Hey. Hi. Hello. Salaam. Bonjour. Salut. Ciao. Ahoj. Bog. Marhaba. Ola.
Soo, I tried my best, but I don’t think I’ve done justice to this post. Honestly speaking, the emotions in this post are too strong and raw to truly feel through a screen, especially with an amateur at the keypad. Nonetheless, I hope you all enjoy the post.
Also, I haven’t had a chance to reply to comments yet. Please however remember that all your support is always appreciated.
Troubled Illusioner. ❤
As narrated by Daanyaal:
‘Where’s Maama?’ I wonder, as we all sit down at the set lunch table.
“Your mother is performing Salaah. She’ll join us just now,” Uncle Rashid says with a small smile, as if reading my thoughts.
I manage a smile back.
I look down at little Ramla’s smiling face, her big eyes shining as she stands on tiptoes, clutching my leg with her small chubby fingers.
She seems to remember me quite well, though my memory of her is wiped out.
I pick her up carefully, slightly afraid to hold her.
“Mumum!” she claps gleefully, making a grab for my plate.
I quickly put it out of reach, and turn her around to face me.
“Hey,” I say quietly, staring in wonder at her happy face.
Her jolliness is contagious and I grin as she scratches at my lips.
I trap her finger between my lips and she pulls her hand away, erupting in a fit of giggles.
“Da-yaa, ‘gain!” she says, moving her fingers towards my mouth.
I move to catch them between my lips, but she quickly hides her hands behind her back, giggling crazily again.
I play with her, repeating the same thing over and over, and each time she laughs harder.
It’s amazing, really, how such small actions make babies so happy.
Glancing up, I see Aunty Raeesah smiling at us, her eyes moist.
Just as I’m about to look away again, a figure appears in the doorway of the dining room.
Everything slows down.
Ramla’s giggles fades away into the background.
All the anxiety, nervousness, and fear I’d been feeling over the last couple days, rears up once again inside me.
Our eyes meet for a split second before I look down.
I get up, gently lifting Ramla with me.
“Da-yaa!” she squeals, trying to get my attention.
Aunty Raeesah takes her from me before silently leaving the room, Uncle Rashid following her.
It’s just Maama and I now.
My gaze is focused on the wooden floor beneath my feet, for meeting her eye would arouse all the guilt, all the pain, all the memories…
But then she speaks, a single word, her voice a mere whisper.
I look up slowly, my heart pounding against my rib cage.
My mouth is dry, my throat suddenly begging for a drink of water.
Our gazes’ lock, Maama’s black orbs pulling me in.
For a moment, I forget how to breathe.
Time stands still.
We stand there, staring at each other, for what seems like eternity.
Through her flowing tears, her lips lift into a gentle smile.
My feet move on their own, small steps at first.. but then I’m hurrying across the room, unable to get to Maama fast enough.
Her arms encircle me in a tight hug.
I bury my face in her neck and the tears I promised myself I would not shed, rush forth through my tightly shut eyes.
I inhale deeply, reviving the memory of her scent. Not wanting her to ever let go, I hang on tighter.
Just for a moment, it feels like everything is okay. I feel no sadness, no anger, no fear. I feel no pain, no helplessness, no loneliness.
Just for a moment, contentment enshrouds my heart; it flows through my veins.
This feeling, it’s so foreign, so beautiful, that it causes my tears to fall faster.
She kisses my forehead, kisses my cheek. Her fingers brushing at my tears. Then, she hugs me again.
“I’m sorry,” I say. “Maama.. I’m so sorry.”
I lift my head, look up at my mother’s face, bruised yet beautiful. I look into her eyes and see the story of our lives. But along with it, I see love, I see strength, I see patience.
I cry harder, this time for my mother. I cry for my sisters. I cry for my family, destroyed and torn at the hands of my deceased father.
My heart aches, the pain so harsh, it almost crushes me.
In moments so raw, words spoken never leave you. They ring in your ears, echo inside your mind, playing over and over, not just at that time, but throughout your life. The words Maama spoke then would be words of that kind; words that would never leave me, words that I would never forget.
“Do not grieve, my son. Allah is with us.”
I look over Maama’s shoulder.
“Da-yaa!” chants Ramla, running over to me.
I wipe my teary eyes and bend down to pick her up.
“Do you want to carry her, Maama? I’m a bit afraid I’m going to drop her,” I say nervously.
“She’s not too fond of me,” Maama replies sheepishly.
“Ramla!” calls Aunty Raeesah. “Ramla!”
“She’s here,” I call back from the dining room.
Aunty Raeesah appears at the doorway.
“Ramla!” she scolds, reaching for her. “Ummi said stay with Abba!”
“I’m sorry,” she apologizes to Maama and I.
“Da-yaa! Da-yaa!” cries Ramla, reaching for me and trying to get out of her mother’s arm.
“It’s okay,” I say. “Let me take her.”
Ramla quietens down as soon as she’s in my arms.
“She’s really missed you, Daanyaal.”
I look up at the sound of Uncle Rashid’s voice. He’s standing a little away, a gentle smile on his face.
“She’s not the only one who’s missed you,” Aunty Raeesah adds quietly, reaching for Maama’s hand.
Hugging Ramla close, I try to control my tears, but still they fall.
“Welcome back home, Daanyaal,” says Uncle Rashid, walking over to me and squeezing my shoulder.
Ramla claps her hands jovially.
I look at Maama.
She smiles. I smile back, feeling happier than I’ve felt in a long, long time.