As narrated by Zee:
The moment Yas and I walk into Dee’s ward, she and Zaki turn to us.
“Where have you guys been?” queries Zaki, taking in our disheveled, dusty appearances.
I make my way over to Dee’s bed, leaving Yas to answer Zaki.
“Hey, Assalaamu Alaykum,” I greet her softly, touching her cheek.
She replies to my greeting, smiling up at me.
“Okay Alhamdulillah,” she says. “You good?”
“I’m good if you are,” I reply, bending to kiss her.
“Hey! Zaki and Yas are here!” she whispers in admonition.
“Do they look remotely interested?” I ask, glancing at Yas and Zaki who were having their own moment.
Grinning, I kiss her again just to see her blush.
“So, when can she come home?” I ask, turning around to face Zaki and Yas.
“Well.. She’s just gotten out of ICU – a bit early might I add,” Yaasir pauses, frowning slightly. “She still has the chest tube in for another two days, and still needs to be monitored all round. I would estimate that Dee will only be discharged in a week.”
“But we’re leaving tomorrow, so we won’t be around until then,” says Zaki.
“So soon? Aren’t you guys on holiday?” asks Dee.
“No! We actually came up to deliver a talk to med students at Wits,” Zaki pauses.
“And for a date weekend!” Yas adds.
Zaki shoots him a look, trying to stifle a smile, as she continues… “We already stayed longer than intended, so we really have to head back tomorrow. Duty calls!”
“Do you guys ever go on holiday?” I ask in wonder.
“Well, I don’t know if going on holiday and then still working counts?” laughs Zaki.
“Obviously not!” I say in astonishment. “Who does that?”
“Urrmm… us??” they reply in unison, looking at each other.
“It just happens!” says Yas. “Like this time, too. We tend to always end up in the right place at the right time, or the wrong place at the wrong time! Depending on how you look at it! Which we honestly don’t mind though.”
“We don’t?” quips Zaki, grinning at him, as they share an inside joke.
“Okay sometimes we do!” laughs Yas.
“So basically you guys don’t have a life!” I exclaim.
“No maaahn,” laughs Zaki. “We dooo!”
“When do you ever see each other?” Dee asks, clearly curious as I am about their seemingly flawless rapport.
“We work alot, but we somehow manage to make time for each other. It does take effort, and sometimes it’s the little gestures that count! The I love you’s, the random texts or visits, the impromptu coffee dates when we find ourselves free,” Zaki explains, catching Yas’ hands as he pokes her playfully.
“The feed the fish reminders which buzz in the middle of surgery…” Yaasir adds, his eyebrows raised.
“The fish?” I ask. “You guys have fish?”
“Zakiya’s aquarium,” says Yas, shrugging.
“But then how do you guys look after the fish if you’ll always so busy?” asks Dee, frowning.
“Fish are easy pets -” Yas starts to say, but Zaki cuts him off.
“Excuse me! I look after the fish, what would you know!”
“But… what happens when you guys go away? Like now? Where are they?” Dee asks, still perturbed by the whole fish situation.
“They’re with Maseeha,” Zakiya answers calmly, Yaasir still explaining the important role he plays in taking care of the fish!
“Who’s Maseeha?” I ask, confused.
“The bossy -” Yas starts to say.
Zaki whacks him playfully on the shoulder.
“Masee is my darling younger sister and foster mother to my fish!” she says.
“Pfffttt!” Yaasir complains, crossing his arms over his chest.
I glance at Dee, and her gaze meets mine.
“I love you,” I mouth inaudibly.
I can’t help but wonder if in 10 years time, despite all the hurt and pain that is testing our love right now, would we also be as in love as these two.
Would we be as candid and playful as they are? Would we share inside jokes as they do? Would we be a team as unbreakable as them?
Dee smiles and mouths back, “I love you, too.”
And in that moment, I know that we will.
We will make it through whatever comes our way.
Love conquers all else.
The next day…
As narrated by Dee:
“Never argue with a doctor, babe! We have ~inside~ information!” Yas says to Zaki, deadpanned.
Zee laughs out load, getting the pun but Zaki just rolls her eyes.
“The first time he used that line on me, he had me in ~stitches~,” says Zaki.
“Stop being a ~prick~,” replies Yas.
Then, turning to me he says, “How you doing?”
“I want to go home,” I reply. “I’m ~sick~ of being in hospital!”
“Well if I were you, I would be running out of ~patience~ too. Good thing I’m a doctor!” replies Yas.
“Don’t worry. You’re going ~tibia~ fully well soon In Sha Allah,” says Zaki.
“You guys are in a very ~humerus~ mood today,” muses Zee.
“Can’t be spending our last day with Dee in ~vein~. We have to leave her in good spirits!” says Zaki.
“Okay, enough!” I say, clutching my chest. “It hurts to laugh!”
“Sorry!” they say in unison.
We laugh again before Yas speaks up.
“On a more serious note, we have handed your case over to a good friend of ours, Dr. Hansa. We will be in touch with her daily to check on your progress.”
My eyes widen, realizing that this is goodbye.
I suddenly feel apprehensive – I don’t want them to leave.
Sensing this immediately, Zaki takes my hand in hers, her pale cheeks flushed pink from all the laughter.
“Hey, you’re going to be just fine, darling. And Yas and I are always just a phonecall and plane ride away!”
I nod, biting my lip as an overwhelming sense of gratitude for this woman, who I barely knew, bloomed inside my chest.
“Don’t cry, Deeyanah! If you cry, you’re going to make me cry!” says Zaki, tears already filling her eyes.
“Zaki.. I don’t know how to thank you,” I whisper.
Zaki shakes her head slowly.
“No thank you’s needed. All we ask is that you remember us in your Duaas always, as you will be in ours,” she says quietly.
“In situations like this, I always realize how lucky Yas and I are – Allah (swt) once again used us as a means to be of benefit, this time to you,” she adds a moment later.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better team. JazakAllah Khayran, Zaki. You have no idea how much I appreciate all that you’ve done for me.”
“Aameen, darling. Look after yourself and remember what I told you, okay?”
I nod, clutching her hand tightly, unable to stop my tears.
The extent of Zaki’s kindness and the depth of her advice would be something I would never forget.
“And when you guys are in Durban next, let us know! You have to come visit the fish!” she laughs.
I smile through my tears.
Yaasir looks at his watch and nods at Zee.
“Take care, Zee,” Yas says to him.
I hear Zee thank him profusely. They shake hands and touch shoulders by way of greeting.
Zaki and I hold on a little longer, a million silent thoughts, feelings and memories of the last few days passing between us.
“Come on, babe,” calls Yaasir, after a while.
Zakiya smiles at me, broad and kind.
“Remember, you’re a fighter, Dee! I am so proud of you.”
“You’re my inspiration,” I say, smiling too.
She bends down to hug me gently and I hug her back as best as I can.
“JazakAllah for everything, Yaasir,” I say to Yas as Zaki moves away. “Sorry for spoiling your date weekend!”
“That’s okay. Take care, Dee,” he says kindly.
Yas takes Zaki’s hand, and Zee takes mine, as they head out.
Zakiya pauses at the door.
She turns around one last time to catch my eye.
Zee and Yas look between us, and then at each other and shrug.
Of course they don’t understand it, because neither do we!
But it didn’t matter. There didn’t need to be a reason why we had this connection.
“Don’t get into any ~trouble~ on the way home!” I call, breaking into a grin.
“It will be a ~miracle~ if we don’t!” laughs Zaki, gazing at me with a twinkle in her eye.
Then, after a final wave, they turn around and walk away.