Two Hundred and Twenty Eight

As narrated by Dee:

“How’s Amz?” I ask Zee, a little while after Zaki and Yas have left.

He shrugs, frowning slightly.

“She’s okay…” he replies vaguely.

I try to catch his eye, but he doesn’t let me.

“I already know it’s bad, Zee,” I say. “Just tell me how she is.”

“She still hasn’t come to see you?” he asks, registering my words.

I shake my head.

“Daanyaal says she’s always here though. As in she comes with Maama and him during visiting hours, she just doesn’t come in to see me. It doesn’t help that I need to speak to her,” I say miserably. “This is such a messed up situation.”

“It’s hard for her too, gorgeous. Think about all that’s happened to her over the past week. Maybe she just needs some time.”

“I know. I know it’s difficult for her. That’s why we need to speak!” I say.

“I’ll ask Maama to try to convince her,” he says. “Don’t let it work on you, though. You need to get better soon and come home. I miss you.”

“One more week,” I sigh.

“One more week,” he echoes, lifting my hand to his lips.


A day later…

As narrated by Amz:

Taking a deep breath, I step into Dee’s ward.

Herself and Zee are deep in conversation but their gazes turn to me as I step in.

A huge smile breaks Dee’s serious expression.

“Amz! You came! Oh my god, come here let me hug you!”

By the time I reach her tears are flowing down her smiling face.

“Are you okay?! I’ve been so worried. I missed you so much,” she says all in one breath, hugging me as tightly as she can with her one arm.

I had told myself to switch off.

I had switched off.

But now, seeing my best friend, the person I cared about even more than myself, as she is, rips away the armour around my heart.

I straighten, gently tucking her hair behind her ear, unable to stop my tears.

“Don’t cry! Oh Amz…” she says, her voice breaking.

I shake my head, wiping her tears with unsteady hands.

“I don’t deserve you. I don’t deserve you,” I whisper repeatedly.

“Shush,” she scolds gently. “I love you.”

I loved her too, more than ever before in that moment.

Nothing could break what we had – not guilt and not regret.

Nothing could destroy us – not a killer,  and not even a bullet.

“I don’t deserve you,” I say again, kissing her cheek.

And even though I didn’t, she took a bullet for me.

No doubt this was a hurdle we would have to cross.

But cross it we would.

True friendship can overcome all hardships.

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Two Hundred and Twenty Seven

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

I’m sorry this post took so long. I had to once again get used to writing on my own, after the collab with Miracle.

It is short, I’ll admit, but the next one will be up sooner than you think.

Much Love,

Troubled Illusioner. ❤


As narrated by Amz:

A whimper. A sob. A warning shout. Voices of steel.

The cold metal of a gun kisses my forehead.

Screaming. Crying. A desperate plea.

The finger pulls at the trigger. A blur of panicked blue eyes flash past.

The pain I expect doesn’t come.

Fuaad falls. Ace falls. Blood gushes like an ocean, drowning my strength.

I can’t think. I can’t breathe.

Dee is dying. My bullet is stealing her life. Zee’s life.

Can’t… breathe…

“Amaani!”

“Amaani!”

I fight. Trashing wildly, my breathing short and fast, I fight the hands trying to hold me down.

“Amaani! Wake up!”

“No. No! Dee!”

Fuaad stands up. Ace stands up.

Their weapons rise with them.

I get up to run, but my feet slip on the blood covering the floor.

My own scream wakes me, the deafening strength of its anguish snapping my eyes open.

Maama’s face looms above mine, full of panic, of fear.

Rabbi.. Rabbi..

I close my eyes, forcing myself to control my erratic breathing.

“Amaani,” says Maama, her voice a cautious whisper.

“I’m okay, Maama. I’m okay,” I whisper back, as the memories continue to flash inside my mind.

Fuaad. Ace. Dee. Blood. So much blood.

My stomach churns.

Rabbi.. Rabbi..

I curl into my pillow, too weak to fight the overwhelming pain, giving it free reign to consume me totally.

My trembling heart pleads for strength as my tears fall.

Rabbi.. Rabbi..

Vaguely I register Daanyaal walk into my room, quietly asking Maama what happened.

Her hand rubs my back soothingly, but it does little to calm the havoc wrecking my body.

I shut my eyes tighter and cry myself numb.

*****

Some days I allow myself to feel.

I don’t swallow the lump in my throat. I don’t hold back my tears. I don’t place my hand to my chest in a futile attempt of alleviating the physically crippling pain of my heart.

I let the pain come at me like a raging storm at sea, in waves of full force. The iciness of the wind chokes the breath in my lungs and tightens its hold on my neck. It pelts down on me from thunderous clouds above in lashing belts of rain. It throws me off balance and sucks me under, rattling my bones and punching my gut.

I leave its brutal fist to squeeze my heart, silently waiting for it to end as the blood trickles down and the saltiness of my tears sting wounds still raw.

