True or False

by Shayma Parveen

“Did you finish all of my chocolates?”

“No.” Behind his back, Javid surreptitiously wiped away the last remnants of the chocolate stains on his hands on his pants. Frowning, Sarah stared at her jar, which had previously been half full of candies but was now empty. She cast one last suspicious glance at Javid, but thankfully said nothing more on the matter.


“Where have you been all evening?” Javid’s dad asked when he came home.

“Out studying with a friend,” Javid replied easily, not even bothering to glance at his dad as he put away his shoes. Beside him, his little sister looked at him dubiously even as she remained quiet, taking off her own shoes. She’d had fun at the park with the rest of their friends, and as his younger sister, she figured he knew what he was doing.

Javid smiled widely at his dad’s proud grin.


“Poor Mr. Tim has been getting very annoyed.” Javid’s mother said one day as she put away the dishes.

“Haven’t they still found out who has been stealing all his candies?” Javid’s dad asked, eyebrows raised.

“No, but I did hear them mentioning about needing to install security cameras…” Javid’s mother replied.

Javid decided he wasn’t going to go to Mr. Tim’s store anymore. His candies weren’t even that good. Although, Sarah did say she liked the chocolates Mrs. Jane was selling at her own store across the street…


“I graduated with full marks, dad!” Javid announced as he came home. His parents both beamed at him, his little sister’s frown going unnoticed.

“Great job, kiddo!” Dad said. “Where is your report card? Surely they gave you a certificate of some kind?”

“It, uh, they haven’t really mentioned anything about it.” Javid shrugged. There wasn’t any certificate, not for him who had barely passed through his classes.

He’ll be able to fake a report card of some sort later. For now, Javid’s mother was bringing out sweets in celebration, and Javid ignored his sister’s continuous glares in favor of digging in first.


Javid now had a job he enjoyed, an easy task once he’d gotten all his reports in good order. Sure, he wasn’t doing too well, but Javid figured he’d be able to deal with any situation that would come.

Until his boss fired him, unable to tolerate his ineptness any longer.

“Just, get out.” His boss shook his head sadly, but there was also frustration there.

As Javid turned away, unable to weasel his way out of this one this time, he heard his boss mutter from behind him. “I just don’t understand how a brilliant student like you could be of no use…”

But Javid wasn’t ever a brilliant student, was he?


Javid’s sister stared at him sadly when he came home to lament his life to her.

“–And, and he said I wasn’t a brilliant student! Me!” Javid exclaimed, pacing back and forth in her room before throwing his hands up in the air.

“But are you?” His sister asked, finally speaking up for the first time since he’d barged inside.

“Am I what?”

“Are you a good student? A ‘diligent worker’?” She parroted his words back to him. “Are you a well-mannered employee? Or the best friend Sarah could ask for?”

Javid and Sarah weren’t friends anymore actually.

Javid stopped in his tracks, looking helplessly at her. “Well–I– yes, but,” he stuttered.

His sister’s gaze turned sharp. “Who are you, Javid?”

His sister waited patiently for him to reply, not saying anything, but her stare was too knowing.

For the first time, Javid decided to say the truth.

“I don’t know.”


-Shayma Parveen

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