As narrated by Dee:
“Too tight,” I mutter, pulling the jumper over my head and flinging it over my shoulder.
I reach into my wardrobe for another, but my hand finds an empty shelf.
“Deee!” calls Amz, coming up the stairs. “Are you -”
She stops abruptly on entering my room.
Her eyes widen as she looks around.
“What on Earth?!” exclaims Amz.
“I don’t have anything to wear!” I say in exasperation.
“Oh. my. worrrd!” laughs Amz. “I can’t believe I’m seeing this day!”
She picks up a T-shirt from the floor and drops it atop the messy pile of clothes on my bed.
“It’s not funny!” I say, frowning. “None of these fit, and there’s nothing else in my wardrobe!”
“What do you mean none of these fit?” asks Amz, picking up a grey hoodie from the bottom of the pile. “You wore this last week and it looked perfect.”
“It’s too short,” I say.
“Too short?! How much did you grow since then?” asks Amz, eyeing me from head to toe.
“What about this one?” questions Amz, lifting a tan shirt. “It looks so dressy with blue skinnies.”
“Here, try it,” says Amz, throwing me a blue skinny jeans and the tan coloured shirt.
I pull out the black jeans I have on, and slip into the blue pair before buttoning up the shirt.
I survey the outfit in front of the mirror.
“No,” I say.
“Okay. Try this,” suggests Amz.
“Too blue,” I say, looking at the blue jeans blue jersey combination.
“That’s how you usually wear it.”
“Well it’s not a usual day!” I say, my voice coming out louder than I’d intended.
“What about this?” asks Amz, handing me a red hoodie and white jeans.
“Are you mad?! They’ll think I’m on drugs!” I cry out.
“No they won’t! I don’t see what’s wrong with it,” says Amz.
“White jeans!” I say, dangling them in the air. “White jeans! And a hoodie!”
“I don’t understand how you’re having this dilemma when you don’t even have that much clothes,” sighs Amz, picking through the small pile on my bed.
“That’s the problem!” I exclaim. “I only have house clothes because I only stay in the house!”
“Wear the red hoodie with these black skinnies,” says Amz.
I change for what seems to be the millionth time.
“I don’t know…” I say turning around in front of the mirror. “Do these jeans not make me look too fat?”
“Oh my gosh, Deeyanah!” groans Amz.
“What?!” I yell, my anxiety coming out as anger. “You don’t understand, okay!”
Instantly Amz’s frown smooths out, her expression softening.
I know what’s coming next..
Grabbing my hairbrush I dash to the bathroom, locking the door behind me.
My hands shake as I roughly brush out the knots in my hair.
I breathe deeply, trying to calm down… but it doesn’t seem to help.
Today is the day…
Today is the day I will smell her scent…
I will feel her embrace…
I will hold her hand…
I will see her smile…
I will refresh the fading image of her in my memory…
Today is the day I will finally meet my mother.
“It’s going to be fine,” I whisper to my reflection in the mirror.
But the stormy sea of possible bad outcomes shows no mercy to my boat of confidence. The ice cold water floods the boat as wave of thought after wave of thought crashes over the port and starboard.
“Don’t go there!” I warn myself, shunning the thought before it can capsize my boat.
I frown at my reflection.
Something isn’t right.
I retie my hair few times before giving up and putting it in a bun.
“Too formal,” I muse.
I try wearing it down, but it comes in the way.
Maybe I should wear a scarf..
Sighing, I unlock the door and exit the bathroom.
Amz is sitting cross-legged on my bed, folding my clothes neatly.
‘Why did I yell at her?’ I think regretfully. ‘All she ever does is be good to me.’
“Should I wear a scarf?” I blurt out.
“Would you wear a scarf to Sumayya’s house?” asks Amz, glancing up.
“Uhh, no?” I reply, confused.
“Well,” says Amz, giving me a ‘there’s your answer’ look.
“But..” I begin.
Amz cuts me off.
“No buts. Just go as yourself. Don’t try to be someone else.”
I sigh inaudibly, moving to the mirror again.
Glancing at the clock on my wall, I realize that Uncle Ismaeel will be here in 5 minutes.
“Oh no!” I exclaim. “Look at the time!”
My body goes into a mad frenzy.
As I adjust my hair in a panicked rush, I feel a hand on my shoulder.
Amz’s reflection appears next to mine in the mirror.
I look at her questioningly.
“Calm down. Your outfit is fine. Your shoes are fine. Your hair is fine. Your face is fine. Everything is fine and everything will be fine. Just calm down. Fretting isn’t going to help at all,” says Amz.
“I’m trying but I can’t!” I say in desperation.
The sound of the bell buzzing stops Amz’s next sentence.
“That’s them,” we say in unison.
The knot in my stomach tightens as Amz and I head downstairs together.
The bell sounds again, and then again.
“YOU’RE GOING TO BUY NEW BATTERIES WHEN THESE RUN OUT!” yells Amz, heading to the door.
“What must I do if your bell is faulty?” I hear Zee reply as I hurriedly fill the kettle.
“Faulty?!” repeats Amz.
“Yes, I press it once and it rings continuously!” says Zee.
“You mad! Go learn to count!” laughs Amz.
“You’ll ready to go?” comes Meez’s voice.
“Yeah,” replies Amz. “I think so..”
They go quiet then and I know that they’re probably discussing me.
I brew my coffee in my mug sized flask, adding an extra dash of milk for it to cool faster.
“Dee!” calls Amz.
“Coming,” I call back.
Picking up my flask, I tighten the lid and exit the kitchen.
The three of them are standing in the entryway; Amz, Meez, and Zee.
I pause for a second before walking towards them, mumbling a soft greeting.
Amz looks questioningly at my flask.
“Coffee?” she asks.
I merely nod.
“You look nice,” says Zee.
I look up at him in surprise.
He grins, and for a moment I assume he’s purposely messing with me. But then my eyes find his and I see the sincerity they hold shining brightly.
“Thanks,” says Amz. “I picked her outfit.”
They laugh and I manage a smile.
“Don’t feel left out,” teases Zee. “You look nice too.”
“I know,” says Amz, sticking her tongue out at him. “Let’s go.”
Amz locks up and we get into the car, greeting Uncle Ismaeel as we strap on our seat belts.
“Ready?” asks Uncle Ismaeel, looking at me.
“No,” I say, truthfully.
“You’ll be fine,” he says, giving me a reassuring smile.
But, of course, I’m not convinced.