I let the pain come at me, allowing me to catch fleeting glimpses of death before it turns its face and moves on.

I let the pain come at me, allowing myself to slip into the abyss of darkness that has begun to feel like home.

I let the pain come at me allowing it to infiltrate every crevice of my being, until it fills the emptiness of my heart and makes it feel something again.

I let the pain come, over and over again, I let it come, waiting patiently for it to destroy me. For in its wake it leaves a sense of numbness that makes me forget it all.

TroubledIllusionsxMiracle: Game Changer

So the other day, whilst trying to give me writing inspiration, amidst couple questions I could answer in the post, Miracle said:

“N why did fuaad make that ultimate sacrifice? Its confusing.. that selflessness.. she doesnt know how to feel about that?”

Confused, I said: Fuaad didn’t sacrifice 🤔 He couldn’t miss the bullet.

Miracle: Didnt he kill ace n ace killed him man

Me: Yeah but he didn’t do it as a sacrifice

Miracle: What did i miss 😳 Didnt he n ace hav guns to each others head n both pulled the trigger? Like he didnt hav to do that.. he didnt hav to jump in n attack ace to save amz.. WHAT am I MISSING HERE N HOW DID I MISS IT

Me: Oh mahn you’ve got it all wrong.
He didn’t attack ace to save Amz. He attacked ace because he hated ace. Fuaad wanted ace out of the picture just as ace wanted fuaad out. They both wanted to get rid of each other to have Amz. But they ended up killing each other. Fuaad was horrible.

Miracle: (She said my real name here but obviously I’m not going to copy that part! 😝) Trouble.. babe.. Someone jumps in front of a bullet to protect u.. delib puts themselves in harms way.. thats a sacrifice! Thts heroic.. n thts what i was saying long long ago tht fuaad comes off looking a bit heroic!!

Me: But he didn’t jump in front of the bullet! He advanced to ace to kill him. Not to save amz. Dee sacrificed! Not Fuaad.

Miracle: Oh u def need to say that somewhere babe.. i think alotta ppl r under the impression tht he was protecting Amz

Miracle: See i thought first Dee n then fuaad also had the same intention 🙄 yes hes horrible n yes thts why i didnt like tht it looked heroic.. Oh my hat.. U need to sayyyyyy this somewhereeeeee like IDK IDK IDK

Me: Fuaad was never the good guy. Not from the start. Not at the end. I’m pretty sure I made that clear in the one Amz pov where she said he will never change. He didn’t care for her. He just wanted her. And if Ace killed her Fuaad wouldn’t be able to have her.

Miracle: Amz needs to like muse a bit about why fuaad attacked ace like.. to clarify 🤷🏻‍♀️ It was his own anger n selfishness tht he got himself killed.. Mannnnnnn

Me: Yeah alright I’ll see what I can do.

 

Well, this is me “seeing what I can do”. 🙈 I already typed the post and Amz isn’t really “musing” anywhere in it and I’m lazy to think of a way to fit her musings in, so this is basically to clarify: for those who have been under the impression that Fuaad sacrificed for Amz – he didn’t.

 

But while we at this, here’s what collabing is like…

Me: She couldn’t stop thinking about Dee and ???? How must I say this part? Baby? Little dot? There always has to be that one line to drive us nuts 😭

Me: I kinda want it to confirm that she miscarried because in your post it doesn’t confirm whether they do the D&C or they only gonna it after she wakes up 😳😳

Me: Don’t wanna have to write a whole nother part to say that she miscarried if we can just incorporate in this one even just a one liner to confirm it.

Miracle: NO MORE PARTS!

Me: Let’s delete our wordpress apps and go to Hawaii

Miracle: 🎈🏊🏻‍♀️🏄🏻‍♀️🍦🍕☀️🌻🐬👙🧢 Im in!!

 

A little while later…

Miracle: Ok cudnt stop thinking abt dee and how she would break the news tht she had miscarried during surgery

Me: It took me 7 whole minutes to understand that this is the line I should put in the post. Definitely deleting my wordpress. Right about now. 😭😂

 

This was hilarious because I didn’t understand what she was saying, so I went to get ready for bed, yanno pjs, teeth, etc, and mid-brush it hit and obviously I started laughing because I felt so dumb, mouth full of toothpaste and all. 😂

 

Right, I’ll be on my way now!

And yes, I know you’re waiting for me to say when’s the next post. It will be up before Sunday evening In Sha Allah!

Much Love,

Troubled Illusioner. ❤

Two Hundred and Twenty Six

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.

They laugh.

“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!”

He laughs.

“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.

Two Hundred and Twenty Five

As narrated by Dee:

I dream about a man who I can’t take my eyes off.

I dream about the sound of his laughter, the scent of his perfume, the feel of his skin.

Lost in him, time is an imaginary concept.

Then, there’s a gun.

