Hey. Hi. Hello. Salaam. Bonjour. Salut. Ciao. Ahoj. Bog. Marhaba. Ola. 😀
This note was suppose to go at the end, but I decided to rather forewarn you’ll.
I’ve been sorta struggling to write for a while now for a number of reasons. One of them being, I’m thinking of rounding up this story sooner than I had initially intended. So now, I don’t exactly know where to take things and how to tie up all the loose ends, in fewer posts. I was reading a couple of articles on writing tips and things along those lines, and apparently when you get stuck or don’t know where you want to take things, creating a twist helps. Running your story another way, making what was suppose to happen, not happen, and vice versa, maybe even killing off a character.
So, this is me doing that. Let’s see how it works out.
Troubled Illusioner. ❤
As narrated by Meez:
“I don’t allow smokers in my car,” says dad.
He’s reprimanding me. Kindly.
He always does that nowadays. It’s like he understands but I don’t think he really does.
I clip my seatbelt into place, before opening my window and exhaling.
“I’m starting with the easy things,” I say, before lifting my cigarette to my lips again.
“You’re doing pretty well,” says dad.
“This one is going to be impossible,” I sigh, looking at the object between my fingers, a feeling of helplessness washing over me.
The girls too, I muse silently.
The girls – as in Amz, Dee and Sumayya. More so the former two.
My mind replays the earlier scenario. I think of Amz and how badly I wanted to hug her and reassure her that it’s fine, of Dee and how the sight of her terror and the sound of her sobs made me want to kill Fuaad – slowly, painfully.
They’d packed overnight bags and called Uncle Rashid to pick them up, too afraid to spend the night on their own.
He’d arrived in no less than 5 minutes and then it was just Zee and I.
“Come on, I’ll drop you,” said Zee, getting into his car.
“I’ll call my dad,” I replied.
“We live in opposite directions,” I added a moment later, realizing how abrupt I had sounded. Who turns down a ride home with their best mate?!
But I needed to clear my head.
Before I interacted with anyone.
I was angry at Fuaad. And frustrated – with myself.
Zee had considered me for a long moment.
Then, he climbed out, and joined me outside, leaning against the car door.
“You want to talk?” asked Zee, going straight to the point.
I do, but you won’t understand.
“Not now,” I said, after a long pause.
I avoided his gaze as he tried to search my face.
I cut him off.
“Everything’s alright,” I said, answering the question I’m sure he would have asked.
“What’s happening inside your head?” asked Zee, his tone firm and serious. “I need to know.”
“Sunflowers are growing,” I said – meaning happy thoughts.
He hadn’t looked amused.
“It’s all good, boss,” I said.
“Honest,” I added, when he had raised his eyebrows, unconvinced.
It didn’t do the job – he still wasn’t convinced.
But he’s Zee. And Zee always knows what to say.
At that time, it was nothing; I didn’t want him to say anything.
And he didn’t.
Running a hand through his messy hair, he sighed before standing up straight.
Then, he got into his car, started the engine, and drove off.
I reached into my pocket, lit a cigarette, and called dad.
“You know what they say,” says dad, pulling me out of my thoughts.
I glance at him.
“No pain, no gain,” quotes dad, turning to look at me briefly before focusing on the road again.
I inhale deeply.
“Don’t seem to be gaining,” I mutter.
“All the better,” says dad. “If you don’t see your rewards here, it means they’ve been deposited into you bank balance on that side.”
“And you probably are gaining,” says dad. “You just not realizing it, because you’re more focused on the pain, instead of the gain. But that’s usual in the beginning of any process of change. Think about it.”
I think about what I’ve gained since the reality of life hit me.
I think about the “shift” I’d felt in the hospital that day, and all that came with it.
And then I realize, that dad is right.
I have gained.
And what I’ve gained is far better than what I’ve lost.
This post is for you, dear reader, who knows the struggle. Who knows the struggle of fighting nafs and shaytaan. Who knows what it feels like to crush your desires and your heart along with it too. Who knows what it feels like to fall and stumble just when you thought you’d finally made it. Some days you’ll feel like you’re never going to make it. But you will. Trust me, Insha Allah, you will. Remember that perseverance is the key. The toil is treacherous but wallahi, the fruits are sweet. Strive, work hard, show your nafs who’s the boss. Stay focused on your goal and never let anything or anyone deter you. Don’t ever forget that your Rabb is with you, that He loves you, and that He is Most Merciful, Most Kind. ❤
“Can I have the keys, please?” I ask dad, as we pull into the garage.
“Where are you going?” asks dad, handing them to me with a small frown.
“Just for a drive,” I say.
I need to think, to clear my head.
Dad opens his mouth to say something, then decides against it.
He exits the car, but sticks his head in again before shutting the door.
“Be careful,” says dad. “And don’t come home too late.”
He closes the door and heads into the house.
I slip the key into the ignition, then strap my seatbelt into place.
My thoughts start moving not long after the car does.
Rolling down the windows halfway, I focus on my thoughts, easing my leg off the accelerator a little.
I wonder about the girls, if they’re okay and have managed to fall asleep.
I wonder about Fuaad, how it is possible for him to be so unethical, so heartless.
I wonder about Nabeelah, whether she’s hooked up with someone else yet and if he’s good-looking.
I wonder about Lubna, the image of crimson blood against her white dress making its way into my mind.
I wonder about Faizy, and say a silent prayer that things are going well for him.
My thoughts have entrapped me, pulled me into an entirely different world.
Memories entangled with emotions, with observances and with musings, swim around inside my head.
My attention is no longer where it should be.
And I only realize when I feel my body spinning just as fast as my mind.
Maybe I’m just imagining.
Everything rushes in front of my eyes in a hazy blur.
Or maybe I’m not just imagining.
Somewhere at the back of my mind, I hear dad’s voice.
Be careful. And don’t come home too late.