By Areeba Sardar

It was Monday when my teacher got a call from my older brother, asking me to come home. He said that mother wasn’t well. I ran all the way home. I knocked and knocked on the door until my brother, Ibrahim answered. He was sick that day and didn’t come to school. I took one look at his pale face and knew that something was wrong.

I ran past him into my parent’s room to find my mother sitting on the edge of her bed, crying. I sat next to her and put my arms around her. She eventually stopped crying and she said, “They took your father away Mariam. He is arrested….’’. My father was arrested? No, there had to be a mistake. My father was the most honest and loyal person I knew. He would never break the law and get himself arrested. Would he?

I let mother continue, ‘’He is accused of stealing a diamond necklace from the jeweler’s shop. The police came and found the necklace hidden in your father’s briefcase.’’ I couldn’t bear to hear any more. I went to my room and cried myself to sleep. I woke up the next day and went to the kitchen. Ibrahim was there making breakfast.

‘’Where’s mom?’’ I asked. ‘’Sleeping’’, he replied while passing me a plate of eggs. He told me the full story about dad, “There was a robbery at the jeweler’s shop two days ago. A priceless diamond necklace was stolen. The police had been looking for the necklace and the culprit ever since. They tracked the thief down to our house, and the thief was dad.’’

‘’You don’t actually believe that dad stole the necklace, do you?’’ I asked Ibrahim. ‘’Face it Mariam, dad did the crime,’’ he replied.

We both stayed home that day and looked after mother who seemed to have been paralyzed. After we fed her lunch and put her to sleep, I went to my room and thought about dad.

He was to stay in jail for a month. One whole month without dad. How would we cope? There was no way that I believed that my father would become desperate enough to steal .My father was innocent and I knew it.

He had a descent job at the supermarket. We all lived just fine on dad’s small salary.

The robbery happened on the 13th of February at 10p.m, the day dad was at his friend’s funeral, and so there was no way that he could have been the thief. And I was at home with mum. Ibrahim was the only one out late. He said that he was studying late at a friend’s house but he was actually breaking into the jeweler’s shop. My brother was the thief!

I decided to confront him. So when he was washing the dishes in the kitchen, I went and asked him, “Dad was never the thief, was he?’’ he didn’t reply, so I continued. ’’ It was you Ibrahim, you stole the necklace! Why?’’

He took his time to reply and I could see tears in his eyes. “Mariam, you have to understand, I was desperate! My friend threatened to kill me if I didn’t get him the necklace. So I stole the necklace and hid it in dad’s briefcase. I was going to give the necklace to my friend soon, but the police found it and blamed everything on dad and I was too scared to tell the truth. So I stayed silent and let dad get arrested. Dad knew that I stole the necklace; I could see it in his eyes, Mariam, just before they took him away. And now he will never forgive me. Never!

“Ibrahim was in full tears by then. I thought about it for a while before replying ’’There is still time Ibrahim, you can fix this, go to the police station and confess to them.”

The next day Ibrahim went to the police station and told them everything. His punishment was halved because of his honesty. Dad came back that very day and Ibrahim would be back in just 2 weeks. Maybe things would go back to normal. It was brave and righteous of Ibrahim to do what he did. I respect him for doing the right thing.

Published in Young Nation magazine on September 10, 2016