One Hundred and Seventy Nine

As narrated by Amz:

Unlocking the gate and door, I step inside the house and look around for any boxes.

There are none.

Walking quickly but cautiously, I head for the stairs, not even daring to peek into the kitchen.

“Just get your phone as fast as you can and leave. Simple enough,” I say to myself, trying to calm down.

But at the back of mind, I’m aware that Fuaad was in our apartment yesterday. That thought in mind, nothing can calm me down.

My fingers shake with nervousness as I open my room door.

Why had I closed it? 

Had I closed it? 

I step inside.

My heart drops to my toes then lurches up to my throat.

He’s here, oh god, he’s here.

It’s as if my legs have been glued to the ground, and someone has wrapped their hands around my throat.

My mind yells at me to move, to run, to get away, but my body refuses to cooperate.

I watch as he stands up from where he lay sprawled on my bed.

His lips lift into a smirk and then he speaks but I don’t hear what he says.

My brain has shut down, the fear inside me overwhelming.

It’s like having a nightmare, but worse.

He advances, and then he’s touching me, lifting me up then placing me on the bed to sit next to him.

The movement frees my body from its trance, my flight-fight mode rushing in at full force.

I jump up but he grabs my wrist and pulls me to him.

“I’m not going to hurt you, love,” he says. “I’m not even going to touch you. You just have to listen to me.”

“No!” I yell, tugging my wrist and pushing him away with my other hand. “NO!! SHUT UP! LEAVE ME ALONE!!”

He clamps a hand over my mouth, pulling me back towards him then pushing me down onto the bed.

“Don’t make me angry,” he warns.

A newfound panic grips me as my mind registers our positions.

Fuaad seems to realize too, and he smirks.

My hearts drums against my ribcage.

He won’t. Surely he won’t.

He leans forward, dropping his head so that his face is right above mine.

Waves of panic hit me causing me to feel lightheaded.

“What?” I ask, my voice trembling, no longer strong and angry. “What do you want to tell me?”

“Are you listening?” he asks.

“Yes. Yes, I’m listening,” I nod hastily.

“You already know what I’m going to tell you. But I’m just reminding you, in case you’ve forgotten,” he says.

He pauses for a long moment.

“You have to agree to marry me. You belong to me. Mine, you’re mine, Amaani. Do you understand? You have no choice in the matter.”

“If you cooperate, we can paint the town red. If you don’t, I will still paint the town red. On my own. With your blood. After I’ve had my fun.”

A shiver runs down my spine.

Then I hear her.

“Amz. Should we pack some clothes?”


Fuaad immediately claps his hand down on my mouth.

“Why did you have to bring that brainless b*tch with you?!” he hisses.

I hear Dee calling me again.

Here! I’m here! In my room, Dee! Hurry up! I call to her inside my head.

I struggle to get Fuaad’s hand off my mouth, but to no avail.

He watches me, then smirks; I don’t even want to imagine what is going through his mind.

I hear Dee again. She’s closer now, her voice much louder.

I can hear that she’s worried, nervous.

Then, she steps into the room.

A couple seconds later, the silence is broken by her scream.

Fuaad’s gaze flies up, his eyes darkening angrily.

“Shut up!!” he hisses.

Dee screams again, lunging at him.

They collapse in a heap onto the bed, and I scurry away from Fuaad.

Dee is screaming again and I wonder why Zee hasn’t come yet.

Then, I watch in horror as Fuaad drops his mouth to hers.

Unable to believe what I’m seeing, I watch in frozen shock as Dee struggles against him.

He lifts his head and immediately Dee screams again.


The absolute panic, anguish and desperation in her voice pulls me out of my paralysis.

But I move a mere step before horror grips me again.

It all happens in slow motion.

Fuaad lifts his hand..

Dee’s eyes widen, then shut close..

Zee bursts into the room..

The sound of Fuaad’s hand connecting with Dee’s face resonates, followed by my scream.

And then Zee is on top of him.

As narrated by Zee:

I enter the kitchen and immediately see a box sitting on the table.

After filling water into the kettle, I switch it on, waiting for Dee to go upstairs before dealing with the box.

I hear her climbing the stairs, calling out to Amz.

Knowing better than to open it, I carefully pick up the box, trying not to think about what might be inside.

I walk out to the front, push open the gate and head outside, making my way to the big black bin.

Opening the bin, a sigh of relief escapes my lips as I see that it is full. I won’t have to drop the box and risk it opening.

