Sweeta and I met at school when I was fifteen years old. On the first day of school, she opened the door to our classroom and looked around for a place to sit. I am still not sure why she approached me and asked, “May I sit with you?” But from that moment on, we started talking.
She was from Kazakhstan and we were so different. She was the happiest, funniest, and most beautiful girl I had ever met.
She was friendly and outgoing, while I was boring—maybe even unfriendly. Slowly, however, that started to change. I began talking and laughing and smiling too, and sometimes we were having so much fun that we would forget to leave school.
Sweeta helped me then, and she continues to help me now. She is very fashionable. She taught me how to shop. The first day we went shopping was very special—I bought three scarves in different colors. I was old-fashioned then. My grandmother raised me in a small village and I didn’t know about clothes or makeup—even in my sister’s wedding I did not wear makeup.
But Sweeta is always fashionable and wears different kinds of clothes in many colors. My daily outfit used to be a long black robe and simple black scarf, but after I met Sweeta, I started wearing dresses in bright colors with different scarves when I went someplace special. She showed me what to wear to weddings and parties and she taught me about makeup and which scarves best suit me.
We have so many happy memories together. One day she made a chocolate cake for me as a surprise. It was so delicious. I loved it and I learned how to make chocolate cake from her.
When we were teenagers, we would meet at the corner of a nearby amusement park to sit together and talk. Finally, when we turned twenty, we got permission from our families to visit the Park Mall in Kabul on our own. Although our families were concerned about two young women going out alone, we had a great time together, shopping all day and eating chocolate ice-cream.
This year we celebrated five years of friendship together. I think I’m the luckiest person in the world. I love her so much even though we are no longer in the same city. When I finished my school, we moved from Kabul to a city seven hours away. But our friendship continues by phone and Facebook and Viber and WhatsApp. When I am sad, she shares my sorrow. When I am happy, she is even happier. I pray we meet again soon, Insha’Allah. I want her to be happy every second of her life. We are friends forever.
Photo: Stephen Ryan / IFRC