As narrated by Arshad:
I had frantically gotten back into our vehicle and Riza looked for the next exit on the freeway. Everyone was quiet. I tried Zainab’s cell over 50 times but no luck because of this darn network problem!
How could I have forgotten her?? I should have checked before we left…even though she had asked us not to wake her up. She was never going to let me hear the end of it that’s for sure!! I just hope she was safe and sound.
Me: faster bro faster
Riza: (already speeding) she’s going to be fine bro don’t stress it’s not your fault. All of us should have checked
Aara: just imagine if Riza hadn’t asked for water?
Everyone fell silent…
And then burst out laughing (me included)
Riza: sorry Arshoo sorry..it’s not supposed to be funny but..
Laeeka: it is funny! We blerry forgot our friend at a garage!
Aara : thank goodness it’s not one of those shady places and its an Ultra City! Zai is going to be livid!
Riza: few minutes more Arshoo…hang in there
I bit my nails. I don’t know if I was more terrified of Zainab being okay or of what she was going to do to me!
We finally reached the garage and the three of us got off while Riza looked for a parking. Nemo, Immy and Mari did the same.
Where are you Zainab?????
We split up. Aara and Laeeka decided to check the restrooms, Immy and Mari went to check the Quick Shop and cafes and Nemo and I decided to check at the picnic spots on the far end of the garage.
Nemo: (whistling) someone is going to be killed today
Me: (my tummy turning-yes- turning) don’t remind me bro
Nemo: its funny though hey (as we walked past this bus)
Me: (chuckling) I am very worried about her but I cannot shake off the humour behind it bro (turning into the picnic area and whoooa…there she was!!)
Well we almost walked right into her!!!
Nemo: inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raajioon
Nemo was right…she was going to kill me!!
Zainab: you think it’s funny Arshad? Can’t shake off the humour ??? Do you know what I went through?? You guys just left me behind!! I was so scared!
Me: (trying to hold her face) babe I’m so sorry…I should have checked..
Zainab: DON’T touch me!!
Me: (ouch that stung)..but you asked us not to wake you up so we didn’t know that you had woken up…
Zainab:(jerking my hand away) oh so now it’s my fault?
Me: (looking down) I didn’t say that…it was a mistake, I’m really sorry
Zainab: (tears in her eyes)you’re supposed to look out for me worry about me care about me but you just…you just forgot about me… what if someone kidnapped me? Or killed me? Or worse???
Nemo: (rolling his eyes and mumbling) you were alone for half an hour in a super busy and super secure place and you’re an adult !
I looked at Nemo and then put my head down again…tears starting to fill up in my eyes
Zainab: what did you say Nemo??
Nemo: (blinking his eyes at me reassuringly) I said….you Zainab, are right!! What the hell man! Arshad is so so irresponsible..come come Zai let’s go
And I walked behind them and Nemo quickly turned around and mouthed “don’t worry I’ve got this”. Thanks but I still felt like crap.
Mari: Zai! (Running towards Zainab) are you okay?
Zai: (hugging Mari and crying) I’m okay Mari
Nemo: (mumbling again) what is she crying for??
Zoheb: (mumbling to Nemo) shut up bro
Nemo: (mumbling again) she tore Arshad apart man
Me: I’m kinda standing right behind you
Nemo: (mumbling again) your vrou is a drama queen
Zoheb: (chuckling ) shhhhh
Aara and Laeeka: Zai we are so sorry
Zai: I’m not talking to you both!!
Zai: you four! you four left me behind how could you all do that to me? To me???
Laeeka: it was a mistake Zai we didn’t do it on purpose sorry man
Riza: (whispering to Laeeka) it’s Zainab…just leave it out for now
Nemo: (whispering to us) time for action
And Nemo walked over to Zai
Nemo: come come Zai let’s get going
Zai: I’m not going with them!
Nemo: never! You’re coming with us okay
Whew…thanks Nemo. And they got back into Zoheb’s 4×4. The four of us still lingered outside.
Me: I think I’ll just jump in the back
Laeeka got into the passenger seat while I jumped in the back with Aara
Aara: it isn’t your fault you know
Me: I still feel guilty Aaroo I mean (putting my head back) its all just getting to me (and I wiped away my tears that fell involuntarily)
Riza: its not just this is it?
Me: (shaking my head) no…ever since I met Zainab’s parents and this whole wedding talk came up it’s almost as though I don’t have Zai anymore I have this angry bird for a wife to be!
Aara: you just called Zai an angry bird!
Me: I don’t mean to be bad or sound like I don’t love her…I do love her but its driving me nuts Aara..I love her she loves me why can’t we just make a small nikah and call it a day? All this planning is just more and more irritation and moods flying from all sides I just can’t handle it anymore! I’m going to go insane!
