Hey. Hi. Hello. Salaam. Bonjour. Salut. Ciao. Ahoj. Bog. Marhaba. Ola. 😀
I’m not entirely happy with the first part of this post, but despite trying to fix it a couple of times, it’s just not coming out how I want it to. So here’s what I have.
(Baloo, this one is for you. ❤ Have a kick ass day!)
As narrated by Dayyanah:
Squeezing the dish washing soap bottle till just the right amount is in the sink, I open the hot water tap.
One and a half months ago, when Uncle Shuaib hired me as a dish washer, I was disappointed. Extremely disappointed.
I was working to earn. What would washing dishes earn me?!
But I guess beggars can’t be choosers..
I hate to admit it, but washing dishes isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. With my earphones plugged in, the noise around me drowned out, it’s kind of therapeutic.
Not this Sunday though.
I’m in a terrible mood. I had forgotten to put my phone to charge, and worse still, my earphones had decided that today would be the perfect day to stop working.
Swearing under my breath I wipe 3 oily pans with tissue before slipping them into the water and scrubbing them vigorously.
Trying my best to ignore the constant yelling of Uncle Shuaib, the annoying hiss of potatoes being thrown into oil, the clanging of dishes, and the uproarious laughter of diners, I focus on the task at hand.
1 more hour, Dayyanah. You’ve got this.
Time ticks away and the dishes keep coming in..
Turning around to reach for a pile of dirty plates on the counter behind me, I briefly glance up.
Jeez, we’re crazy busy tonight.
“We’ll put those in the dishwasher,” says Florence, my co dish washer, who usually packs the machine.
“Will there be enough plates, though?” I ask. “This place is f****** packed.”
Florence walks away to check the situation.
Just then, a hush falls over the entire restaurant…
“There’s a bomb?!” a woman screeches hysterically, a moment later.
I stop, confused.
It’s silent now.
But the silence lasts a mere second before utter chaos ensues.
Unafraid, my irritation growing rapidly, I use the opportunity to slip out.
Exiting the back door, I light a cigarette before I continue walking.
Leaning against the side wall of the restaurant, I lift the lit cigar to my lips.
Screams can still be heard from inside..
Adjusting my cap, I look towards the entrance, watching as people rush out in a mad frenzy.
I almost laugh out aloud.
Seriously?! What’s the big deal? We’re all gonna die, anyway.
Just as I turn my gaze away, back to the horizon, a voice shouts above the noise.
The tone is urgent, searching.
My eyes widening, I stand up straight.
I know that voice.
Searching the crowd, I go a little closer, stepping out of the shadows.
Just as I thought.
His hair is styled to perfection, his handsome face wearing an expression of slight desperation.
I watch as he pushes through the now somewhat calmer crowd.
“Car keys,” he yells. “Dad gave you the wrong ones. Here.”
My eyes follow as he throws a bunch of keys into the air..
A hand reaches up, catching it effortlessly..
Suddenly too much is happening at once.
The world seems to spin faster, trying to throw me off balance.
Ziyaad?!? That’s him?! That, is Zee?!?!
Moving on their own, my feet walk forward tentatively.
It’s only when I’m less than 20 feet away do I snap out of my trance.
‘F****** hell, Dayyanah! What are you doing?!’ I mentally chide myself.
But I can’t seem to look away..
He turns suddenly, looking around. I duck my head quickly, but it’s too late..
Recognition fills his eyes the instant he spots me.
“Oh crap! She’s outside!” I read his lips.
It is only when he moves do I see her…
This time, everything slows down..
The crickets stop chirping and the dogs stop barking.
The trees stand still and leaves dare not rustle.
The wind, too courteous to steal Deeyanah’s gasp of shock, doesn’t blow.
The moon watches with bated breath from above, silently commanding the stars to shine theirs rays of hope a little brighter.
Ziyaad is tugging at her hand whilst Amaani talks to her desperately.
She doesn’t acknowledge them..
She’s oblivious to the world, as am I.
For a long time, we simply stand where we are, watching, staring, embedding the moment in our minds.
But then, Deeyanah moves…
Closing the distance between us.
Oh god, no!
Panicking, I turn on my heel and sprint away.
As narrated by Amz:
“Don’t shut me out, Dee.”
Silence follows my plea.
The lights are switched off, the room is dark. Dark because Dee likes it that way.
She’s sitting on the floor, her forehead pressed against the cold glass of the slightly open window.
“Please,” I beg.
She turns her face slowly and my gaze locks with hers.
The shimmering moonlight casts an eerie glow on her skin, bringing out the blueness of her eyes.
“Please talk to me,” I say quietly.
“Go to sleep, Amz. You’re tired,” she replies.
“I’m not going until you let it out,” I say. “Please Dee, you need to express yourself. You still haven’t even told me what happened that day when we went to your uncle’s place.”
