I remember the first time I saw Zuhair at school. He was by far the tallest student around; his head towering a foot above others. As though trying to hide his height he, would walk a little crouched. Passersby would often ask him what his height is. With a straight face, he would reply five feet, seventeen inches. He would often be seen wearing a light gray shirt with faded blue jeans, his face hiding behind a pair of square glasses.
He was two years my senior at school and although I knew who he was
Our twice-weekly basketball sessions helped me get to know more about Zuhair. He was more than a big friendly giant on campus. He was a dedicated student who wanted to study physics in college. I realized that it wasn’t only me who he had been helping out. I occasionally saw him tutor other students in the library. He was like an elder brother on campus always helping his younger siblings. Zuhair seemed to revel in being able to make a difference in others’ lives. He used to say that such opportunities are gifts. Not everyone gets them.
When it was time for Zuhair’s graduation, I was very proud of him for becoming the class valedictorian. He had received a full scholarship to study physics abroad at a very renowned university. I felt slightly guilty for feeling abandoned. I had grown used to turning to him for advice and help. As though reading my mind, he hugged me and assured me that he would only be a telephone call away. As I watched him smiling, posing for photographs with his parents I felt reassured that my brother’ would still be there for me.