Ninety Six (2)

As narrated by Amz:

The whole scene plays over and over again in my head as Uncle Ismaeel drives us home.

Zee screaming, then leaping out of the car, knocking Dee down onto the sidewalk and falling on top of her. Uncle Ismaeel braking; sharp and fast. A screech of tires, and then I’m running, eyes trained on Dee’s unmoving body laying on the ground, Zee next to her. 

Not now, not on the terms we’re on, not like this… please Allah, don’t test me in this way again. 

My harsh words to her this morning ring in my ears, as I crouch down, taking her hand. 

“Deeyanah?” I calls out to her.

“Is she okay? Oh my god, Zee, are you okay?” I ask, my voice shaking.

Please let her be okay. Please, please, please. 

“Amz, did you bring water?”

Zee’s voice pulls me back to reality.

“Huh?” I ask, having not heard him properly.

“Water. You got?”

“No. I’ve got juice though,” I reply, fumbling in the packet of things I had brought for Daanyaal.

“There is a bottle in the car. Just check under the seat, maybe it rolled there,” says Aunty Aadila.

“Okay, found it, JazakAllah.”

As soon as Uncle Ismaeel drops Dee and I home, I head up to my bedroom.

Aunty Aadila said that we should go home with them, but after much persistence I managed to convince her that we’ll be fine.

Thing is, after a very long time, I honestly didn’t know if we would actually really be fine…

The tension between Dee and I over the past few days has just been increasing. And our fight this morning only made things worse.

I kick off my shoes and collapse onto my bed.

I should probably check on Dee, but my mind needs to calm down first.

And as I stare up at the ceiling, the reality of what happened not too long ago crashes down.

I could have lost Dee there and then.

It terrified me, making me curl up closer into my pillow, as it dawned on me just how much Dee meant to me.

Just the thought of losing the only person I had left brought tears to my eyes. The thought of losing her to death, when we were on such bad terms, made my heart clench with regret and immeasurable pain.

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And in that moment, as I clung to my pillow, tears rolling down my cheeks, I made up my mind about the question that has been tormenting me over the last couple days. And my decision wasn’t selfless, like most of my decisions usually were, because I’d come to realize, that I need my best friend just as much as she needs me.

Ironic, isn’t it.. how it takes death for us to appreciate life. It takes sadness for us to appreciate happiness. It takes solitude for us to appreciate company.

And strange, is it not, how one moment, lasting not even longer than a couple minutes, could change your entire perspective.

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My perspective had changed. It made little sense to me now, how I had once thought adoption was a possibility.

I would not leave.

Scratch that – I could not leave.

Wiping my tears, I sit up, intending to go immediately to tell Dee about my changed decision. But Dee gets to me before I can get to her.

“You okay?” she asks softly, sitting down on my bed.

Ignoring her question, I fling my arms around her, pulling her into a tight hug. She winces slightly, reminding me to be more gentle, and I loosen my grip slightly.

“I’m sorry, Dee,” I apologize, before letting go and looking directly into her tired eyes. “I’m so, so, so sorry. And I know sorry isn’t enough for the way I’ve treated you the past few days, but maybe what I have to tell you might be.”

“I.. you.. why are you apologizing? I was at fault, not you,” she says quietly.

“We were both at fault, Dee. But we’re going to fix that, because I can’t live with a person who I can’t talk to and who won’t talk to me.”

She frowns. Her eyes narrow, and she searches my face.

“Amaani,” she says in a warning tone. “What are you playing at?”

“I’m not playing, I’m serious,” I say.

“Just be straight up. Have you changed your mind about the whole adoption thing?” she asks, dead serious.

“Maybe,” I answer, riling her up purposely.

“Dammit, Amaani, I swear, if you’re playing my emotions, I’m going to -” she says, leaving the threat hanging.

“What you going to do?” I ask grinning madly now, unable to keep a straight face anymore.

“Say promise?” she demands, as she realizes that I am, in fact, being serious.

I stall a couple seconds before answering, just to annoy her.

“Promise.”

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“No, say, ‘I, Amaani Ahmad, promises that I am really staying, and I am not going to get adopted’.”

“I, Amaani Ahmad, promises that I am really staying, and I am not going to get adopted.”

