As narrated by Amz:
The whole scene plays over and over again in my head as Uncle Ismaeel drives us home.
Zee screaming, then leaping out of the car, knocking Dee down onto the sidewalk and falling on top of her. Uncle Ismaeel braking; sharp and fast. A screech of tires, and then I’m running, eyes trained on Dee’s unmoving body laying on the ground, Zee next to her.
Not now, not on the terms we’re on, not like this… please Allah, don’t test me in this way again.
My harsh words to her this morning ring in my ears, as I crouch down, taking her hand.
“Deeyanah?” I calls out to her.
“Is she okay? Oh my god, Zee, are you okay?” I ask, my voice shaking.
Please let her be okay. Please, please, please.
“Amz, did you bring water?”
Zee’s voice pulls me back to reality.
“Huh?” I ask, having not heard him properly.
“Water. You got?”
“No. I’ve got juice though,” I reply, fumbling in the packet of things I had brought for Daanyaal.
“There is a bottle in the car. Just check under the seat, maybe it rolled there,” says Aunty Aadila.
“Okay, found it, JazakAllah.”
As soon as Uncle Ismaeel drops Dee and I home, I head up to my bedroom.
Aunty Aadila said that we should go home with them, but after much persistence I managed to convince her that we’ll be fine.
Thing is, after a very long time, I honestly didn’t know if we would actually really be fine…
The tension between Dee and I over the past few days has just been increasing. And our fight this morning only made things worse.
I kick off my shoes and collapse onto my bed.
I should probably check on Dee, but my mind needs to calm down first.
And as I stare up at the ceiling, the reality of what happened not too long ago crashes down.
I could have lost Dee there and then.
It terrified me, making me curl up closer into my pillow, as it dawned on me just how much Dee meant to me.
Just the thought of losing the only person I had left brought tears to my eyes. The thought of losing her to death, when we were on such bad terms, made my heart clench with regret and immeasurable pain.
And in that moment, as I clung to my pillow, tears rolling down my cheeks, I made up my mind about the question that has been tormenting me over the last couple days. And my decision wasn’t selfless, like most of my decisions usually were, because I’d come to realize, that I need my best friend just as much as she needs me.
Ironic, isn’t it.. how it takes death for us to appreciate life. It takes sadness for us to appreciate happiness. It takes solitude for us to appreciate company.
And strange, is it not, how one moment, lasting not even longer than a couple minutes, could change your entire perspective.
My perspective had changed. It made little sense to me now, how I had once thought adoption was a possibility.
I would not leave.
Scratch that – I could not leave.
Wiping my tears, I sit up, intending to go immediately to tell Dee about my changed decision. But Dee gets to me before I can get to her.
“You okay?” she asks softly, sitting down on my bed.
Ignoring her question, I fling my arms around her, pulling her into a tight hug. She winces slightly, reminding me to be more gentle, and I loosen my grip slightly.
“I’m sorry, Dee,” I apologize, before letting go and looking directly into her tired eyes. “I’m so, so, so sorry. And I know sorry isn’t enough for the way I’ve treated you the past few days, but maybe what I have to tell you might be.”
“I.. you.. why are you apologizing? I was at fault, not you,” she says quietly.
“We were both at fault, Dee. But we’re going to fix that, because I can’t live with a person who I can’t talk to and who won’t talk to me.”
She frowns. Her eyes narrow, and she searches my face.
“Amaani,” she says in a warning tone. “What are you playing at?”
“I’m not playing, I’m serious,” I say.
“Just be straight up. Have you changed your mind about the whole adoption thing?” she asks, dead serious.
“Maybe,” I answer, riling her up purposely.
“Dammit, Amaani, I swear, if you’re playing my emotions, I’m going to -” she says, leaving the threat hanging.
“What you going to do?” I ask grinning madly now, unable to keep a straight face anymore.
“Say promise?” she demands, as she realizes that I am, in fact, being serious.
I stall a couple seconds before answering, just to annoy her.
“No, say, ‘I, Amaani Ahmad, promises that I am really staying, and I am not going to get adopted’.”
“I, Amaani Ahmad, promises that I am really staying, and I am not going to get adopted.”
I’ve barely finished my sentence when suddenly the same Dee sitting across me, a dead serious expression on her face, is on top of me screeching like a wild bird let out of a cage after months of captivity!!
“WHOA, CALM DOWN, YOH!” I yell, but hug her back.
“Oh my God, I love you so much,” she says, hugging me harder.
“You’ll love me even if I tell you that I’m just kidding?” I ask quietly, forcing back my grin.
Dee freezes, before pulling back to look at me, eyes narrowed, a look of death.
I burst out laughing, hiding behind my pillow.
“You’re a bloody idiot, you know that,” she says, trying to sound annoyed.
I’m unable to reply, because I’m laughing so hard.
Dee grabs a pillow and whacks me with it.
“This is why I’m emotionally unstable, because I live with a nut like you!” she says, as my laughter subsides.
“So if I move out, you’ll be emotionally stable?”
“STOP!!” she yells, and I’m laughing again. “It’s not funny.”
“It’s hilarious,” I reply, clutching my stomach.
“You mad,” she says, looking at me with a straight face.
I finally compose myself, and it’s quiet for a while.
“Are you really staying?” Dee asks, breaking the silence.
“Yeah,” I reply seriously.
And then I go on to tell her everything I’d been thinking before… How nearly losing her made me realize how much she really meant to me.
I told her, because I was reminded once again that we have no idea when we might leave this world for the next. Tomorrow might not always come. And even if it does, it might not come with the people we take for so granted.
So seize every opportunity, every moment, to let your dear ones know how much they mean to you.
Live in the moment, for the past has long gone, and the future is not promised.
Make every day count, lest it may be your last.
And when something changes your perspective, embrace it.
Embrace it and accept it, because at the point of every ending, awaits a new beginning.