Hey. Hi. Hello. Salaam. Bonjour. Salut. Ciao. Ahoj. Bog. Marhaba. Ola. 😀
Maaf dear readers.. post was ready yesterday, just had to edit and upload, but then I went out and didn’t have internet connection, so only got a chance to upload today.
As narrated by Amz:
After sitting together and talking for a while, Aunty Raeesah serves us tea. Uncle Rashid ushers Uncle Ismaeel and the boys to the lounge while we females follow Aunty Raeesah to the dining room.
I catch Zee mouthing a “You okay?” to Dee before we separate. She nods slightly, avoiding his gaze..
We enter the North facing dining room which is bright and airy, with sunlight streaming in through the big window.
The table is laden with delicious looking treats. From choc-chip cookies to cheesecakes, popcorn to savouries, crackers and cheese to skillfully decorated oreo cupcakes, the neatly laid table is covered. To drink there’s tea, coffee, cool drink, juice and water.
“Wow!” I exclaim, slightly taken aback. “You’ll prepared so much!”
“No, what! It’s nothing much. I was still going to make chocolate mousse for Deeyanah, because I know how much she loves it, but Ramla has been extremely crabby this week. I think she’s teething because she’s fussing to eat, too,” says Aunty Raeesah. “And Salma wasn’t feeling well either these past few days.”
“Aw, shame man!” I sympathize. “You’ll shouldn’t have even taken the trouble to do all this.”
“Where is Ramla?” asks Dee.
“Daanyaal just put her to sleep before you’ll came,” replies Aunty Raeesah.
“Daanyaal?!” exclaims Dee.
“Yes!” grins Daanyaal, walking into the dining room. “She only sleeps if I put her to sleep.”
“She loves Daanyaal,” says Aunty Raeesah, smiling at him.
“Soo, who babysits you then?” teases Dee.
“Pfft, I don’t need babysitting!” scoffs Daanyaal.
Aunty Salma laughs, shaking her head at him.
“Whaaat?” says Daanyaal, smiling sheepishly at Aunty Salma. “I’m quite independent and grown up now, aren’t I?”
He emphasizes the word independent, raising his eyebrows.
“Of course,” says Aunty Salma, pinching his cheek lovingly.
He has really grown up in the last year. But despite everything, just like Dee, his witty sense of humour hasn’t changed.
“You’re not sitting with the boys?” Aunty Salma asks Daanyaal.
“I want to sit with my sister,” replies Daanyaal, smiling at Dee.
“What are you going to have?” I ask Dee quietly.
“Water, please,” she replies, only loud enough for me to hear.
“Seriously?” I mutter.
She doesn’t say anything.
“So, how’s things?” asks Dee, addressing her mother and Daanyaal.
It’s not the best way to start a conversation, and it does almost make me inwardly cringe, but my heart swells with pride at the fact that she is initiating the conversation.
She’s making an effort. She’s showing interest.
And I know it is definitely not a good idea for her to be swallowing her emotions, because inside her they will rage an unbeatable war, one that she will fight single-handedly. But, right now, as she genuinely smiles at her little brother, all I feel is a sense of pride.
A sense of pride because that is my best friend, my sister, my favourite person in the whole world.
The time flies by and before we know it, we’re getting up to leave.
Dee lingers at the back with her mother.
I move to join her, to be there just in case she needs the support.
But then I notice them talking quietly, and decide to respect their privacy.
Above Daanyaal and the boys’ loud laughter and Uncle Ismaeel and Uncle Rashid’s serious conversation, Dee and her mother’s conversation remains inaudible.
“JazakAllah so much for everything, Aunty Raeesah,” I say, smiling at her gratefully.
“Aameen. It’s only a pleasure. Insha Allah we will meet again soon,” she replies, sounding hopefully.
“Insha Allah,” I sigh, glancing at Dee.
“It will be easier for her now,” says Aunty Raeesah. “You’ll see.. on her own she’ll want to come. Their bond is just damaged, not broken.”
I don’t say anything, afraid that my voice won’t come out steady.
“It’s so difficult for Salma, too. I can’t imagine it, honestly. To go through what she’s going through.. what she went through..”
Aunty Raeesah’s voice trails off, a sad expression masking her face.
We walk behind the men, following them out.
Just as we exit the house, I look over my shoulder to see if Dee is coming.
Instantly I see it.
It’s her poise, the way she’s suddenly stiffened.
Her eyes, the way they’re darting around in panic, a glint of hurt reflecting in them.
Her hands, the way they’re clenched at her sides.
It’s her face, the way her jaw is clenched, the way she chews her lip, the subtle anger that’s tinged her cheeks red.
Something went wrong.