I’ve barely finished my sentence when suddenly the same Dee sitting across me, a dead serious expression on her face, is on top of me screeching like a wild bird let out of a cage after months of captivity!!

“WHOA, CALM DOWN, YOH!” I yell, but hug her back.

“Oh my God, I love you so much,” she says, hugging me harder.

“You’ll love me even if I tell you that I’m just kidding?” I ask quietly, forcing back my grin.

Dee freezes, before pulling back to look at me, eyes narrowed, a look of death.

I burst out laughing, hiding behind my pillow.

“You’re a bloody idiot, you know that,” she says, trying to sound annoyed.

I’m unable to reply, because I’m laughing so hard.

Dee grabs a pillow and whacks me with it.

“This is why I’m emotionally unstable, because I live with a nut like you!” she says, as my laughter subsides.

“So if I move out, you’ll be emotionally stable?”

“STOP!!” she yells, and I’m laughing again. “It’s not funny.”

“It’s hilarious,” I reply, clutching my stomach.

“You mad,” she says, looking at me with a straight face.

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I finally compose myself, and it’s quiet for a while.

“Are you really staying?” Dee asks, breaking the silence.

“Yeah,” I reply seriously.

And then I go on to tell her everything I’d been thinking before… How nearly losing her made me realize how much she really meant to me.

I told her, because I was reminded once again that we have no idea when we might leave this world for the next. Tomorrow might not always come. And even if it does, it might not come with the people we take for so granted.

So seize every opportunity, every moment, to let your dear ones know how much they mean to you.

Live in the moment, for the past has long gone, and the future is not promised.

Make every day count, lest it may be your last.

And when something changes your perspective, embrace it.

Embrace it and accept it, because at the point of every ending, awaits a new beginning.

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Ninety Six (1)

As narrated by Zee:

Pain shoots through my body as I hit the ground, knees and knuckles first.

Tires screech, cold air hitting me as a car skids to a halt just a few feet away.

I can hear Amz screaming in the background.

But all of it seems far away.

I glance down, shifting my weight off Dee.

Her eyes are closed.

No, no, no!

Placing my hand on her chest, I feel the faint but steady thump of her heartbeat.

Relief floods through me and a breath I didn’t know I’d been holding releases.

“Dee?” I call, touching her cheek.

Nothing.

The anxiety creeps in again.

Calm down, calm down. She’s alive, just knocked out.

“Dee?” I say again, shaking her slightly.

Amz appears from behind me, terror written all over her face.

“Deeyanah?” she calls out to her.

“Is she okay? Oh my god, Zee, are you okay?” Amz asks, her voice shaking.

“I’m fine,” I reply, unable to answer her first question.

“What the hell bro?!” Meez yells, sitting down on the tar next to me.

He places his hand by her mouth, probably to feel for her breath.

When he realizes she’s breathing, he turns to me.

“You can’t just jump out of a moving car onto the road in front of another freaking moving vehicle!! What the hell were you thinking?!” he yells.

“Rameez!”

His parents’ unanimous stern tone stops him.

Uncle Ismaeel sits down next to Dee and reaches for her wrist.

We all watch him with bated breath.

“Deeyanah.”

He says her name loudly, close to her ear, and after what feels like eternity, she stirs.

“All of you, be quiet,” Uncle Ismaeel commands softly in a firm tone.

Dee’s eyes flutter open, and then close again, the sunlight too harsh.

She mumbles incoherently and Uncle Ismaeel repeats her name.

Her eyes open in slits, and she tries sitting up.

I move a little backward, and Amz lets go of her hand.

“Oh my goodness!!” A young female voice screeches behind us.

I realize that it is probably the driver of the car that almost bumped Dee.

“I’m so sorry! Is -”

Uncle Ismaeel lifts his gaze, putting his finger to his lips, indicating for her to be quiet.

She lowers her voice to just above a whisper, turning to Aunty Aadila.

Their conversation fades away into the background as I turn my attention to Dee again.

Her eyes are fully open now, having adjusted to the bright daylight, as she sits up slowly.

I want to ask her if she’s okay; if she’s in pain; what happened; why was she in the middle of the road, but I remain silent, obeying Uncle Ismaeel’s orders.

Dee looks around at all of us, her eyes widening slightly as everything registers.

