As narrated by Zainab:
I twiddled my thumbs nervously and stared at Arshad as he chatted to the guys-completely ignoring me!
I know I over reacted. Badly. But I was also under pressure. My family had all these issues and it was so, so frustrating.
I sat alone on this haystack waiting while Laeeka and Aara stood nearby, taking selfies with their cowboy hats on, Mari had gone with Zee to pack refreshments for our horse riding escapade and Nemo,Arshad,Zoheb,Riza and Immy were sitting on the wooden fence talking away.
Everyone seemed to have forgotten the little scare that we had earlier on and seemed a little bit relaxed.
I closed my eyes for a few seconds..
“Can I join you?”
Me: (opening my eyes and looking up) sure Zoheb
Zoheb: you okay?
Me: (looking at Arshad) asking for forgiveness is always the hardest I guess
Zoheb: nope. Not with you
Me: (raising my eyebrow) how do you mean?
Zoheb: tell you something…I may be just a few years older than you but I have seen a lot of life. Zainab…Aara and Laeeka told me once about what happened with you when you were on campus
I looked at him and then looked down…
Zoheb: you changed but…you also left a part of you behind and now with Arshad you’re also rediscovering yourself again
Me: how do you know??
Zoheb: (small smile) trust me…I know..I became someone I wasn’t and now…I just feel good being me again
Me: I would never have known…you don’t show it
Zoheb: I never thought it would happen (looking at Aara) but it did..
Me: (looking at him looking at Aara) good for you bro
Zoheb: and Zainab..there is one more thing. I wanted to tell you myself, before you saw her randomly because she’s around…
Maaherah?….Maaherah!!! That selfish spiteful conniving little tramp!!@*#@*@*#
Me: you…know her?
Zoheb: she’s my sister Zai
Zoheb: yeah…I didn’t know that she was the one who..you know, Aara told me after I introduced them…and I asked Aara not to tell you because I wanted to tell you
Me: wow…(Taking a deep breath in…Maaherah was the reason I ran away, she was behind everything) she’s so…Maaherah and you’re so…different how is she ever your sister??
Zoheb: some things we don’t have control over…
Me: anyway…its long gone and in the past it shouldn’t make a difference to me now but I appreciate you telling me thanks Zoheb
Zoheb: just don’t…you know…
Me: (staring at him for a few seconds…and then it HIT me) O GAWWDD!!! I was being her when I yelled at Arshad wasn’t I???
Zoheb: (cringing) well..
Me: no I was!!!(Standing up) I was…o my word…(Sitting down) how could I do that to him?? I know how I felt the day Maaherah embarrassed me and hurt my feelings (standing up again) and I did that…I did just that!! (Sitting down again)
Zoheb: Zainab…sit still!!
Me: ( grabbing Zoheb’s face) I realise I was wrong! I was wrong! No matter how tough things get and no matter who and why and how and whatever…the circumstance…the problems…the (standing up again) whatever…I love him!! (Tears building up in my eyes) I love him!!!
And I turned around and started running towards Arshad…and half way to him I stopped…and turned around to look at Zoheb who had a big smile on his face…
Me: (loudly) thank youuuuuuuuu!
Zoheb smiled and gave me two thumbs up 🙂
Zoheb: go go go!
And I ran towards Arshad and Nemo,Immy,Riza and Arshad looked at me questioningly..I grabbed Arshad and pulled him into a tight hug. By now everyone was whistling and clapping and cheering…lol
Me: I’m so sorry baby…I shouldn’t have spoken to you like that I’m so sorry…please please please forgive me
Nemo: oho…shout at him in public and make up with him in public too!
Riza: (laughing) shurrup bro
Arshad: (hugging me back) its okay…(Kissing my forehead) forgiven I love you
Me: and I love you(hugging him again)
And I realized what a stupid fool I had been to treat this man who loved me so much,so badly. As I closed my eyes and breathed in..feeling his heart beat as I stood engulfed in his arms…
As narrated by Nemo:
Horse riding baby!! In the mountains woohoo…except for one little glitch…
Me: (to Ziyaad) eh..are you sure my one is a horse not a donkey?? It’s like on a slow cruise to China boss!
