As narrated Deeyanah:
“Touch me! I dare you!” Dayyanah threatens him softly, dangerously, stepping closer.
“DAYYANAH MOVE!! ARE YOU MAD?! GET -”
I’m flung against the wall, pain shooting through my shoulder.
I get up quickly and back away, increasing the gap between Paapa and I.
Horrible language flows from his reeking mouth, as Dayyanah ducks his blows.
But what is a weak 14 year old against an angry grown man?
Dayyanah falls, and I hear a gasp behind me.
I spin around and see Daanyaal standing in the doorway, terror written all over his face.
No, no, no. Why is he here?! Where is Maama?! Why didn’t she keep him away?!
I move towards him hurriedly, blocking his view before turning him around and leading him away.
My foot slips, and I grab onto Daanyaal for support.
He’s messed his pants. Again.
I wake up, shaking and hot, my clothes sticking to my body, my heart racing, my breath coming in quick, short gasps.
Calm down… I need to calm down.
Reaching for the bottle on my pedestal, I take a long drink of water.
Breathe now.. deep breaths.
In.. hold.. out.
In.. hold.. out.
In.. hold.. out.
But my heart won’t stop pounding against my rip cage, and panic starts rising inside me.
I lift my bottle to my lips again, but more water goes down the front of my pyjama top, than into my mouth, because my hands won’t stop shaking.
I breath in again, deeply, slowly closing my eyes.
Easy does it..
Gradually my breathing returns to normal. My racing heart slows down, my shaking hands lay still, and my troubled mind becomes calm again. Slowly the images of Paapa towering over Dayyanah slips away, until my mind is blank again. Slowly the sound of Daanyaal crying dwindles away, until it’s silent inside my head again.
Everything fades away, oh so slowly. Everything fades, but nothing vanishes, nothing disappears. It’s there.. always there, somewhere in my mind, replaying, again and again, my mind refusing to forget, refusing to let go.
I switch on my side lamp and reach for my phone.
“Touch me! I dare you!”
No, please no. Don’t. Get out of my head!
I shut my eyes tightly.
Lifting my duvet I get out of bed. I go to the bathroom and open the water, letting it run over my hands, the coldness reviving me. I splash water onto my face, dry my dripping wet hands and go back to bed.
I sit in bed, thoughts of Dayyanah filling my mind. Meez said she has changed.. I wonder what he means by that…
Sleep doesn’t come and I eventually leave my bed again and head downstairs to make coffee.
As I descend the stairs, I notice that the lounge light is on. I frown, sure that Amaani had switched it off.
Glad that I didn’t have on shoes, I tiptoe down as silently as possible.
My heart starts beating a little faster, my mind telling me not to be silly. Ignoring it, I peek into the lounge..
My gaze falls on Amaani, her back facing me, papers scattered across the small coffee table.
My frown deepens. What on Earth is she doing?!
“Hey,” I say softly, entering the lounge.
Amaani jumps, a short yelp escaping her, visibly startled. Then noticing me, she hastily gathers the papers.
“What are you doing?” I ask curiously.
“Nothing,” she replies quickly.
Much too quickly..
“O-kaayyy,” I reply slowly, not in a mood to push it. I mean, Amaani tells me everything, surely she’ll tell me when she wants to.
“How come you’re awake?” she asks, quickly placing a cushion on the envelope she shoved the papers into, as I sit down.
I really want to see what’s in that envelope!
“Nightmares,” I mumble nonchalantly.
“Oh, you’re okay?” she asks sounding only slightly concerned.
“Yeah,” I reply managing a small smile. “I came down to make some coffee, but then I saw the light on and just thought I’d come to check.”
She smiles back uneasily.
Wow, what’s up with her?
The silence that follows is almost awkward and something like this not having happened before, I decide to just forget it and go. I do really want to know what those papers are about though.
“I’m going to get coffee now, do you want?” I ask, getting up.
“No thanks, I’m going to bed now,” she replies.
“Okay, don’t forget to read your duaas (prayers),” I say, winking at her before going out.
I switch on the kettle then grab my mug from the dish rack.
Wrapping my fingers around the hot mug, I switch off the light and head back upstairs, all the while wondering about Amaani and those papers.