“Deeyanah?”

She looks at Uncle Ismaeel.

“Can you hear me clearly?”

She nods.

“Okay, listen to me carefully, alright?”

She nods again.

“We need to first make sure you haven’t broken anything. Can you bend your legs?”

She obliges, drawing her knees up slowly.

“Now bend your arms.”

She does as she’s told.

“Stretch overhead.”

Her arms rise.

“Straighten your knees and move your forehead as close to the ground as you can.”

She bends her back a little before straightening up again.

“That hurts a lot,” she says quietly.

“Probably because you landed on your back. Where else does it hurt?”

“Just my back. And my head hurts a little,” she replies uncertainly.

“Okay. What happened, why were you just standing in the middle of the road?”

She’s silent for a while, trying to remember.

“I was going to the pay phone, because mine is dead. My head was hurting and I felt dizzy, so I closed my eyes,” she says, her voice soft and tired.

“And then a car was hooting and I realized I was in the middle of the road. I don’t know what happened after that,” she finishes, looking at us questioningly.

“Well superman over here spread his cape, took a flying leap of faith, almost got himself killed, but managed to save you,” Meez says to her with a hint of sarcasm, indicating to me.

I frown. What the hell is his problem? Why is he going on like I did something stupid? Well.. maybe I did, but all I thought of in that moment was making sure Dee doesn’t get hurt. And I didn’t die, so what was the reason for his sudden change of mood?

Dee gasps, looking at me.

“What?!” she demands.

“I just pushed you off the road, that’s all,” I say, feeling slightly uncomfortable.

“Are you okay?” she asks, her gaze sweeping me, searching for injuries.

“Yea-”

“Zee, your knuckles! You’re bleeding!” she exclaims, cutting me off, as she reaches for my hand.

I look down at my hands, and sure enough, the skin at my knuckles is scraped off, a hint of blood trickling down my fingers. Crap, I didn’t even realize!

“It’s nothing. I’m fine, really,” I say quickly, pulling my hand away and rubbing my fingers against my jeans as they all watch me.

“I’ve got a First Aid kit in the car, come on,” says Uncle Ismaeel, getting up. “Deeyanah, will you manage to walk?”

“Yes,” she replies, getting up slowly.

Amz grabs her hand, helping her up.

She accepts it gratefully, but the two don’t share a word.

I watch them closely, noting now only, that Amz hadn’t said a word since Dee woke up. Her eyes are moist and when she catches me observing them, she quickly looks away.

Uncle Ismaeel stops beside his wife to have a word with the driver, whose name I’ve picked up, is Samantha.

Meez walks slightly ahead of Amz and Dee and I walk behind them.

We all get to the car and Meez takes out the First Aid kit.

The girls get in and I join Meez at the boot.

He takes out a few things, ignoring me the entire time.

When Uncle Ismaeel joins us, he takes my hands, inspecting the damage.

“Can you bend your hand like this?” he asks.

I look at the way his hand is bent and imitate his action.

“Jee, it’s just grazed, I think,” I say.

I wince at the sting the wet cotton wool creates, watching as Uncle Ismaeel first cleans the wound and then wraps it with a bandage.

He repeats the process with my second hand, before packing the things away, and giving Meez a packet to dispose of into the bin on the sidewalk.

Meez walks away and Uncle Ismaeel catches my gaze.

I look down, knowing what’s coming.

“Ziyaad, that was very brave of you, but you must remember that two accidents are worse than one. Alhamdulillah, you two were both lucky this time, that neither of you got hurt seriously, but I don’t want to see you pulling anymore superman stunts, as Rameez put it, alright?” he says, seriously yet kindly.

“I.. I’m sorry,” I apologize quietly. “I guess.. I didn’t think, I just did what my heart told me to do, forgetting to listen to my brain.”

“You acted on instinct. And that’s not always a good thing.”

I nod, remaining silent.

Meez joins us again, and the conversation ends.

Uncle Ismaeel walks away, getting into the car.

“You okay?” Meez asks, putting away the First Aid.

“Yeah,” I reply, slightly surprised at his change of mood… again, but appreciative of his concern.

Meez needs to learn how to express his emotions properly!

We get into the car, but as we’re about to drive off, Aunty Aadila speaks.

