*Anjali, this one’s for you. 😉
As narrated by Zee:
“Ziyaad beta, your phone!” Ma calls from the back door.
I hurry out of the pool, grabbing my towel to dry my hands, before reaching to take my phone from Ma.
Just as I answer though, the caller cancels.
It was a Skype call from Humairah.
I sit down in the sun, draping my towel over my shoulders, as I text her.
ME: Call me now, sorry
A few minutes later, my phones rings again.
I answer and a grinning Muaaz appears on my screen.
“Assalaamualaikum,” he greets.
“Muaaazooo! Wa’alaikumSalaam,” I greet back, grinning too. “How you doing, my man?”
“Alhamdulillah, and you?”
“Good man, shukr. How’s mum and dad?”
“They’re well, enjoying your absence as always!”
“Hey and what about me?!” calls a voice in the background.
Few second later, Humairah face appears next to Muaaz’s.
“And what are you doing with my phone, mister?!” she asks, trying to grab her phone from Muaaz.
But he is too quick and I watch as they have a mini war, which Muaaz wins.
“You better come home soon. Look at how he bullies me!” complains Humairah.
I smile to myself, remembering how not too long ago, it was me who Muaaz troubled.
“It’s so peaceful here without you guys,” I tease.
Banter flows lightheartedly as we catch up.
Humairah started a counselling course, which she said was going well. And when Muaaz told me that he was seriously thinking about starting Hifz, I told him that I hadn’t heard such good news in a long time, and I genuinely hadn’t.
“Where’s mum?” I ask after we had spoken for about an hour. “My battery doesn’t have much life left!”
“She’s in the kitchen, I think,” replies Humairah.
“Well then what are you doing out of the kitchen Missy?!”
“I came to speak to thou, brother dearest!”
“And a great speech it was! Now give mum the phone, my battery is dyyyying!”
“Okay, okay, make dua for us and all,” she says hurriedly.
“And for me!” Muaaz calls in the background.
“You guys must make for me too. Love ya’ll. Salaam.”
“Wa’alaikum Salaam,” they greet in unison.
Humairah gives the phone to mum and as soon as her face appears on my screen, I can instantly tell that she is excited about something.
“Wa’alaikumuSalaam my baby,” she replies, smiling. “How are you?”
“Eish, a lot’s been happening.. but I’m well Alhamdullilah,” I reply.
I normally call mum every weekend, but the past few weekends had been crazily busy and I hadn’t spoken to her properly in a long time.
But as I spoke to the woman who knew me best, it felt like we had just spoken yesterday, even though she had a lot to tell me and I likewise.
“So what’s the good news?” I ask, eventually.
“Good news? I don’t have good news,” she replies, trying to smile.
“Aah c’mon mum, you’ve got that look in your eyes!”
“I know mums’ usually know their kids well, but I didn’t know it worked vice versa!”
“Hey doesn’t mean I don’t see you everyday…”
She cuts me off.
“I know, I know,” she replies, smiling.
“Okay now tell me.”
“We miiiight be- ”
“MUUUUM, DON’T TELL HIM!” I hear Humairah yell in the background.
“That’s unfair! I also want to know,” I groan like a small child.
“Not yet,” says Humairah, appearing next to mum.
“That’s injustice! You have to treat all your children fairly!” I tell mum.
“No, mum don’t let him get you to tell him,” says Humairah, taking the phone from mum.
“Wasn’t your battery dying?” she asks, shooting me a sweet smile.
“Rude, rude, rude!” I whine.
“Yeah actually it is, I need to go,” I add more seriously. “Let me greet mum.”
Only once the call has ended do I realize just how much I actually miss my family. But it’s comforting knowing that they are all well. Smiling to myself, as I think of Muaaz and Humairah, I dry off, then head inside.
I put my phone to charge and then get into the shower.
As narrated by Dee:
I hear the front door opening, followed by the sound of footsteps.
“Honey, I’m hoooome!”
I burst out laughing as I exit my room.
Standing at the bottom of the staircase is Amaani, a huge grin on her face.
“Idiot, I got excited! Thought maybe my nonexistent lover finally came to the right house!” I say, going down and giving her a hug.
“Key word being nonexistent,” she teases hugging me back.
“All sorted?” I ask as we head upstairs to Amaani’s bedroom together.
This morning, Amz left early with Uncle Ismaeel. Apparently she had some important things to sort, which she promised to tell me as soon as she thought it was the right time.
“Yeah, sort of…” she replied, nonchalantly. “What you made for supper?”
I raise an eyebrow.
“Well the house is still intact so I take that as nothing,” she adds.
“You got that right,” I say.
She drops her backpack on the bed, and slides the envelope she is holding, under her pillow.
“Don’t even think of it!” she warns, as my eyes follow the envelope.
That’s the same envelope she shoved her papers into the other night. The same envelope she’s been hiding and practically taking with her everywhere!
“Just tell me what’s in there!”
“Not yet,” she replies, taking of her cardigan.
“Alright, alright,” I reply, trying to sound uninterested.
But I had never been this curious about the contents of an envelope…