Everyone kept quiet…
Me: we are totally losing the essence of marriage in this whole whatever it is that it is…I don’t care if the serviette is rolled or folded I don’t care if the invitations should be delivered in a box or in an envelope I don’t care what people will say if we don’t do this and if we don’t do that! I’m hanging on the last thread of patience and I don’t know how much longer I can do this! I’m trying really hard not to let it work me up but this is not who I am and this is not who Zai is and I’m sick of it!
Everyone was still silent…
I leaned back against the seat and put my hand on my head…
As narrated by Nemo:
Riza was ahead of us again and Aara turned to look at me and shook her head slowly. I felt really bad for Arshad. You don’t embarass your hubby infront of anyone-not even your friends. I get it, she was shocked and hurt but there’s a way in which you do things. Zainab had been through a lot and then finally Arshad and her got together…I didn’t want her to lose him.
Me: you okay there Zainab?
Zai: I’m fine Nemo
Me: really hey, I can’t believe Arshoo forgot about you
Zai: tell me about it
Me: it’s better that you guys aren’t engaged yet…better still..its better you aren’t married to him yet
Zainab was quiet for a few seconds and Zoheb gave me a questioning look. I also felt Mari pinching me from behind..
Zai: what…do you mean?
Me: you don’t see it?
Zai: see what?
Me: look Arshad is my friend and so are you, the truth hurts but it has to be said. You didn’t deserve to be left behind and forgotten, so what if it was a HUMAN ERROR no one does that
She was quiet..
Me: anyway what I’m trying to say is, take it as an eye opener. Better late than never!
Zai: (getting agitated) I don’t understand…
Me: what’s there not to understand? Its so clear you both are a complete mismatch!
Immy: Nemo dude…don’t key her up against him!
Me: I’m not “keying” her up against him I’m just saying it as it is…Zai deserves better! Someone who will be at her beck and call all the time, do anything for her! Arshad well, he’s so calm and quiet he needs someone just like him, someone who will accept anything and everything. I love Arshoo his heart is clean he needs someone who will just smile and accept everything that’s all
Mari: but opposites attract?
Me: what yeah??
Zai: mari is right…and besides
Me: besides what?
Zai: (stuttering) like Laeeka said..it was a mistake
Me: no no Zai…don’t go all soppy now, he’s not the one for you,you guys can still be friends but uh uh(taking out my phone…shit still no network) hah finally I have network!! I’m phoning your father!
Zai: (leaning forward quickly) what for???
Me: to tell him ofcourse!! End it while its fresh, he can sort things out with Arshad’s parents while you’re on holiday so you don’t have to face them, wait I’m dialing
Zai: (quickly grabbing my phone from my hands) no Nemo don’t!!…wait, you don’t even have network? You think this is a game??
Me: (turning around to face Zai)NO! YOU DO!
Zai: what do you mean!
Me: are you dumb or are you dumb?
Immy covered his head with his jacket…err to suppress his laughter I suppose and Mari just bit her lip..
Zai was speechless…man she took it literally!!
Me: why shouldn’t I phone your father?
Zai: because I love Arshad and I want to marry him!
Me: noooo you don’t say! So that’s why you spoke to him like that??
Zai: he left me behind!!
Me: get over yourself it was a mistake!! He would never never never do that if he was in the right frame of mind…you know Zai I picked it up last night when you started your whole serviette drama! You are driving the guy over the edge!
Zai: no I’m not!
Me: yes you are! This is not you! How much has Arshad done to win your heart!! He worships the ground that you walk on!! And you know him, he’s calm and his heart is completely clean Zainab you broke him into pieces by talking to him like that and that too infront of everyone!Not on woman not on at all!
Zainab kept quiet and then started crying..
I threw my hands up in the air and slumped back into my seat while Mari consoled her and Immy still stayed under his jacket
Zoheb: Nemo is not trying to hurt or upset you Zai none of us wanted to say anything there but Arshad was really hurt. When he realised that you weren’t there he went ballistic! We totally understand that you’re also upset and we couldn’t believe you got left behind either but…it’s really no ones fault no one would do that intentionally and you know that too
Zainab didn’t answer and didn’t stop crying either
Zoheb looked at me with an “I don’t know” face and I replied with an “I don’t know either” face :-p
Zoheb: (taking another try) Zai…don’t forget the reason that you fell in love..push everything aside and just remember why you love Arshad. It should be reason enough…
I smiled to myself…
Zai: stop the car!
Zai: I said stop the car!
Me: its not a car its a 4×4!
Zai: STOP NOW!!!