“Are we not going to see Daanyaal?”

“Not now, we’ll come another day,” Uncle Ismaeel says to her.

“He’s sleeping,” says Dee.

We turn to look at her and she drops her gaze, avoiding eye contact.

I notice a half eaten chocolate in her hand. Amz catches me eyeing it, and hands me one too.

“Thanks,” I say, grinning at her.

“You’re welcome,” she replies, smiling.

“And mine? How rude!” complains Meez.

He graciously accepts a chocolate from Amz and then it’s quiet as we eat silently, each of us lost in our own thoughts.download-1

Ninety Five

As narrated by Dee:

“I remember. I remember what happened.”

I stare at him in shock and slight apprehension.

“Yesterday, after you left, I sat and thought long and hard about everything. And it all kind of fell into place, I guess. It makes sense now; the scar on my forehead, the headaches.”

He pauses, sighing softly.

“Some of it is still a bit hazy… I’m not sure if it all really is true, but I remember almost everything now.”

And then Daanyaal is crying.

I pull him towards me, embracing his shaking body. And as he clings to me, sobbing painfully, I let my own tears flow.

Together the two siblings cried.

They cried for all the good times they knew would never come back. They cried for all good times they would never have, to look back at. They cried, for the memories they held, were ones they wished they could forget.

For every echo of every piercing scream; for every mark of every scarring hand; for every plea of mercy; for every silent question; for ever unspoken word…

For every feeling of longing; for every feeling of betrayal; for every feeling of hate, of anger, of frustration, of confusion, of sadness, and for every unexplainable feeling too…

For all the hurt and all the pain; for all the tears, now fell a thousand thereof, from the eyes of two siblings, who had finally found a part of themselves. A being whose blood flowed with their own; a being who might make things a little better again..

And even once their tears finally dried, their bodies finally stilled, their minds finally calmed, and their hearts finally slowed, reeling in the anguish for another day perhaps, they still held on to each other… almost afraid to let go, lest they lose each other again.

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As the clock ticked away loudly in the room, a tiny piece of wood was tossed into the small fire of burning hope Deeyanah kept alive, fueling it.

It was time for new beginnings – for surely things would change now.

But the question we never know the answer to, played on Deeyanah’s mind..

Yes, things would change… but, for the better? Or the worse?

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As narrated by Amaani:

I stare at the number on my screen, finger hovering above the bright green ‘call’ option.

Do I, or do I not?

The conversation I had with Dee this morning plays in my mind…

“I’m not coming! I told you this already! Why do you keep on bringing it up?” Dee yells at me, angrily.

Hurt flashes through me.

“I’m sorry. I.. well, I just thought that you might have changed your mind… now that, you know…”

“Now that what? Now that my father’s dead? Well you know what? It doesn’t! I’ve made up my mind and I’m not changing it!” 

I feel my own anger bubbling up inside. 

“You’re being so selfish Deeyanah!” I shout at her, frowning.

“Oh, and you’re not?!” she challenges. 

“Yes, I’m not!” I answer hotly. “I’m trying to help you! But you clearly don’t want my help, so do whatever the hell you want!” 

Her eyes widen, her mouth falling open in shock. 

Regret instantly overtakes me. 

“Look, Dee,” I start, lowering my voice, trying to cover up.

But she doesn’t allow me to finish. Taking her set of keys from the counter, she turns around and walks out of the kitchen. 

Seconds later, the front door slams. 

My phone rings in my hand, snapping me out of my daydream.

Meez.

Amaani: Salaam.

Rameez: Wasalaam. What’s up?

Amaani: Nothing muuuch…

Rameez: We’re going to see Daanyaal, you want to come?

Amaani: ‘We’ would be who exactly?

Rameez: My dad, my mum, myself, and Zee.

Amaani: Okay. When are you’ll going?

Rameez: We’ll pick you up in 5?

Amaani: Alright, see you.

I cancel the call and head to the bathroom.

A few minutes later, the intercom buzzers.

I run down the stairs and pick it up.

“Meeeez, I’m not ready!! You told me 5 minutes, it’s been like 2 minutes!”

“Okay, okay, calm down crazy lady! We’ll wait.”

“Aren’t you’ll coming in? Oupa isn’t there?”

