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.
“I will not allow you to wear that, Sumayya!” admonishes mummy. “How could you have even bought such a besharam (immodest) dress! Have I not taught you better?!”
“I don’t see what’s immodest about this!” I argue, twirling the hanger around and looking at the dress.
“It’s so tight, Sumayya!”
“That’s the style, ma!! That’s why it’s called a mermaid dress!” I groan.
“I don’t care what it’s called, Sumayya. You are not allowed to wear that. You will go with Hamza and return it. And let me just warn you, you come home with another dress of this nature, I will make you wear a plain abaya for the wedding!”
“I don’t understand what’s so wrong with this dress!” I yell, close to tears. “Everyone else will be wearing dresses off the catwalk and you want me to wear a stupid plain cloak!”
I turn at the sound of Hamza’s stern tone and see him entering my room.
“I’m not saying you have to wear a cloak. I’m saying that you must wear something modest,” says mummy, ignoring Hamza. “Now stop being difficult and go lay the dastarkhaan (tablecloth) for supper!”
Saying that, she walks out.
“Gosh! Mummy is so old-fashioned!” I say, clucking my tongue in annoyance.
“You really shouldn’t speak like that to mummy,” Hamza says seriously, sitting down on my bed. “What’s the matter?”
“Apparently my dress is to ‘besharam’,” I say scornfully, throwing the dress onto the bed.
“Well it does look pretty narrow. Are you sure you bought the right size?” he asks, eyeing the dress.
I narrow my eyes at him.
“What are you implying?” I ask threw gritted teeth.
He looks up in surprise.
“Huh? Oh. No, no! I’m not saying you’re fat!” Hamza says in a rush.
“Did you try it on?” he asks.
“Seriously?! Are you dumb?! Obviously I tried it on!!” I say throwing my hands up in exasperation.
“Well, is it tight?”
“Yessss! My god! It suppose to be tight!” I say.
“Oh. So why did you buy it then?” asks Hamza, looking confused.
“Oh my god! Just get out, please!” I say, pointing to the door.
Turning my back to him, I take the beautiful dress of the hanger, fold it up and put it back into the box.
“Sumayya,” calls Tayyibah. “Mummy said you must come and lay the table.”
“I’m coming!” I yell indignantly.
Plugging my phone into the charger, I place it on the floor and head to the kitchen.
After helping with the supper dishes, I go back to my room.
Feeling tired after a long day of shopping, I decide to have an early night.
I take a long, hot shower and then change into my pajamas.
Taking out the book I’m currently reading, I read for a while with Tybalt curled up on my lap.
After a while I decide to phone Shakirah. She and her fiance were suppose to go buy their rings today.
Getting off my bed I go to fetch my phone from the charger, but, to my surprise, it’s not there.
Frowning I check on my pedestal and then inside the pedestal drawers.
Unsuccessful, I check around in my room, but it’s nowhere to be found.
“Did anyone see my phone?” I ask loudly, exiting my room.
“Nooo!” comes Tayyibah’s reply from her room.
“Hamzaaaa?!” I call.
I head to the lounge where he’s learning his sabaq.
He looks up briefly but doesn’t pause.
“Do you know where’s my phone?”
He nods yes whilst still reading.
“Where is it?” I ask immediately.
I wait impatiently as he carries on reading, ignoring me.
“Hamza! Where’s my phone?” I ask, after a couple of seconds.
He finishes the verse before closing his Qur’aan partially and finally looking up.
“What?” he asks, slightly annoyed. “I’m learning.”
“Where’s my Qur’aan?!” I ask crossly.
“I mean my phone!” I say, correcting myself.
“Oh,” says Hamza. “Your phone?”
“Yes, Hamza,” I drawl, getting irritated.
What’s his problem?!
“Your phone, dear sister, is by me,” he says, after a moment.
Did he just say….
“What?” I ask hesitantly.
“I. have. your. phone,” repeats Hamza, pausing after each word, a slight smirk on his face. “Now can you stop disturbing me? I’m trying to learn in case you haven’t noticed.”
Hamza has my phone…
Hamza has my.. phone!! Crap, crap, crap!! Did I clear my history? Is my Instagram account logged in? Oh shit, what if Faraaz replied my messages? Do I have my YouTube history paused?
“Can I have it please?” I ask as calmly as I can.
Hamza, having started reciting again, shakes his head at me.
Pausing, he looks up at me again.
“Don’t ask me again because I’m not giving it to you,” he says.
“Seriously?” I say, rolling my eyes, trying to appear unbothered. “Stop being childish.”
“You..” he starts, his tone solemn. “..have some explaining to do.”
Oh damn. Time to dig my grave.
“I know you’re not asleep,” says Hamza, quietly shutting my room door.
I ignore him, breathing slightly more heavily.
