Twelve

“Don’t touch her!” I scream, standing in front of him.

“MOVE!” he yells back at me.

“Deeyanah, please, don’t do this. Leave him alone.”

She’s pleading with me, begging me, but I will not stand back and watch it happen without trying to stop him.

“Paapa,” Daanyaal whispers, his eyes filled with terror as he holds onto mummy’s arm.

“Deeyanah, take Daanyaal and go to your room, please. I can handle him.”

She’s right behind me, she’s talking to me, but why does her voice sound so far away?

“MOVE, YOU WORTHLESS CHILD! GET OUT OF HERE!” he hollers at me.

Anger gushes through my veins.

“DON’T YOU DARE CALL ME WORTHLESS! YOU ARE WORTHLESS! YOU CAN’T RESPECT YOUR OWN WIFE! YOU CAN’T EVEN BRING UP A FAMILY LIKE A NORMAL PERSON!”

He pushes me.

Daanyaal is crying.

I’m screaming.

“Deeyanah, Deeyanah, wake up!”

Someone is shaking me.

“DEEYANAH!”

A cold hand touches my hot cheek.

My eyes fly open.

I’m sweating like I’ve just ran a marathon, my breathing short and fast.

I can still hear her voice, I can still see his bloodshot eyes. I shut my eyes tightly, trying to forget, but then I’m screaming again, trapped inside memories that will scar me forever.

“DEEYANAH!”

I open my eyes again, noticing Amaani for the first time.

“Dee, calm down, it’s okay, it was just a dream,” she says, pulling me into a hug.

I lay my head on her shoulder. Breathe. Inhale. Exhale.

The rare silence of the city comforts me.

I lift my head of Amaani’s shoulder and raise my pillow against the headboard, leaning back.

“You okay?” she asks, softly. She looks slightly panicked and I instantly feel guilty.

Ignoring her question I say, “Sorry, for waking you.”

“It’s okay,” she replies. “What.. what happened?”

“Nightmare…” I answer vaguely.

“This whole road trip saga triggered it, didn’t it?” she asks.

I don’t say anything for a long time.

“Dee?”

“I don’t know,” I reply.

I suddenly feel frustrated and confused. Why couldn’t I just forget everything and move on? Why couldn’t my life just be normal?

I sigh loudly.

“Dee, do you want to talk about it?”

Yes, yes I do. I want to pour my heart out to someone. I want to explain to someone why I did what I did. I want someone to understand me.

“No, go back to bed. I’m fine, really,” I lie.

She rolls her eyes, knowing better.

“Listen, I know you won’t talk but I’m in the next room, okay?”

I nod.

She gets up to leave.

“Amaani.”

She turns around.

“Yeah?”

“Thanks,” I say softly. “For.. you know..just-”

She’s at the door already but she walks back. And hugs me.

“Don’t be silly, Dee. That’s what friends are for, right?”

And then she leaves and I’m once again all alone with nothing but my thoughts.

And the war between my heart and mind starts.

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