Six

Apart from a cut on his arm and dusty clothes, he looks fine. We’ve seen much worse. As ridiculous as it sounds, for a 15 year old, he’s been through more than what most 20 year olds have. His life is a clear proof that not all rich people’s lives are as shiny as it looks on the outside.

Amaani sorts out the cut on his arm while Zee tries to get him to tell us exactly what happened. But his efforts are in vain. Meez won’t talk.. Not yet. All we know is that he got into a street fight, most probably with The Scorpians and he isn’t hurt badly, which is a good thing. And for now, that’s all we need to know.

“Rameez, did you eat?” asks Amaani.

I take his silence as a no and head over to Aunty Aadila’s spacious kitchen to see what she had left as lunch for Rameez.

What I admire most about Aunty Aadila, Meez’s mother, is that she always takes pride in being a woman. She is a top class cook, yet her kitchen is somehow always neat and clean. She dresses modestly, respects and takes good care of her husband, and is strict with her only child, Rameez. He however, has a mind of his own. Life experiences at such a young age have molded him into a rebellious teenager. But the love for his parents is there. And it’s usually that love that makes him regret his actions.

I read the note that Aunty Aadila has left on the fridge.

“Gone shopping – be back at 4. Lunch is in fridge in a blue square Tupperware with green lid. Read your salaah and start studying. Love you.”

Something pulls deep inside my heart and suddenly I can hear my own mother’s voice, ringing in my ears. I can see her tired black eyes, burning into my bright blue ones, silently begging me to think rationally. Her shaking hands as they try to grab me, to stop me, from doing what I was about to do.

I shut my eyes tightly, pushing the memories to the back of my mind, locking them away, forcing myself to forget even though I know I never will.

I take out the sandwich, put it on a plate, fill a glass with water and take it all to the lounge where they all sit. After much persuasion, Rameez grudgingly picks up the sandwich and starts eating. Halfway through he breaks the silence with such a ridiculous question that I can’t help but roll my eyes.

“Please can you guys stay till my mum comes back?” he asks, his voice barely a whisper.

“Obviously we will. Even if you wanted us to go, we would’ve stayed,” replies Amaani.

And finally, he smiles.

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