“C’mon, get up,” he says. “I’m not dumb.”
A few seconds pass.
“Sumayya. Sumayya. Sumayya,” chants Hamza.
Just ignore him.
He isn’t being irritating.
You’re fast asleep.
He’ll go away just now.
“Hey Su,” he starts, and I can hear his grin.
Oh no! Oh no! He’s going to say something funny.
“Remember that time when we had guests o-”
He stops abruptly, the hand he’d been shaking me with stilling.
What is he doing?
“Oh my god. Sumayya. don’t. move.” he whispers, sounding terrified.
Dammit! Now what?!
My heart instantly starts beating faster.
“I’m going to try and get it away. Just stay very, very still.”
Panic rising inside me, I involuntarily do the exact opposite.
“Oh my god!! Sumayya you’re on the spider!!” Hamza whisper-yells. “I told you not to move!”
Did he say SPIDER?!?!
Screaming, I fling the duvet off me, and jump out of bed.
“Spider?” I gasp, my eyes wide with fear.
Hamza’s expression mirrors by own for a second before he bites his lip, straining himself to keep a straight face.
And then he starts laughing, covering his mouth to muffle it.
It takes me a couple of seconds to put two and two together.
By now Hamza is doubled over, laughing uncontrollably.
“I’m going to bloody kill you!” I hiss, glaring at him.
He jumps over the bed, moving further away from me as he laughs harder.
“I.. got you!” he says, gasping for air.
His face is gone red from laughing so much.
“You.. jumped… so fast!”
Despite trying extremely hard, watching him laugh like a crazy hyena makes it difficult for me not to laugh.
“It’s not funny!” I say, trying to sound cross but a giggle escapes my lips.
That only makes Hamza laugh harder and then, unable to control it anymore I start laughing too.
“Stop now!!!” I say to Hamza, clutching my stomach.
It takes us several minutes to calm down.
Hamza goes to my bathroom to drink water.
“Sis, you’re disgusting,” I say as he puts his hand under the tap and drinks from his hand.
“What?” he asks.
“What if there was a spider on the mouth of the tap and you just drank like that?” I point out, raising my eyebrows.
“The spider is on your bed, not the tap,” he says, sticking out his tongue.
“Idiot!” I say, throwing a pillow at him as he walks out of the bathroom.
“Rrrrrright,” he says, catching the pillow and sitting down on my bed.
“Rrrrrright,” I mimic. “I was really enjoying my sleep, so I’d greatly appreciate if you’d haul your butt right back out of my room. Thanks.”
Saying that I get back under the duvet.
“Just you hold on!” says Hamza, pulling my duvet off me. “Firstly, you were not asleep!
Hamza rolls his eyes.
“Well even if I wasn’t, I’m going to sleep now, so see yourself out,” I say.
“Nope. First you give me my answers, then you go to sleep,” says Hamza, his voice serious now.
“Where did you hide my ps controllers?” asks Hamza.
“Where did you hide my ps controllers?” repeats Hamza.
“Oh,” I say.
A great wave of relief washes over me and I release a breath I didn’t realize I’m holding.
“Oh,” I say again stupidly.
Hamza looks at me expectantly.
So that’s what this is about.. Thank god!
“If you give me my phone, I’ll tell you,” I offer, stretching out my hand.
“Nauh. You tell me where my controllers are and I’ll give you your phone,” he says. “You seriously need to stop hiding them every time you get annoyed with me. It’s plain dumb.”
“You need to stop annoying me. That is plain dumb.”
“You’re plain dumb!”
“Oh shut it! They’re in mummy’s bathroom cabinet between the towels, which obviously means you can’t get them right now because the parents are asleep,” I say, smirking. “Buuut, you have to hand over my phone since I’ve told you where they are.”
“You’re such a pest,” he grumbles, passing me my phone.
I hurriedly grab it from him before he can change his mind.
“So, you didn’t go through my phone, did you?” I ask casually.
“Well you changed your password and didn’t tell me the new one,” he points out.
“I did,” I confess. “You waste too much time going through my phone.”
“That’s because I need to make sure you’re not up to any nonsense.”
“Oh c’mon. I’m not a kid, Hamza!” I say, rolling my eyes.
“All the more reason,” he replies seriously. “So now, I have to take you shopping again tomorrow?”
“Apparently,” I huff.
“Well I should have been sleeping ages ago in that case,” he teases.
I whack him with a pillow and shoo him out of my room.
“Alright, alright. I’m going,” he laughs. “Assalaamualaykum.”
“Sleep tight, little sis,” he adds, switching off the light.
I reply his greeting, rolling my eyes at his last statement.
Sighing in contentment as my head sinks into my pillow, I close my eyes.
‘Thank goodness I changed my password..’ I think, before sleep pulls me into it’s warm embrace.