As narrated by Zee:
“Bro, this whole me seeing Dayyanah story…”
“Yeah?” I reply, tackling one of his players before heading towards the goal.
“It was all a big mistake.”
“What do you mean?” I ask, intrigued and slightly worried.
He’s silent for a while, concentrating on getting the ball back.
Then, hitting the pause button, he drops his controller onto his lap.
“I’m not even suppose to have told Dee,” he says.
“Why not?” I ask.
“She told me not to,” he replies.
“She? You mean Dayyanah?”
“Yeah,” confirms Meez.
“What else did she say?”
Meez sighs, lifting his cap slightly, then placing it firmly on his head again.
“Bro, it’s a messed up situation,” he says, avoiding my gaze.
“Well someone had to mess it up for it to become messed up,” I say seriously. “What did you do?”
“Look, it’s a long story..”
I look at him, waiting for him to elaborate.
And then he rubs his eyes, and a switch flips inside my head. Slowly the gears move, all his tiredness, all his coming late to school, all his hanging out with ‘other’ friends, all his ‘will you cover for me’s…
“Dude where did you say you saw her?” I ask, dread slowly creeping in.
“You’re going to flip, bro. I’m not telling you,” he replies, resuming our game of incomplete FIFA.
Surely he didn’t..
“Where did you see her?” I ask again, but he ignores me.
His muscles are tense, his fingers moving furiously along the controller.
No, he didn’t.. he wouldn’t..
But as much as I try denying it all goes back to one place.
I dive for his controller, but he’s a split second faster, lifting his hands out of my reach.
“YOU SEEN HER AT A FRIKKIN PARTY THAT YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN AT, DIDN’T YOU?!” I yell at him, anger settling in.
He looks at me, partially shocked, partially helpless.
“WHERE THE HELL ARE YOUR BRAINS DUDE?!”
“How did you know?” he asks, quietly.
“I’ve known you since you were a kid, Meez,” I reply, my voice now dangerously low. “Do you think I’m stupid?”
A moment of silence passes.
“It was at a club,” he mumbles, dropping his head.
For a moment I’m not quite sure I heard him, but his words hang heavy in the air.
“It was at a club..”
I look at him, waiting for him to laugh and say he’s just kidding, but when he looks up to meet my gaze, I know that he has just spoken the truth.
Unable to say anything, I pick up my game controller, and vent my feelings against the buttons, eventually winning an equally venting Meez, 3-2.
As narrated by Dee:
Up the all too familiar ramps, pass the reception area, and up the stairs to level 3. Down the corridor of ward 4 I walk, not looking left and right, into other rooms, having learnt my lesson well enough the first time.
Curiosity overtaking me, the first time I had come to the hospital, I had allowed my eyes to wander. My gaze fell upon a screaming child, an old man, needles poked into his clearly visible veins, a lady having difficulty breathing, an oxygen mask covering her face, strange sounds emitting from her mouth, people unable to move due to pain, people unable to move due to broken bones…
Never, never, look into rooms except the one you are visiting. You have no idea what you might see, what suffering you might witness, what your eyes may fall upon which your mind won’t forget.
And, always be grateful. We can never be grateful enough. Allah has blessed us with countless blessings, many of which we are not even aware of.
I walk into the room Daanyaal shares with a teenage boy.
I greet Daanyaal, but unlike usual, I’m not met with a wide smile and bright eyes. He doesn’t even look towards me.
Surprised and slightly worried, I sit down next to him, in hope that he might tell me what’s bothering him.
A few minutes of silence passes before he says, “You broke your promise, didn’t you?”
My confusion, increasing with each spoken word, makes me frown, my mind revving its engine, ever ready to go into overdrive.
“You broke your promise.”