I place it cautiously atop the rest of the dirt, then drop the lid down.

After hastily dusting off my hands, I fetch my phone from the car before making my way back to the house.

Whilst checking my WhatsApp, seeing an update from Meez, I pull the gate behind me.

As I’m walking to the kitchen, the silence in the house is broken.


My heart stops.


I race upstairs, taking the stairs three at a time, but still not getting to the room fast enough.

I see Fuaad’s hand hit down on Dee’s face, and I hear Amz’s scream.

Something overtakes me.

Something that has never happened to me before, happens.

Something that I’ve never felt before rushes through my veins.

The human body is an amazing thing that works in a mind blowing way.

When you get angry, blood rushes to your brain, clouding your ability to think rationally.

Stress hormones called adrenaline and cortisol give you a burst of energy and strength.

Blood pressure, pain threshold, and your temperature rises.

When you get angry, count to 10 before reacting.

I don’t even count to 1.

Anger consumes me entirely, blinding my eyes and disabling me to think straight.

I become a fierce beast of wild rage.

A destroying machine.

A merciless torturer.

“Ziyaad! You’re going to kill him! Ziyaad! Please!

I hear Amz begging, pleading, her voice an epitome of fear.

I feel her pulling at me, trying to stop me with all her strength.

But all I see is Fuaad’s hand hitting Dee’s face.

“Ziyaad! Please! You’re not thinking! Listen to me! Zee!” pleads Amz.

“Shut up!” I yell at her.

“You’re going to kill him! Please, Ziyaad! Stop!

I turn to face her, to yell at her to get away and leave me alone to give him what he deserves.

But as my head moves, my gaze falls on Dee.

Her body is still as a statue, her knees drawn to her chest, her arms wrapped around them.

Her eyes are as wide as saucers, a mix of emotions vividly apparent.

I see fear and I see hate.

I see fear and I see sadness.

I see fear and I see disappointment.

I see fear and I see shock.

I see fear and I see horror.

I see fear and I see anguish.

I see fear and I see something which I can’t quite place.

My hands go limp at my sides.

I realize that I’m thinking again.

I’m thinking of what might be going through her mind.

I stand up, move to go and hold her, to stroke her hair and remind her to breathe.

She jumps to her feet, a yelp escaping her swollen lips.

I freeze.

And then it hits me.

Her eyes.

I see fear and I see memories.

She sees her father in me.

I’ve not just destroyed Fuaad’s face.

I’ve destroyed everything.



In the early months of 2016, a wonderful woman was struck by a life-changing idea.

Although hesitant at first – knowing it was risky business – she set about downloading WordPress and creating her own little blog space on the internet, where she intended sharing a story, as is done by 1000s of other WordPress users.

But hers was like no other.

Her story was no ordinary story.

Her little blog space on the Internet was so much more than just a “little blog space on the Internet”.

Hers was a story of unbalanced emotions, of unfair decisions, of selfless sacrifices.

She called it No Way Out.

Time passed and posts were published, each displaying emotions so vividly to the readers, her characters almost became real. Unknown to the readers at that time, they were.

Then one day, real life Fuzzy from the blog stumbled across her little space, a reader who was not to find out.

No Way Out was made private, leaving her readers unsure of the status of the blog.

Would this newfound sensational read of theirs go on, or had the phenomenal writer ditched them, as many others had done in the past? What a waste of talent, of lessons to be learnt, of eyes to be opened.

Meanwhile, the genius holding the pen was finding it difficult to express herself as fantastically as before.

Fuzzy was not suppose to have found out.

She’d have to work on a solution.

A second blog was created and all the content was updated over a couple of weeks.

She called this one Finding My Way.

This is what life was to her, what it is for each one of us.

A journey of finding our way.

Posts continued, the story slowly unfolding.

Perhaps startled at how raw, honest and realistic this blog was, unlike many others, curiosity sparked.

And so began the start of “Is this a true story?”.

Eventually, as it was asked more and more often, the magician behind the keyboard gave in and let out the truth.

This was her story. This was her happiness, her sadness, her grief, her frustration. This is what she felt, what she dealt with, what she fought through.

And if anything, somehow, impossibly, it just made everything so much more beautiful.

What bravery, what courage, must one have to narrate a tale, in hope of someone else not making the same mistake as they did. In hope of creating awareness about anxiety and living life dealing with it.

