My mind is reeling as I go outside. I sit down on the grass, drawing my knees to my chest, forcing myself to calm down. To breathe.

Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.

Someone sits down next to me.


She drapes her arm over my back and I rest my head on her shoulder.

The moon watches from above as we sit together in silence, understanding each other’s pain without having to explain it. Unlike me, Amaani lost her parents involuntarily in a deadly car accident, earlier this year.

Ten minutes later, Sumayya joins us outside.

“You guys okay?” she asks.

“Yeah, we’re fine.” Amaani replies, smiling at her.

As I lift my head of Amaani’s shoulder, hands cover my eyes. Zee. I turn my head to look at him, eyebrow raised.

“You okay?” he mouths.

I nod as he sits down.

“I’m sorry guys,” I say, breaking the silence.

Rameez opens his mouth to say something but I cut him off.

Me: Listen, you guys go ahead with the whole thing. I’m not coming.

Sumayya: No. Dee, don’t be silly, you are coming with.

Zee: Yeah, we either all go or don’t go at all.

Me: I’m not going with my uncle and there isn’t any other way I can go. I don’t have a..

I stop mid sentence.

I do have a brother. I do have a father.Β 

Regret washes through me and tears once again threaten to leave my eyes. I breathe deeply, trying to control my mind before it controls me.

“Dee, we don’t have to talk about this now,” Amaani says quietly.

“There isn’t anything to talk about,” I reply. “You guys will go ahead with the plans of a road trip. I just won’t be coming with. That’s it.”

“Deeyanah you’re being ridiculous! What’s the point of going then?” asks Rameez, frowning.

“Oh I thought you figured that out by now,” I reply, my sarcasm kicking in to drive out my anger. “I’m always ridiculous.”

“I would have figured that out a lot sooner had you not kept so many things to yourself. But no, you can handle everything perfectly on your own, isn’t? Just bottle it up and half kill yourself on the inside but ask you how you doing and ‘Oh, I’m great thanks and you?’ Had you spoken to us sooner, things could be a lot different right now and you know that, but you still won’t. But hey, it’s cool, I mean we’re just your friends for nothing, we’re not here to help you out or anything. We just want you to be there for us whenever we need you but nope, don’t tell us about your problems,” he fires backs, equally as sarcastic.

“Shut up Rameez, you don’t know what you’re saying!” I say angrily, even though in my heart I know that all that he just said is the truth.

“Oh, trust me Deeyanah, I do know what I’m saying. And what I’m saying is the truth, is it not?”

“Stop it you two. Now is not -” Amaani tries intervening but Rameez ignores her.

“Is it the truth or not,Β Deeyanah?” he persists.

“It’s not,” I lie. “You should be the last one saying anything about telling each other what’s going on in our lives. What about when you got involved withΒ The Scorpians? Did you say anything? No, you didn’t! We had to figure out why you came to school everyday with a new scar, why you never wanted to hang out all of a sudden, why you were always so moody. So don’t you dare preach to me about talking to you guys because I do. And I say a lot more than you do!” I’m shouting at him, angry now.

“That was different, it was dangerous. My father was being held hostage. His life was at risk! Had I got you’ll involved in would have put you’ll in danger too. It was too dangerous!” he shouts back.

“Guys, please, stop arguing! Can we leave the past where it belongs and focus on the current problem?” asks Sumayya.

“There is no problem so can you guys just drop it,” I say, tiredly.

I hate arguing with people. It’s so exhausting to vent my feelings.

Rameez starts saying something but Zee interrupts him.

“Give it a rest bro,” he says, softly.

“Whose side are you’ll on anyway?” mutters Rameez.

“It’s not about sides, Meez. And you’ll are both wrong to argue like that,” replies Amaani.

I put my head in my hands and sigh.

“Thanks for the headache, Meez,” I say, sarcastically.

“You welcome,” he replies, smirking.


Hamza comes outside.

“Su, you ready to go?” he asks.

“What’s the time?” asks Sumayya.

“Half eight,” he replies.

Whoa, what?! We’d wasted so much time arguing? Amaani shoots me a pointed look.

“It’s still early, dude,” Zee says to Hamza, frowning.

“Yeah but I’ve got some studying to finish,” he says.

“Shame, nerd problems,” teases Sumayya, sticking her tongue out at him.

Hamza rolls his eyes.

“C’mon madam, let’s go,” he says.

“Okay, okay, let me go and carry out formalities with the elders,” she says cheekily whilst getting up.

“Deeyanah, do you guys want a lift?” asks Hamza. “Then Uncle Ismaeel doesn’t have to go out again.”

“A lift to heaven, yeah, otherwise no,” I reply, without lifting my head.

“Well, I can’t offer you a lift to heaven but I can offer you a lift out of hell,” he says, smiling mischievously.

I look up and smirk at Rameez.

“You do get the hint, don’t you?” I ask.

“I’ll just pretend as if I didn’t hear that,” he replies, looking around nonchalantly.

“You two!” remarks Zee, shaking his head whilst laughing.

“What ever did I do?” I ask, innocently. “It’s Hamza over there, not me.”

Sumayya comes back outside.

“What’s so funny?” she asks.

“Too late, you missed the joke,” replies Amaani.

“Rudeness!” she says, pretending to be offended.

“Are you done ‘carrying out formalities’, dear?” Hamza asks Sumayya.

“Yep,” she replies. “Amz, you guys want a lift?”

“Hamza just asked us the same thing,” says Amaani.

“I didn’t get a reply though,” he remarks, looking at me.

“I don’t know,” I say. “Ask Amz what she wants to do.”

“I think we’ll come, if you don’t mind,” says Amaani. “Little Deeyanah over here needs to get to bed.”

“Hey! I’m not little,” I retort.

“Yes you are,” they say in unison.

I roll my eyes, shaking my head. Being the youngest in the group is no small thing! Pun intended.

We go inside to greet Aunty Aadila and Uncle Ismaeel. Or if you prefer, to carry out our formalities. πŸ˜‰

Aunty Aadila hugs me tightly and whispers into my ear, “We’ll work out something, okay? Please don’t be upset.”

I smile reassuringly at her despite my mind tormenting me.

It had been a long day and I felt exhausted. As soon as we get home, I read salaah, change into pyjamas and get in bed.

But along with troubled illusions comes restless sleep..


4 thoughts on “Eleven

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