“What happened?” she asks, frowning slightly. “When?”
“Just as we were leaving,” I answer. “Before Zee stepped in.”
“Oh,” says Dee.
“Nothing major, actually,” she continues after a pause.
I hold my breath..
“Maama asked if I’m in contact with Dayy, when last I heard from her and if she’s okay,” she says. “I.. well, the question.. it just caught me off guard, I guess.”
She turns away, her gaze on the black starless sky once again.
“No go to sleep,” she says quietly. “I’ll call you if I need you.”
Her voice sounds faraway, devoid of any emotion.
“What about you?” I ask.
“I’ll sleep when I’m tired,” she replies after a long moment.
“You’re tired now, love,” I say gently.
“Go to sleep, Amz,” she says with a sigh. “I’m fine.”
I don’t move.
“So you’re going to sleep then?” I ask, despite already knowing the answer.
Her jaw clenches and she avoids my gaze again.
“I know you’re not going to sleep,” I say with a sigh. “And I know it’s because you’re afraid you might have a nightmare. Talk to me. Let it out. You’ll feel better, lighter. You know that.”
Torment lacing my words, I swallow hard, trying to fight the tears that threaten to spill.
But there’s no stopping them, for that is the way of the tears.
You can only hold back for so long.
You can only be strong for so long.
As narrated by Dee:
You’ve made her cry. You’re horrible and inconsiderate.
I reach for Amz’s hand, but she pulls it away and covers her face as she gets up.
“Amz,” I call, dashing after her.
I grab her hand, pull her towards me and envelop her in a hug.
“I’m sorry. God, don’t cry. Please,” I whisper, holding her tighter as she struggles to get away.
“You don’t have to be sorry!” she cries out. “Heck, why am I crying?!”
Slightly confused, I step back and wipe her eyes.
“Are you okay?” I ask, frowning.
“Yes,” replies Amz. “No. Gosh, I don’t know!”
My frown deepens.
“I’m so upset, Dee!” she exclaims, tears falling from her eyes. “You’re hurting so much and I can’t even do anything about it!”
Horrible and inconsiderate.
Horrible and inconsiderate.
You’re horrible and inconsiderate.
“I.. Amz, I.. I’m fine. I.. honestly, I’m okay,” I stutter, at a loss for words.
“No you’re not!” argues Amz. “I know you’re not. But I don’t know how change that!”
Overwhelmed, I pull her into a hug again.
“I’ll feel much better if you’d stop crying,” I say.
“I’ll stop crying if you tell me what’s going on inside your head,” she replies.
I sigh inaudibly.
“It’s a mess inside my head,” I confess, sitting down on my bed.
Amz wipes her tears and sits down in front of me.
“I.. might say something.. that.. I shouldn’t,” I start after a moment, speaking slowly, choosing my words carefully.
Amz silently waits for me to continue.
“That’s why.. I don’t want to.. say anything.”
“At least tell me what you’re feeling,” Amz says quietly.
I fiddle with the hem of my T-shirt.
What am I feeling?
“Hate,” I say, avoiding Amz’s gaze.
“Towards who?” asks Amz.
I don’t answer for a long time.
“Dee,” probes Amz.
I take a deep breath, saying a silent prayer that my voice comes out strong.
“For what?” asks Amz.
“Everything,” I reply, after a couple of seconds.
Amz is quiet, her eyes watching my like a hawk.
I know that she understands, that I don’t have to explain myself any further.
And I know what she’s probably thinking as I look up and finally meet her eye.
You can’t make someone love them self, you can only love them.
Self-love, they say, is essential because,
It helps you grow,
helps you achieve your goals,
helps you through adversity.
They say self-love makes you happier,
makes you stronger,
makes you confident.
They say self-love allows you to be at peace,
to let go.
They say self-love leaves no room for frustration,
They say self-love gives birth to creativity,
They say self-love enables you to be human,
to make mistakes,
to correct faults.
They say self-love teaches you the most important lesson:
Self love, they say, is most essential.
But here’s what they don’t tell you.
They don’t tell you how difficult it is,
to love yourself.
They don’t tell you how all the negatives suddenly become apparent when you’re trying to focus on the positive.
They don’t tell you how you’ll be judged.
How your confidence will be called snobbish. How your happiness will be called fake. How your goals will be called impossible. How your ambitions will be called ridiculous. How your make-up free face will be called ugly. How your acceptance will be called forced.
They don’t tell you about the voice inside your head.
God, that voice…
They don’t tell you how it pushes you 10 steps back before you can even take 1 step forward.
“Love yourself,” they say.
But how do I love myself when there is nothing about me to love.
I close my journal and place my pen atop the printed cover.
Then, I switch off my bedside lamp and bury my head in my pillow.
Pulling the duvet tighter around my body, I close my eyes, praying that I’ll be okay, that I won’t have nightmares.
But, I do.
I always do.