What a golden heart must it take to try drawing attention to government hospitals, to kids with special needs and different social circumstances.

What a strong heart must it take to acknowledge, that in life you will do things which you will regret, but it shouldn’t make you lose hope. There’s always a way out.

What a conscious and caring heart must it take to remind people who you don’t even know that we need to change our focus and turn to Allah before it’s too late.

But like in the case of every story, there came a time when there were no more pages to turn.

What had to be said, was said.

Now she could only hope and pray that it would hit home, that it would help someone who needed help.

It was time to draw a close, to end a story of brilliance unmatchable.

And so, on December the 13th 2017 the dreaded yet much awaited Final Note was published.

And out of the blogging world stepped yet another amazing author.

But not for long.

SHE’S BAAAAACCCKKKK! (What a way to kill the vibe. I apologize. I’m just excited. Stop rolling your eyes.)

Our dearest author of No Way Out/Finding My Way has once again made the dumb(why would you willingly start writing again?! Clearly the difficulties of a writer’s life didn’t hit you in full force in the last blog, smh) – awesome decision to write again!

You might have seen the link around.

(cringes internally)

(seriously, who names their blog nonamebrand and then ends their post with Regards – how unprofessionally professional)

(i’ll try to stop laughing now)

In case you’re trying to access that link unsuccessfully, it’s because it has been changed (by yours truly. of course).

The new (and much more socially acceptable) link is:

This story is about a pediatrician and is targeted at an older, more mature audience (23+). There won’t be any explicit content so if you’re younger and wish to read as well, go ahead, just don’t expect teenage drama centered around cliche things.

Link to the first post: Welcome!

Happy reading!

Much Love,

Troubled Illusioner. ❤

One Hundred and Seventy Eight

As narrated by Amz:

“I need to run home for my phone,” I say to Dee, hurriedly pulling a brush through my hair.

“Hmmm,” comes her sleepy reply.

“C’mon, you need to get up and get dressed,” I say, lifting the blinds completely and pushing open the windows.

“I only just fell off to sleep,” she groans irritably, pulling the duvet over her head.

“We’ll sleep tonight,” I say, having barely slept myself too.

We’d tossed and turned, troubled illusions plaguing our minds, preventing us from having a peaceful sleep.

Glancing in the mirror one final time, I exit the room and make my way towards the kitchen.

Aunty Raeesah is awake, in her gown and slippers, Ramla on her hip.

“Tea ‘ime, tea ‘ime!” Ramla exclaims in glee as Aunty Raeesah puts on the kettle.

“Yes, tea time,” Aunty Raeesah repeats affectionately.

“Someone is definitely more of a morning person than me,” I laugh.

“Oh you’re up!” says Aunty Raeesah, turning around with a smile. “Assalaamualaykum!”

I reply her greeting before taking Ramla from her.

“Are you having tea for breakfast, little one?” I ask, hugging her close.

“Tea ‘ime, Maani, tea ‘ime,” she sings happily.

“What will you have, Amaani?” asks Aunty Raeesah.

“Urm, I actually need to run home quickly,” I say. “I forgot my phone there yesterday.”

“You don’t want to have something first?” she asks, handing Ramla a sipper cup filled with honey water.

“No, JazaakAllah,” I reply. “Zee is on his way.”

The bells rings.

“In fact, that must be him,” I laugh, putting Ramla into her feeding chair.

Aunty Raeesah opens then locks behind me.

“Amaani awake, dressed and smiling at 7:30?!” teases Zee, the moment I get in.

“Whilst Dee is fast asleep,” I add with a smirk.

“Are you serious?” Zee asks in surprise.

“Yepp!” I reply in the affirmative, opening my window.

Zee whistles.

Then he turns serious.

“You’re good?” he asks.

I shrug.

“Going with the flow,” I say nonchalantly. “Didn’t sleep much.”

“Decision confirmed?” he asks.

“Nope,” I reply, popping the p.

Zee sighs.

I look at him.

“You don’t look like you slept much either,” I muse, noticing just then.

“I know I’m ugly, Amz,” he says, looking at me deadpanned. “You don’t have to rub it in.”

“At least you know,” I laugh, punching him lightly.

“No, really,” I say, turning serious. “I hate that you guys worry on my behalf. It’s so unfair.”

“It’s not your fault,” says Zee.

“What are you not telling me?” I ask, watching him carefully.

“Nothing that you need to know right now,” replies Zee.