Zee: (chukling to himself) it’s a horse alright..it’s trained to ride slowly, it belonged to my grandfathers sister and because of her condition…her horse was trained to go slow you know
Me: aah ok…wait…WHAT? I’m sitting on a dead woman’s horse!!!
Zee: what’s the big deal..she’s dead not the horse bru
Zee never told us this!! Was he doing this to scare the others? Maybe
Zee: guys you all ok?
Aara: yeaaah this is awesome, are we going to do a sprint?
Zee: you up for it?
Aara: I am a little scared but I’d be very dumb not to atleast try
Zee: okay Aaroo in a bit, just remember what I told you about the reins okay
Aara: Ai ai captain (saluting Zee)
And after a few minutes…
Zee: this is what I wanted to show you guys
Our horses followed Zee’s to a sight that left all of us spellbound…
We were at the top of a cliff..all the horses lined up..and not too far from us..the Tugela River plunged over this magnificent waterfall in full flood!
Zee: any one up for a dive?
Immy: you have got to be kidding!
Zee: c’mon why not? It will be fun I promise
Laeeka: no thanks zee boy
Zee: one day when you’re old and grey you’ll sit back and say “I should have jumped!”
Laeeka: with pleasure;)
He was crazy! Jumping off a waterfall! Definitely no thank you!
I was suddenly conscious about how high up we were and right on the edge of this cliff! What if my horse fell down? I mean,he did say it was an old horse..
Riza: Immy your horse is chewing on my shoe!
Immy: maybe it likes the smell :-p
Riza: very funny
Zee: guys (pointing to two mountains) that’s where we are going tomorrow…Sentinel Peaks,I must say I’m impressed with your choice
Arshad: supposedly a once in a lifetime thing bru but I’m sure you’ve climbed it before
Zee: three times already…you guys are not going to regret it! Come,let’s do the sprint before Aaroo gets her horse to give me a boot!
And we trotted away from the cliff to a vast stretch of a seemingly endless field atop this mountain.
Zee: (holding the reins of his horse) remember what I told you…1,2,3 go for it!!
And everyones horses sprinted off…it LOOKED exhillarating….because my horse didn’t move even 5 steps forward!!
Laeeka: (busting) what’s happening Nemo? Maybe you should sing for it!
Me: haha you’re sooo funny Laeeks…ey move move man (to the horse)
Riza: what is that song? That horse one with the little kids?
Zai: (also laughing) lakri ke kaati (laughing so hard again that she almost fell off her horse!) Sing it Nemo!
I rolled my eyes at them…not on man! I also wanted to go sprinting across this field!!
Me:(to the horse) arre mere baap please go…run for the first time in your life boss
But this horse wouldn’t budge and then…she caught my attention. Aara was riding towards me.
Aara: (infront of me) we used to sing that song as kids remember
Me: ofcourse I remember
Aara: (getting off her horse) go for it
Aara:(playfully rubbing her horse’s face) go man..the feeling is just too awesome to miss
Me: (pulling her cheeks in glee) mmmmmm love you love you love you sweetheart (getting onto her horse)
You’re a star!
Aara: (winking at me) I know now go!
She was right…it was awesome! Wait, it was beyond awesome!!!
We had a little picnic on that mountain…just us and nothing else. Away from the hustle and bustle of Jhb, no traffic, no chaos, no work…just peace.
Zee: Maariah I believe this was your choice of destination?
Zee: just say that you wanted to come here because of me man 😉
Immy looked at them uneasily..
Mari: you wish…I didn’t even know that you were here (glancing at Immy)
Zoheb: so Ziyaad what’s your story?
Aara: (drinking from Zoheb’s water bottle…grrrrrr) oooo Zee has lotsa stories Zoheb..infact he was the biggest chatterbox on campus, the loudest mouth and with all the wacky weird ideas!