“Nope, it’s fine. Now go get done!”

“Alright, 5 minutes!”

“No, 2 minutes! Or else we’re leaving you!”

I run back upstairs to get some moisturizer, my jacket, and my shoes.

Back downstairs, I grab a packet of pretzels and some goodies for Daanyaal, before pocketing my phone, grabbing my house keys and rushing out.

I walk quickly to the main gate and head out.

“We were just about to leave you!” teases Zee, moving in to make space for me.

“Yeah, yeah, whatever!” I reply, punching him lightly.

I greet everyone, closing the door once I’m in.

“Deeyanah isn’t coming?” asks Aunty Aadila.

“She’s already there, I think,” I reply. “She’s there more often than at home these past few days…”

“Oh okay. Rameez, did you phone Sumayya?”

“Yes I did, she said she won’t make it.”

“Okay.”

The drive is noisy – Meez, Zee, and I chatting away non-stop, with a comment every so often from Uncle Ismaeel or Aunty Aadila.

As we turn in onto the road of the Rehab, Zee frowns.

“Isn’t that Dee?” he asks, his eyes narrowing slightly as he strains them.

“Where?” I ask, looking in his direction of sight.

“Ther – Oh my god, no! DEEYANAH!”


As narrated by Dee:

I exit the building slowly, my head spinning.

The sun is too bright and the wind is too strong… or maybe I just really need to eat something and have a good sleep.

Now, to get home.. 

I reach for my phone inside my pocket.

Dammit, the battery is dead! Why didn’t I charge it before I came?!

Feeling irritable, my headache worsening with each step I take, I glance around.

I spot a pay phone across the road. Score!

Now if my body will just let me reach there.

I exit the gate, and start crossing the road… when suddenly everything seems disarranged.

I close my eyes for a moment, willing myself not to give in to the tiredness my body feels.

But when I open my eyes again, everything is twice as blurry.

Almost there, Dee.. almost there.

And then someone screams my name.

A hooter blares much too loudly, filling my entire being with a sudden rush of adrenaline as I realize where I am.

I’m in the middle of a road! Oh my God, I need to move. Move, move, move!!

But it’s already too late.

The sound of the hooter amplifies, drumming against my already pounding head…

Someone screams my name again, much closer this time…

And then I’m flung against the hard tar.

The last thing my mind registers is a screech of tires, before everything goes black.

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Ninety Four

As narrated by Zee:

The sound of my phone ringing pulls me out of my slumber.

I slide my finger across the screen, eyes still closed.

“‘lo,” I mumble a barely audible hello.

“Hellooo!” Meez’s bright, and very much awake voice replies.

I groan, turning to glance at huge clock on my wall.

“Bro, it’s 6 am on a blimmin Sunday! Go to sleep!” I complain tiredly.

“You’re the one always saying the early bird catches the best worm,” he answers mischievously.

“Well I’m not a friggin bird!” I say, a little more awake now. “Seriously, is it something urgent, because I’m going back to sleep if not.”

“We both know you can’t go back to sleep once you’re awake,” he says, annoyingly.

“Right, bye!” I grumble, moving the phone from my ear.

“WAIT, ZEE!”

I sigh, a small grin making its way to my face.

“What?” I ask, putting the call on loud speaker.

“Emmarentia in an hour?”

I contemplate his question for a few seconds before replying.

“I’m game. Got to ask ma first though. Who you going with?”

“Parents,” he replies. “Yanno, don’t want to third wheel…”

“Oh so it’s a double date then?” I ask through my laughter.

“Of course,” he replies, and I can hear him grinning.

“Well thanks for disturbing my beauty sleep, but I really need to start getting ready now.”

“Yeah, I know how long it takes for you to do your hair and make-up and all that crap. That’s why I called so early!”

I laugh, rolling my eyes, even though he can’t see me; like a typical girl!

“You’re an idiot. Check you in a while, bro.”

Cancelling the call, I get out of bed, push my hair off my forehead, and head to the bathroom.


As narrated by Meez:

“Seriously Rameez, you really need to start learning to pick an outfit yourself now!” says mum, as she walks out of my huge closet, clothes in hand. “What are you going to do when you get married?!”

“Get my wife to do it, of course!” I reply promptly, with a grin.