“What is it? Who is it?” I ask, worry creeping in.

“Go get your phone,” says Zee, waving at Oupa, the security guard, as we drive through.

“Is everything okay?” I ask, ignoring him.

“Everything is okay,” he replies.

I look at him, unconvinced.

“I promise,” he says, meeting my gaze.

I unbuckle my seatbelt and get off.

When I reach the door, I realize that I’ve forgotten my keys.

Mentally scolding myself, I head back to the car.

“I forgot my keys,” I sigh, getting back in. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay, we’ll just go back and get it,” says Zee.

“I’m sorry,” I apologize again. “My head is just not working.”

“Stop apologizing, you getting to spend more time in my company, count it as a blessing,” says Zee, grinning at me.

I sigh helplessly, looking out of the window.

Zee, knowing that I’m no longer in a mood to talk, puts on the radio and we drive in silence.

On reaching Uncle Rashid’s place again, I hurry to the door, mumbling a quick apology and explanation to Aunty Raeesah before heading to the room Dee and I had slept in last night.

The door is closed so I give a warning knock before entering.

“I’m dressing!” says Dee, pulling on a top after shooting me a glare.

“Nothing I’ve never seen before,” I mumble, reaching for my keys.

“Did you get your phone?” she asks, towel drying her hair.

“Forgot my keys,” I mumble again, pocketing them.

“Wait for me,” says Dee. “I’m coming.”

She runs a brush through her wet hair before slipping her hair band onto her wrist and grabbing her phone.

“How do you shower so fast?” I ask, once again impressed at how quickly Dee can get ready. When I had left she looked like she wouldn’t be leaving the bed anytime soon. Now she was showered and dressed, no trace of sleep apparent in her blue eyes.

I wait as she slips her feet into her sneakers, then we head out together.

“You’re awake,” says Aunty Raeesah, noticing Dee behind me.

“And your hair is wet!” she exclaims a moment later.

“It’ll dry in the sun,” Dee says hastily.

“You’ll get sick, Deeyanah!” scolds Aunty Raeesah.

“She doesn’t ever get sick,” I say, shaking my head.

Dee smiles meekly at Aunty Raeesah, shrugging slightly before following me out.

“Oh heyy! Did my littlest fav rise and shine?” Zee grins at Dee as she climbs in.

“I’m not little!” says Dee. “What’s up with Meez?”

“He’s fine,” replies Zee.

“Meez?” I ask. “What happened to Meez?”

“He had a little accident,” replies Dee.

“When?! Why didn’t you tell me?! Is he alright?” I ask.

“Is that what you weren’t telling me?” I ask Zee. He nods silently.

“I only seen my phone now when I woke up,” says Dee, passing me her phone.

“You have enough to worry about, Amz,” says Zee. “Besides, like I said, he’s fine. I seen him last night and this morning.”

“Is he in hospital?” I ask, reading the messages on the group.

“No,” replies Zee. “He’s fine, I promise. If he wasn’t okay I would have told you, you know that.”

“I need my morning dose of coffee,” says Dee.

“I first need my phone,” I say.

“You can make your coffee while I get my phone,” I say to Dee as we pull into the driveway.

“I’m not going in that kitchen,” she replies immediately.

I jump off and head to the house hesitantly.

As narrated by Dee:

“Come on, I’ll make your coffee,” says Zee, a moment after Amz disappears into the house. “I don’t want Amz in there alone, not after yesterday.”

“I’m not coming into the kitchen,” I say, shaking my head, a shiver running down my spine.

“Okay,” says Zee, climbing out.

I follow suit, closing the car door behind me.

We head inside together.

“Do you think we should pack a couple of sets of clothes?” I ask Zee, pulling the gate closed behind me.

“Hmm.. maybe you should,” he says, heading to the kitchen.

“Amz,” I call. “Should we pack some clothes?” I ask.

I hear Zee filling water into the kettle then switching it on.

“Amz,” I call again, heading upstairs, unsure as to where she is.

She doesn’t reply.

My heartbeat picks up speed.

Calm down, she probably can’t hear you. 

“Amz!” I call, much louder this time. “Should we pack some clothes?”


I enter her room, my heart now racing.

And just like that, it stops.


Momentarily, I can’t think.

And then, there’s a thousand thoughts rushing through my mind all at once as I take in the scene.

Fuaad, on top of Amz, his hand over her mouth, his eyes glistening evilly.

