I had seven siblings. I was the eighth child.

We were a large family and my father was the only earning member. My brothers and sisters all went to school. My sister Samina was the cleverest of us all.

She always stood first in class. Atif and I fought a lot. He would always tease me: “’Shabana, you’re too fat”. Sometimes he’d eat the cake that mother baked for me.

But we were a close knit family. My birthday was nearing. I wanted shoes as a gift. Mother did not have enough money to buy me a pair. Atif gave me his shoes.

Our foot size was the same. I was so embarrassed. Everywhere I went I felt somebody was staring at my shoes. One day we went to a park and playing amongst the other children, and my embarrassment made me hide my shoes.

I could not forget the fact that they belonged to my brother and I was a girl. In school I sat at the desk which was at the back of the classroom with my friend.

Henna was a close friend of mine and she shared all my secrets. I never hid anything from her because she understood me. I told Henna that these shoes are Atifs and that my 5 mother gave them to me on my birthday.

The money she had was spent in buying Saminas‟ gift because she topped in class. Henna looked down at my feet and I eagerly awaited her shocked comment which I thought would be.

“How could you have accepted them? Tomorrow you’ll be wearing pants to school.” But instead she exclaimed, “What a lovely pair of Khusas!” I gazed at her and to my mind came all the times I had felt embarrassed of those shoes.

I had always imagined that children would be thinking it was weird because I was wearing my brother’s shoes. But Henna liked them so much that she borrowed them in order to show a cobbler, to place an order for a pair for herself, and I wore my brother’s shoes, with pride.

Henna convinced me that my Khusas not only fitted me they looked good on me as well.

Contributed By: Zeenat Iqbal Hakimjee