As narrated by Zee:
The sound of my phone ringing pulls me out of my slumber.
I slide my finger across the screen, eyes still closed.
“‘lo,” I mumble a barely audible hello.
“Hellooo!” Meez’s bright, and very much awake voice replies.
I groan, turning to glance at huge clock on my wall.
“Bro, it’s 6 am on a blimmin Sunday! Go to sleep!” I complain tiredly.
“You’re the one always saying the early bird catches the best worm,” he answers mischievously.
“Well I’m not a friggin bird!” I say, a little more awake now. “Seriously, is it something urgent, because I’m going back to sleep if not.”
“We both know you can’t go back to sleep once you’re awake,” he says, annoyingly.
“Right, bye!” I grumble, moving the phone from my ear.
I sigh, a small grin making its way to my face.
“What?” I ask, putting the call on loud speaker.
“Emmarentia in an hour?”
I contemplate his question for a few seconds before replying.
“I’m game. Got to ask ma first though. Who you going with?”
“Parents,” he replies. “Yanno, don’t want to third wheel…”
“Oh so it’s a double date then?” I ask through my laughter.
“Of course,” he replies, and I can hear him grinning.
“Well thanks for disturbing my beauty sleep, but I really need to start getting ready now.”
“Yeah, I know how long it takes for you to do your hair and make-up and all that crap. That’s why I called so early!”
I laugh, rolling my eyes, even though he can’t see me; like a typical girl!
“You’re an idiot. Check you in a while, bro.”
Cancelling the call, I get out of bed, push my hair off my forehead, and head to the bathroom.
As narrated by Meez:
“Seriously Rameez, you really need to start learning to pick an outfit yourself now!” says mum, as she walks out of my huge closet, clothes in hand. “What are you going to do when you get married?!”
“Get my wife to do it, of course!” I reply promptly, with a grin.
She shakes her head, but I see a ghost of a smile on her face.
“But marriage is still faaar away, so I’m good for now,” I add.
I take the clothes she hands me, saying a quick word of thanks before making my way towards my en-suite bathroom.
After a hot shower, I head downstairs to the kitchen.
Mum is making sandwiches to take with and I step in to help.
“You can do the cold meat,” she says.
Dad walks in then, and soon we’re all making sandwiches in comfortable silence.
This will be my second weekend not spent with Faizy and his group, and so I insisted Dad take us out, knowing too well that if I stayed at home, I’d end up doing some crap out of boredom, like I did last weekend.
I sigh quietly as I wrap the wax paper around my finished sandwiches.
People make changing sound so easy. Heck, try it first before you go around saying, ‘It’s really just in the mind.’ Sure it is, but keeping your mind on track is the trickiest part.
I guess I’m not trying the hardest I can either, but seriously, who wants to be that uncool, holy kid? Sure as hell, not me!
What Meez hasn’t realized yet, is that he’s missing the whole point.
Being pious doesn’t make you uncool.
But he’ll come to realize that, all in due time.
See, change doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process, not an event.
As narrated by Aunty Aadila:
I watch as Rameez and Ziyaad walk off into the distance, soccer ball at their feet.
Often I find myself looking at Ziyaad and wondering, ‘Why can’t Rameez be like him?’, but I’m slowly coming to realize that each child has a unique, individual personality.
And trying to change that, comparing that uniqueness to another child, is not appreciated by a teenager who is growing up, trying his best to fit in.
Maybe that’s why I had lost a part of my son. Maybe the continuous pressure we put on him, was the reason he and I no longer shared the bond Ziyaad did with his mother, despite Rameez being my only child. Maybe it was the constant persistence to excel in all fields of life, at such a young age, that wore him out.
I still didn’t understand it though, because as much as Ismaeel and I expected the best from him at all times, we gave him the best too.
Perhaps this was our mistake. We gave him too much freedom.
Giving your child freedom is not the way you show them your love. Always giving in to their demands is not the way you show them your love.
But I had yet to learn this.
See, in life, we’re always learning.
Sometimes the easy way, sometimes the hard way.
As narrated by Dee:
“How are you feeling?” I ask quietly, sitting down next to Daanyaal.
It’s the next day, and once again, after a restless night, I’m at the Rehab center with Daanyaal.
The room is empty, as the other boys are still in physio; Daanyaal finished earlier.
“As bad as feeling bad gets,” he mumbles.
I sigh inaudibly.
“Should I go? Do you want to be alone for a while?”
A comfortable silence settles between us; both of us deep in thought.
And when Daanyaal speaks again, I’m not quite sure what startles me more – his voice after the long silence, or the words he says.
“I know why I’m here.”
“What do you mean?” I ask, frowning.
“I remember. I remember what happened.”
I stare at him in shock and slight apprehension.
“Yesterday, after you left, I sat and thought long and hard about everything. And it all kind of fell into place, I guess. It makes sense now; the scar on my forehead, the headaches.”
He pauses, sighing softly.
“Some of it is still a bit hazy… I’m not sure if it all really is true, but I remember almost everything now.”
And then he’s crying.