A satisfied smirk sits on his face, but it drops the moment I scream.

His gaze flies up, darkening angrily at the sight of me.

“Shut up!!” he hisses.

I scream again, lunging at him.

Where is Zee?! 

My head connects with his shoulder-blade, pushing him off Amz.

An audible oof escapes my lips as we collapse in a heap.

I scream loudly again, but then, suddenly, I can’t hear myself anymore.

It takes me a couple of seconds to register why.

Fuaad is covering my mouth. 

With his. 

One Hundred and Seventy Seven

*Suggest you reread this post before reading today’s one, if you don’t remember who Umair is. 

As narrated by Meez:

Grabbing the steering wheel, trying to gain control again, I slam my foot on the brakes.

My head flies forward, hitting the steering wheel with a thud.

Stars dance in front of me for a long moment before I can see clearly again.

It takes a couple of moments for my eyes to readjust, and when they do, I wish they hadn’t.

Oh no, no, no. 

My heart racing, I unclip my seatbelt, and jump out.

Everything blurs again and I’m forced to stop.

I take a couple of deep breaths before attempting to move again.

Please let them be okay. Please, whoever it is, let them be okay. 

With jelly legs and shaking hands, I advance towards the other car, filled with trepidation.

I tug at the door handle, but nothing happens.

It’s too dark to see in, but I can clearly hear someone screaming.

I tap on the window, trying to get their attention.

The person turns to look at me.

I can see that she’s trying to talk, but now I can’t hear anything.

“Open the door!!” I yell.

She obeys.

“I.. he.. please.. he’s not.. please..

Incoherent words stumble out from the woman’s mouth.

She’s covered – head to toe. All I can see is her panicked, teary eyes.

Then I look pass her.

Not again. Please, ya Allah, not again.


My mind whirs to life, the memories first rushing past in a blur, then slowing down, playing out slowly, painfully.

It starts in the open field, in the darkness of the night – the very first time that the first thought in my mind was: He’s dead.


The helicopter is high above us now, flying off into the night sky.

But my mind is still reeling in shock.

The scene replays over and over again inside my head.

“You killed him!” I gasp finally.

Scar frowns, watching me in confusion.

And then he seems to realize.

“You ain’t seen a man’s brains being blown up before?” he asks, grinning in amusement.

I cringe at his choice of words.

“You killed him!” I repeat in shock, my voice a hoarse whisper. “Oh my god!”

He’s a killer. He has a gun. Get away! 

Flight mode instantly overtakes my ability to think straight.

I stand up, stumbling slightly, my legs numb from sitting in one position for too long.

Get away!!

The pins and needles in my feet don’t seem to be as painful as usual as I turn around to make a run for it.

But Scar, is of course, faster.

He grabs my wrist.

“The f*** you doing?! We need to leave. Don’t you understand?!” he yells.

“Come on!” he says, tugging my wrist and beginning to walk.

I stumble forward a few feet before falling.

Scar swears impatiently.

“Here,” he says, reaching into his pocket. “Swallow this.”

I look up at him tiredly, the thrill I’d felt earlier long gone, now replaced with sheer terror and paralyzing shock.

The excitement of being in a ‘movie scene’ doesn’t feel so exciting anymore.

The darkness of the night doesn’t feel so peaceful anymore.

Walking beside Scar doesn’t seem so safe anymore.

Life… life doesn’t feel so great anymore.

I reach for the drug, aware that Scar is watching me intently.

Wordlessly, I slip it into my mouth.

Then, I get up and walk.


The scene changes, switching to the second time that the first thought in my mind was: He’s dead.


Covered in bruises and fresh wounds, it takes me a few seconds to recognize him.

He’s tied to a chair, thick, strong rope disallowing him to move.

His head lolls to the side, almost resting on his shoulder.

His eyes are closed.

My heart stops, my blood turns to slush.

Time seems to stand still.

“Dad,” I breathe.

Hesitantly, I take a step forward.

Scar’s firearm turns to face me, but I don’t see it.

My gaze is fixated on my father’s swollen face.

“Dad,” I say again, my shock-filled voice echoing loudly in the small room.

My feet slowly step in front of one another, until I’m standing right in front of him.

He looks even worse up close.

I touch my hand to his bare chest, feeling his visible ribs.

‘Please,’ I beg silently. ‘Please, let him be alive.’