She shakes her head, but I see a ghost of a smile on her face.

“But marriage is still faaar away, so I’m good for now,” I add.

I take the clothes she hands me, saying a quick word of thanks before making my way towards my en-suite bathroom.

After a hot shower, I head downstairs to the kitchen.

Mum is making sandwiches to take with and I step in to help.

“You can do the cold meat,” she says.

Dad walks in then, and soon we’re all making sandwiches in comfortable silence.

This will be my second weekend not spent with Faizy and his group, and so I insisted Dad take us out, knowing too well that if I stayed at home, I’d end up doing some crap out of boredom, like I did last weekend.

I sigh quietly as I wrap the wax paper around my finished sandwiches.

People make changing sound so easy. Heck, try it first before you go around saying, ‘It’s really just in the mind.’ Sure it is, but keeping your mind on track is the trickiest part.

I guess I’m not trying the hardest I can either, but seriously, who wants to be that uncool, holy kid? Sure as hell, not me!

What Meez hasn’t realized yet, is that he’s missing the whole point.

Being pious doesn’t make you uncool.

But he’ll come to realize that, all in due time.

See, change doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process, not an event.

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As narrated by Aunty Aadila:

I watch as Rameez and Ziyaad walk off into the distance, soccer ball at their feet.

Often I find myself looking at Ziyaad and wondering, ‘Why can’t Rameez be like him?’, but I’m slowly coming to realize that each child has a unique, individual personality.

And trying to change that, comparing that uniqueness to another child, is not appreciated by a teenager who is growing up, trying his best to fit in.

Maybe that’s why I had lost a part of my son. Maybe the continuous pressure we put on him, was the reason he and I no longer shared the bond Ziyaad did with his mother, despite Rameez being my only child. Maybe it was the constant persistence to excel in all fields of life, at such a young age, that wore him out.

I still didn’t understand it though, because as much as Ismaeel and I expected the best from him at all times, we gave him the best too.

Perhaps this was our mistake. We gave him too much freedom.

Giving your child freedom is not the way you show them your love. Always giving in to their demands is not the way you show them your love.

But I had yet to learn this.

See, in life, we’re always learning.

Sometimes the easy way, sometimes the hard way.

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As narrated by Dee:

“How are you feeling?” I ask quietly, sitting down next to Daanyaal.

It’s the next day, and once again, after a restless night, I’m at the Rehab center with Daanyaal.

The room is empty, as the other boys are still in physio; Daanyaal finished earlier.

“As bad as feeling bad gets,” he mumbles.

I sigh inaudibly.

“Should I go? Do you want to be alone for a while?”

“No.”

“Okay.”

A comfortable silence settles between us; both of us deep in thought.

And when Daanyaal speaks again, I’m not quite sure what startles me more – his voice after the long silence, or the words he says.

“I know why I’m here.”

“What do you mean?” I ask, frowning.

“I remember. I remember what happened.”

I stare at him in shock and slight apprehension.

“Yesterday, after you left, I sat and thought long and hard about everything. And it all kind of fell into place, I guess. It makes sense now; the scar on my forehead, the headaches.”

He pauses, sighing softly.

“Some of it is still a bit hazy… I’m not sure if it all really is true, but I remember almost everything now.”

And then he’s crying.

Break

Hey. Hi. Hello. Salaam. Bonjour. Salut. Ciao. Ahoj. Bog. Marhaba. Ola.😀

Hope you beautiful bunch are all well. 

I don’t really know how to explain this but basically, in the fewest words that I can explain… I’m breaking for Season 2 this week. Yeah, I know Season 2 hasn’t ended yet, but what will happen is, I’ll break this week and then, when posts resume again, Season 3 will start immediately after Season 2 ends -so this is the Season 2 break. I don’t know if I’m explaining it understandably, but if you looking at your screen like it grew another head (well that’s not a very appropriate simile, is it? Lol!) then all you need to know for now is that the next post will only be on Wednesday the 12th, IA. 

I’m really sorry guys, but I hope you’ll understand nonetheless. 

Keep me in your duaas. Study hard for finals, matric students [K and K ;)]. Enjoy the holidays, and don’t stop smiling.  

Much Love, 

Troubled Illusioner. ❤

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