As narrated by Meez:
WhatsApp Chat – Zee:
ME: Plan suggestions for tomorrow?
ZEE: Early morning hike, breakfast basket, acrobranch, lunch at a restaurant, afternoon nap
ME: Sounds good if you scratch out the early morning hike
ZEE: Check with the girls
I take a screenshot of our chat and put it on the group.
WhatsApp Group Chat:
Putting aside my phone, I power up my laptop to complete my assignment due on Monday whilst I wait for their replies.
My phone beeps a couple of moments later.
I groan out loud.
FAIZY: braai at my place next week Saturday
FAIZY: i’ll send a car
FAIZY: dress casual 😉
ME: Will check my agenda…
FAIZY: clear your agenda boss
FAIZY: u’re not missing this one
Sighing, I put my phone on silent and throw it across the bed.
After working on my assignment for a while, I switch off my laptop and stretch tiredly.
Changing into pajama shorts, I brush my teeth and then clear up my bed before climbing under the duvet.
I dim my bedside light and reach for my phone.
WhatsApp Group Chat:
AMAANI: That early morning hike will not gel with me!
SUMAYYA: Heyyyy guys
SUMAYYA: I’ve got shopping to do again tomorrow so will only be free after that
ZEE: What time you expect to be done?
SUMAYYA: I could try to be done around 2
AMAANI: @Sumayya you shopping like you the bride! 😂
SUMAYYA: Smh (shaking my head) let’s not even discuss that
DEEYANAH: Sounds like a plan. Especially the early morning hike part.
ZEE: Yaaass Dee 👏😀
AMAANI: Since S isn’t avlb in the morning I suggest we just go out for supper
ZEE: That’s okay with me
SUMAYYA: Yeah good with me also
DEEYANAH: Or we could all just meet up at our place.
DEEYANAH: Amz will cook.
AMAANI: Excuse me
DEEYANAH: I’ll stir the pot. 😊
ZEE: @Deeyanah You’re not up for supper out?
DEEYANAH: Whatever you guys want to do.
AMAANI: Opinion bro????
Grinning, I type.
ME: Hello there
ME: Sorry for the delayed response
ME: Some of us are dedicated students
ME: Was finishing that dumb assignment due for Monday
AMAANI: Dedicated? We were given that assignment like 3 weeks ago dude 😂
ZEE: I handed mine in so long ago I don’t even know what you’re talking about 😂
SUMAYYA: OMG What assignment?!?!?
ME: Chill woman
ME: It’s for bio
SUMAYYA: Oh thank god!
AMAANI: Okay now Meez are u fine with supper?
ME: Yeah but let’s do something else too
ME: Maybe bowling
AMAANI: So supper and then bowling thereafter?
SUMAYYA: I’m in
ZEE: Yepp perfect
ME: I’ll check with the parents and let you’ll know.
As narrated by Zee:
“How she’s doing?” I ask, holding my phone with my shoulder.
I gently tap my cake on the counter a few times before lifting it carefully and putting it into the oven.
Removing my oven mitts, I lean against the counter and hold my phone in my hand once again.
“She’s okay, I guess. I don’t think it has sunk in yet..” Amz says quietly. “She didn’t sleep for long, but she slept well. No nightmares.”
“Oh shukr for that,” I say in relief. “And you, how you’re doing?”
“I’m okay,” she answers with a heavy sigh.
“You sound tired,” I say.
“I am,” she admits.
I don’t say anything, giving her a chance to elaborate, hoping she will.
“I.. i just miss my mother.. so much more,” she says sadly. “I just.. I have to be so strong for Dee.. but, there’s no one to be strong for me. I’m not complaining. I love Dee so much. God, I’d do anything for her. It’s honestly scary.. how I’d willingly sacrifice anything for her to be happy. (pause) I don’t quite know how to explain it to you.. It’s like, my mother would just know what to do and say in every situation. And I don’t. And often I handle things wrong thinking I’m handling it right. Like, I don’t have someone to advise me how to handle the situation. And if I had my mother, she would be that person. Maybe it’s just because I’m emotionally strained, but.. god, I just miss them. So much.”
For a moment, I’m speechless.
Amz, although always honest and straightforward, barely ever talks about herself -her own feelings; but not in the way Dee does.
“I’m sorry. I honestly don’t know what it’s like to lose someone close to me, and I can’t imagine how difficult it must be. Just remember that they’re in a better place. It’s okay to feel crap sometimes, but don’t put yourself down like. You’re honestly one of the most amazing people I’m privileged to know. Your parents would be so damn proud of you, Amz.”
“Thanks buddy. I guess I’m just having a down day.”
“Well your day will soon be better considering we’re meeting up tonight,” I say.
“You’re so full of yourself!”
We speak for a little longer before Amz has to go.
Greeting, I end the call.
“This place is so cool!” exclaims Sumayya.
It’s a small, autumn colour themed restaurant, but the layout makes it look spacious despite it being busy.
At the entrance, behind the counter, is the kitchen, in full view.
To the right, is a small play area. Next to that, alongside the kitchen is the seating area.
Fancy wallpaper with food emojis give colour to the walls.
We watch the workers for a couple of minutes before going to sit. A middle-aged man shouts order continuously, while workers scurry around carrying them out.
Looks like Sunday nights are busy at this place!
“Let’s go sit,” says Aunty Aadila, as a big family enters and makes their way to the counter.
We choose a table more towards the front because the back is busier.
A waitress comes with menus a short while later and we each start deciding what we want.
We give the waitress our orders when she comes again and then decide to play ‘heads up’ while we wait.
“Rameez, go and ask the lady for a jug of water, please,” says Aunty Aadila , her face red from laughing.
“I’ll go,” I offer with a grin, getting up.
All the waiters in sight are hurrying on their feet so I decide to head to the front counter and ask someone there rather.
I wait for the couple in front to pay before stepping forward.
“Could I get a jug of water at table 4 please?” I request.
“One jug of water. Table 4!” yells the man, nodding at me.
“Actually, uncle, I’ll take it, don’t worry,” I offer.
“Bring the jug of water here,” the man yells again.
While I wait, I watch the workers again. It’s unusual to be able to see the ‘behind the scenes’ of your meal.
To one side two people stand cutting chickens. Then there’s someone frying chips. Another person removes a perfectly done tray of pizzas from an oven. Right at the back, a person loads a dishwasher. Next to her someone stands washing dishes.
My travelling gaze stops abruptly.
Hold up… is that???
‘Don’t be silly! Obviously that’s not her!’ my subconscious says.
But something about the way she’s standing. Flat on one foot, tiptoed on the other.
Isn’t that how Dee usually stands…??
She turns then.
“Crap!” I mutter, my eyes widening.
I know that I’m blatantly staring, but I can’t help it.
“Thanks, lad. We’re super busy tonight,” says the man, placing a jug of water in front of my face, distracting me.
“Huh? Ohh. Oh, that’s okay. No problem. Thanks,” I say in a rush.
I turn and walk away with the jug.
My heart is pounding against my rib cage.
How the hell do I handle this situation?
Amz’s gaze meets mine before I reach the table.
I must be looking frantic, because she stands up immediately, looking at me questioningly, worriedly.
I place the jug down on the table, my hands wet because of my unsteady hold on the jug.
I take a deep breath, trying to stop myself from panicking.
“We need to leave,” I say urgently. “Right now.”