I will my mind to shut down, to stop the torture, but yet again the scene changes, this time taking me back to the third time that the first thought in my mind was: She‘s dead.


“Dude, you alright?” asks the guy next to me.

“That car…” I say urgently, my eyes scanning the road. “Something’s not right.”

“What car? Man, you partied too hard, bro,” he says, laughing. “Faizy must have -”

Oh god! Faizal! 

I look around wildly, trying to find him.

I spot him further in front, walking with his best friend to his left, his girlfriend to his right.

“I’ll be right back,” I mutter, rushing towards the trio a few paces ahead.

My timing isn’t right.

As for theirs, it’s perfect.

The car takes the bend at breakneck speed, tyres squealing as they try to grip the road.

The window is rolled down this time, but when they pause for a split second, directly alongside the trio, all I see is the barrel of steady-held pistol.

Everything slows down.

I open my mouth to scream, to warn the trio up ahead.


But no sound comes out.

It’s too late, anyway.

The car is already speeding off again, before it even really stopped.

I hear Faizal yell, an acidic throat-ripping yell, as he falls to his knees.

“Lubna!!” he screams. “LUBNA!!”

Overflowing with shock, his voice echoes in the night, slicing through my heart.

My body finally regains its senses.

I walk, unsure if I really am walking, forward.

But the moment she comes into full view, crimson blood seeping through her white silk dress, I stop.

My body freezes again, my mind taking me back to a forever haunting memory.


The movie of memories in my mind plays on, taking me back to the fourth time that the first thought in my mind was: He’s dead.


I stop at the door, glancing over my shoulder one more time…

And that’s when I see it.

My heart stills as I slowly turn around, hoping that I’m hallucinating, that I’m just tired and overanxious.

For an infinitely long moment, I simply stare, my eyes seeing, but my mind not registering.

But, eventually, it does.

My mind registers, processes, realizes.

And my blood…

My blood turns to slush.

“NO!!” I scream, sheer terror seizing me. “NOOOO!! FAIZAL!!”

Then, it is as if the cold that rushes through my blood, freezes me.

It makes me immobile.

I can see the bottle of pills on his pedestal, the cap unscrewed, lying beside the container. I can see the only half full bottle of water a little away from the container’s lid. I can see Faizy’s pale – deathly pale – face. And I can see that his chest is not moving, not rising and falling as he breathes – as it should be – but my mind and body refuse to cooperate.

I can see, so very clearly, how everything about this situation is wrong, yet I don’t move an inch.

can’t move an inch.


The montage comes to a pause, no more footage available.

So, it creates more.

He’s dead.

I rush to the other side of the car and yank at the door, but it doesn’t open.

My brain has shut down, and my mind is blank but spinning simultaneously.

“Umair!!” I yell, the terror in my voice ripping through the silent night. “UMAIR!!!”

Not again. Please, ya Allah, not again. I can’t, I can’t, not again.

One Hundred and Seventy Six

Hey. Hi. Hello. Salaam. Bonjour. Salut. Ciao. Ahoj. Bog. Marhaba. Ola. 😀

This note was suppose to go at the end, but I decided to rather forewarn you’ll. 

I’ve been sorta struggling to write for a while now for a number of reasons. One of them being, I’m thinking of rounding up this story sooner than I had initially intended. So now, I don’t exactly know where to take things and how to tie up all the loose ends, in fewer posts. I was reading a couple of articles on writing tips and things along those lines, and apparently when you get stuck or don’t know where you want to take things, creating a twist helps. Running your story another way, making what was suppose to happen, not happen, and vice versa, maybe even killing off a character.

So, this is me doing that. Let’s see how it works out. 

Much Love,

Troubled Illusioner. ❤

As narrated by Meez:

“I don’t allow smokers in my car,” says dad.

He’s reprimanding me. Kindly.

He always does that nowadays. It’s like he understands but I don’t think he really does.

I clip my seatbelt into place, before opening my window and exhaling.

“I’m starting with the easy things,” I say, before lifting my cigarette to my lips again.

“You’re doing pretty well,” says dad.

“This one is going to be impossible,” I sigh, looking at the object between my fingers, a feeling of helplessness washing over me.

The girls too, I muse silently.

The girls – as in Amz, Dee and Sumayya. More so the former two.

My mind replays the earlier scenario. I think of Amz and how badly I wanted to hug her and reassure her that it’s fine, of Dee and how the sight of her terror and the sound of her sobs made me want to kill Fuaad – slowly, painfully.