Zee: (laughing) hey A, remember when you drove all the way to Rustenburg to fetch us that night?
Aara: I will NEVER forget that!
Riza: oh is this the time they ran out of fuel A?
Aara: (busting) yep! No fuel, no cash,no cards and only one person to call so conveniently!
Me: but you came how
Zee: and remember how she swore us bru!
Me: and hit us!
Zai: (ripping) wait…you hit them?
Zee: Zainab…madam gets there dressed as though she was going to gym, gets off her car with her squash racket, walks up to us and gave us two hard shots each! Then she swore us using every foul word in I don’t know how many different languages under the sun and then didn’t talk to us from the minute we jumped in her car!
Zai: (holding her stomach) o word!
Aara: well it was 2am what did you both expect? Did you think I’d be coming with garlands to collect you??
Zee: you..were just too cheeky! I also think you had a split personality because sometimes you were so sweet!
Arshad: uh uh she had nerves of steel to put up with you both!
Aara: (hi fiving Arshoo)thanks Arshoo
Zee: I still wish I didn’t have to move away during second year man because I really missed out..
Me: (thinking about all the drama we had during our third year ) trust me you didn’t miss out on anything bru..
As narrated by Aara:
Back at the house after thoroughly enjoying our horse ride and sight seeing. Tonight was our bonfire and braai…and also the night we were going to give everyone a nightmare on elm street :-p
As I walked up the stairs heading towards the room that Laeeka and I were sharing (she refused to sleep on her own even though this house had so many rooms)I almost walked straight into Maariah!
Mari: oops sorry Aara
Me: (not looking at her) its okay
Mari: Aara…I need to speak to you and Nemo please
Me: about what?
She looked down and hesitated for a few seconds.
Mari:I’ll tell both of you together…
Me: (walking past her) okay
If she thought she was going to confess her list of bad deeds to us now then she had another thing coming! Talk about timing man!
I walked past Riza and Zoheb’s room and naturally,I peeked in. Zoheb was sitting on the carpet and watching tv and Riza was lying on his bed. I grinned and walked past their room to the next room where Immy and Arshoo were fighting about who’s going to sleep where..seems like everyone was sharing 😉 …as I was about to enter my room I heard someone scream! It was such a loud scream that I was stunned to my spot! Riza came running out and we looked at each other for a few seconds…
Together: o shit that’s Laeeka!
As we entered our room we realised that she was in our bathroom…I asked Riza to wait outside while I checked. By now Zai and Mari were also in the room and the rest of the guys waited outside the door with Riza.
Laeeka: (opening the bathroom door hastily) Aara!
Me: what’s wrong????
Laeeka: (lifting her legs up and looking at her feet) I swear my feet had blood on it!
Me: but…there’s nothing there? Did you get cut ?
Zai: (checking the bathroom) no blood here either Laeeks
Mari: sweety I think you’re just tired..earlier on you said you saw someone when no one else did and now the blood…
Laeeka: (shaking) I know what I saw!! There was blood all over the bathroom mat and my footmarks with blood were on it!!!
Riza: (knocking on the door) can I come in?
All of us: NO!
Zai: change quickly we’ll leave the room
We waited outside the door and filled the guys in on what had supposedly happened.
Zai: I think she’s just tired
Riza: (worried) maybe
And then out of nowhere…we could hear the sound of a piano playing…and it seemed to be coming from the room at the end of the long passage…
Zoheb: (grabbing my hand) didn’t Ziyaad say that no one goes into that room?
And everyone was silent and looked at each other in shock…as the piano played on….
I’m so sorry for not posting sooner, had a serious case of writer’s block (which is not gone yet;) )
I will try and work a schedule for posting soon.
hope you all are well though!
Ps: If any of u are doing anything for Palestine, please let me know. Be it a fundraiser, scarf making, whatever it is. I’ll be doing a separate post soon with this only so if you would like a little exposure please leave a comment and I will contact you.