason? Things didn't go well after that phrase. The relationship really hit rock bottom when Shahad said, "I can't talk to boys anymore." This phrase was a source of frustration for Ibrahim. Can't boys and girls be even friends? Or work on projects together? Or do anything if it was with the other gender? Maybe just where he was, in that society, it didn't work, or perhaps it can work with the right person.
There was a local organization called Bright for people with fast learning abilities. To join, you had to score in the top 1% in the country in an exam. Ibrahim had passed that exam without spending much time on studying. He had a great analytical mind. His parents and teachers always told him, "You're smart, Ibrahim. You just need to focus." Ibrahim thought hard about this. Was he stretching himself thin? Or was it just that love haunted him and limited his abilities?
After joining Bright, Ibrahim went to study in one of the best schools in his city called Persistence Privet High School, PPHS. Many of the students there were either rich people, sons of supervisors and teachers, or looked for a better education to succeed or at least their parents did. When Ibrahim joined, he was lucky to know 3 people who were Bright students. There were 2 Bright students he didn't know and many others who weren't from Bright. Three of the Bright students left after the first week. Two of them were ones that Ibrahim knew before and told him, "It's a lot of work to study 4 more subjects," and the other said, "I want to be with my friends," so the one that was left from the people he knew was Firas. Firas was a tall, athletic, pale skin, and amber eyes and dark brown-haired boy. He and Ibrahim quickly got to know the other Bright student that stayed. His name was Rashed. He had brown skin and eyes, a bit flabby, average height, and black hair.
There were only two schools that were associated with Bright in the city. The one Ibrahim went to was newly associated with Bright as Ibrahim's year was the first time Persistence Privet High School. The other one was called Book Privet High School, BPHS. Ibrahim wanted to go to BPHS, but his father didn't agree to pay for the cost, which was half the initial price. His father said, "Why should I pay for a privet school when there are free schools? Son, a person should work on himself by himself. You don't need money or anything to succeed. Many people went to normal schools and became more successful than the ones that went to private schools." Ibrahim loathed his father's way of thinking, but couldn't do anything. Many went to prestigious schools and became successful. Why does he only see the ones that didn't? Since PPHS offered to give him a full scholarship, it was his only choice.
Ibrahim was furious, his heart raced, and he felt like beating someone to death when even after he had the full scholarship, his father didn't agree to let him join the school. He had to talk to his 8 siblings to convince his father, and after days of trying, his father let him go, "I don't think it's a good idea, but only because your siblings think it's a good idea, I will let you go." Can't he just agree? Why does he have to make everything hard? Only because he lived a hard life doesn't justify giving us a hard time.
People in school quickly started calling Ibrahim lover boy after they heard him talking about love. He sent a picture of his homework to the students' group, and someone commented, "What's with the heart in the top?." Ibrahim replied, "I just like drawing hearts." Some also called him a player, but what irritated Ibrahim the most was when someone said, "Your father is a religious leader. Why do you talk to girls! It's forbidden." It wasn't that he didn't understand their point of view. He just didn't like being associated with his father. He quickly decided to ignore people's existence if they said anything similar to that. Slowly, even the teachers started to tease Ibrahim about the way he thinks of love. He didn't mind it, though. It was proof that he had the most significant trait of all, love.
Ibrahim was the type of person who is social, but not really close to anyone. He was an open book whenever someone asked him a question, yet, he held dark secrets. His love for experimenting often leads him to places that would never want to go back to. After each disaster, Ibrahim thinks that this one was the worst, but the next one was always far worse than the one before, or at least that's what he thought. It was harder to carry the burden, especially since there was no one to bear it with. Turning to his family often made the problem more prominent, and talking to his friends made them think he was an evildoer. Not that he wasn't bad, but he didn't want his friends to think so. He was close and distant from everyone at the same time.
The first school year quickly finished. Bright sent Ibrahim a message to join a summer program featured by a university called Dammam University for Petroleum and Engineering. It was located in a nearby city where he lived. Fortunately, his father agreed to it immediately. In that summer, he learned about universities and opportunities he wanted to take to achieve his dreams and become successful whatever that meant. In the program, even though he didn't know many people there, people quickly started calling him lover boy because he began asking people, "Do you think love at first sight exists?" He just wanted to get a broader understanding of love and asking people questions like that always gave him more input.
When he came back, he reached for a professor to mentor him to achieve his academic dreams. "English is the most important thing to start with. Arabic won't do at a top university. It's the single most important skill to focus on before you start doing anything," His professor said. The professor was a bit short, and chunky Ibrahim thought. What he looked didn't matter; it was about the knowledge he can get from the professor.
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