They’d packed overnight bags and called Uncle Rashid to pick them up, too afraid to spend the night on their own.

He’d arrived in no less than 5 minutes and then it was just Zee and I.

“Come on, I’ll drop you,” said Zee, getting into his car.

“I’ll call my dad,” I replied.

“We live in opposite directions,” I added a moment later, realizing how abrupt I had sounded. Who turns down a ride home with their best mate?!

But I needed to clear my head.

Before I interacted with anyone.

I was angry at Fuaad. And frustrated – with myself.

Zee had considered me for a long moment.

Then, he climbed out, and joined me outside, leaning against the car door.

“You want to talk?” asked Zee, going straight to the point.

I do, but you won’t understand.

“Not now,” I said, after a long pause.

I avoided his gaze as he tried to search my face.

“Bro -”

I cut him off.

“Everything’s alright,” I said, answering the question I’m sure he would have asked.

“What’s happening inside your head?” asked Zee, his tone firm and serious. “I need to know.”

“Sunflowers are growing,” I said – meaning happy thoughts.

He hadn’t looked amused.

“It’s all good, boss,” I said.

“Honest,” I added, when he had raised his eyebrows, unconvinced.

It didn’t do the job – he still wasn’t convinced.

But he’s Zee. And Zee always knows what to say.

At that time, it was nothing; I didn’t want him to say anything.

And he didn’t.

Running a hand through his messy hair, he sighed before standing up straight.

Then, he got into his car, started the engine, and drove off.

I reached into my pocket, lit a cigarette, and called dad.

“You know what they say,” says dad, pulling me out of my thoughts.

I glance at him.

“No pain, no gain,” quotes dad, turning to look at me briefly before focusing on the road again.

I inhale deeply.

“Don’t seem to be gaining,” I mutter.

“All the better,” says dad. “If you don’t see your rewards here, it means they’ve been deposited into you bank balance on that side.”

“And you probably are gaining,” says dad. “You just not realizing it, because you’re more focused on the pain, instead of the gain. But that’s usual in the beginning of any process of change. Think about it.”

I do.

I think about what I’ve gained since the reality of life hit me.

I think about the “shift” I’d felt in the hospital that day, and all that came with it.

And then I realize, that dad is right.

I have gained.

And what I’ve gained is far better than what I’ve lost.


This post is for you, dear reader, who knows the struggle. Who knows the struggle of fighting nafs and shaytaan. Who knows what it feels like to crush your desires and your heart along with it too. Who knows what it feels like to fall and stumble just when you thought you’d finally made it. Some days you’ll feel like you’re never going to make it. But you will. Trust me, Insha Allah, you will. Remember that perseverance is the key. The toil is treacherous but wallahi, the fruits are sweet. Strive, work hard, show your nafs who’s the boss. Stay focused on your goal and never let anything or anyone deter you. Don’t ever forget that your Rabb is with you, that He loves you, and that He is Most Merciful, Most Kind. ❤


“Can I have the keys, please?” I ask dad, as we pull into the garage.

“Where are you going?” asks dad, handing them to me with a small frown.

I shrug.

“Just for a drive,” I say.

I need to think, to clear my head.

Dad opens his mouth to say something, then decides against it.

He exits the car, but sticks his head in again before shutting the door.

“Be careful,” says dad. “And don’t come home too late.”

He closes the door and heads into the house.

I slip the key into the ignition, then strap my seatbelt into place.

My thoughts start moving not long after the car does.

Rolling down the windows halfway, I focus on my thoughts, easing my leg off the accelerator a little.

I wonder about the girls, if they’re okay and have managed to fall asleep.

I wonder about Fuaad, how it is possible for him to be so unethical, so heartless.

I wonder about Nabeelah, whether she’s hooked up with someone else yet and if he’s good-looking.

I wonder about Lubna, the image of crimson blood against her white dress making its way into my mind.

I wonder about Faizy, and say a silent prayer that things are going well for him.

My thoughts have entrapped me, pulled me into an entirely different world.

Memories entangled with emotions, with observances and with musings, swim around inside my head.

My attention is no longer where it should be.

And I only realize when I feel my body spinning just as fast as my mind.

Maybe I’m just imagining. 

Everything rushes in front of my eyes in a hazy blur.

Or maybe I’m not just imagining. 

Somewhere at the back of my mind, I hear dad’s voice.

Be careful. And don’t come home too late.