He’s on his feet instantly, standing in front of me protectively, his handsome face contorted in anger.

The pain snatches my breath away and he screams.

I try to tell him it’s okay, even though it’s not.

I try to tell him that I love him because I do and I don’t tell it to him enough because I’m scared of how alive my love for him makes me feel but I can’t because the pain is too much and I can’t see and I can’t breathe and I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.

Then, there is a picture of a scan and all the preceding pain is gentle compared to the shattering of my heart.

“Dee!”

“Deeyanah, open your eyes! Wake up! DEEYANAH!

My eyes fly open and I gasp for air.

My entire body feels hot despite the cold sweat clinging to me.

“Dee! It’s okay. It’s okay. Are you awake?” someone frantically questions.

Zaki.

I nod, my breathing too uneven to speak.

My body trembles, silent tears slipping out of the corners of my eyes as the aftershocks of my nightmare hit me in racking waves.

“Sshhh… it’s okay,” Zaki reassures me, taking my hand clenching the sheet tightly into hers.

“Zaki..” I whisper, my voice a croak. “He hates me..”

“Zee? You told him?” she asks.

“He guessed,” I reply, my heart constricting. “He’s hurting so much and it’s my fault.”

“Deeyanah,” she cuts me off sharply.

“Don’t,” I interrupt her. “Don’t say it’s not my fault. It is. I should have listened to him. If I -”

“It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault. God. Deeyanah, blaming yourself is suicide. It’s not your fault. ”

Her hands holding mine shake, a slightly panicked expression reflecting in her eyes.

There’s something about the way she repeatedly says it.

It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault. 

It’s as if she herself is trying to perceive it. A sentence she expressed to herself over and over to keep sane.

Studying her carefully, I notice for the first time the glimmer of pain hiding in the depths of her brown eyes.

From the few times I had seen them in the same space, Zaki and Yas always seemed so perfect.

They couldn’t possibly be lacking anything.

Except…

“Zaki, do you have kids?” I ask suddenly, the puzzle coming together inside my head, piece by piece.

She smiles but it doesn’t reach her eyes.

“I thought I would get away with not telling you, but you’re too smart.”

Zaki takes a deep breath.

“I don’t have kids,” she says, answering my question. “But first tell me what you dreamt.”

I freeze, panicking.

She senses my sudden, abrupt shift, and squeezes my hand.

“I.. urm.. I don’t speak about my nightmares,” I say.

“That’s not good Deeyanah. Not at all,” she says with a frown. “Not even to Zee?”

“Only to Zee,” I say, avoiding her gaze. “Do you not want kids, Zakiya?”

She frowns slightly, looking reluctant to answer.

“Persistent much,” she scolds lightheartedly.

“I’m sorry,” I apologize genuinely. “I’m just so… curious. Do you not want kids?”

“I do,” replies Zaki, her gaze dropping to avoid mine.

I wait for her to continue.

“I do want kids, more than anything else. Kinda ironic, hey, that I’m a paediatrician with no kids of my own. But Allah (swt) knows.. He knows that perhaps now it’s not good for me.. perhaps now it’s not the best time for me to have kids..”

“I had a miss too, Dee,” she continues, those 6 words coming out in a rush “Followed by an ectopic pregnancy.. that almost claimed my life. I pulled through a lot of what you’re pulling through now..”

Tears prick behind my eyes.

“How did you do it?” I ask, unable to imagine how it was possible to make it through this pain – not just once, but twice.

“There’s this saying of Ibn Qayyim’s….” she trails off pulling out her phone and scrolling through her gallery to find it.

Had Allah (swt) lifted the veil for his servant and shown him how He handles his affairs for him, and how Allah (swt) is more keen for the benefit of the servant than his own self, his heart would have melted out of the love for Allah (swt) and would have been torn to pieces out of thankfulness to Allah (swt). Therefore if the pains of this world tire you, do not grieve. For it may be that Allah (swt) wishes to hear your voice by way of duaa. So pour out your desires in prostration and forget about it and know; that verily Allah (swt) does not forget it.

“I live by this, Dee,” says Zaki. “So often in life, things don’t go according to how we wish. But it’s always going according to the plan of our Rabb, who loves us 70x more than a mother loves her child. What then can there be in every situation except good?

I know it’s difficult, and that the pain is so much, that you feel like you won’t be able to make it through, but you will. Allah (swt) will never give you more than you can bear. This is all a test, a means of raising your ranks and finding your Rabb, of strengthening your relationship with Him.”

“You just need to accept, Dee,” she says after a pause. “Accept that there is goodness in this, that it’s part of a plan written by a Being who loves you, who wants to hear you speak to Him.”

Zaki’s words reach into my shattered heart, gently gathering its fragments and fitting them together. Gluing them with love and care as a new thought sticks.

Strange is the nature of the human heart. With every breaking, it becomes stronger.