As narrated by Zoheb:
Congratulations were in order from everyone…it was such a cool feeling! Aara’s face was as red as a tomato as she shied away from me once Riza and Arshad came to chat to us. My eyes drifted towards her as the guys carried on talking….she lowered her gaze as she tried to show interest in what Zainab was saying…that side smile playing across her left cheek.
Ziyaad took us exploring not very long afterwards and even though we were already tired after the long hike and climb- the adrenaline pumping through all of us just kept us going. My mind however..kept drifting off to climbing the chain ladder with Aara…her hair against my face…her fingers touching mine…her unexpected and loud “I love you” …who would have thought. I smiled as I remembered the night we had first met and all the times after that. I was very attracted to her but when it turned into something else was the day she stood on my feet and so easily forgave me..it kept growing and I remembered the day on Umhlanga beach…the day I saw her differently and it was at that very moment that I realised that I was already falling in love with her.
And as time passed, more and more beautiful memories were involuntarily created. The best days of my life yet.
Zee: and this is where we will set up camp. You guys can go take a walk if you want I’ll sit here, I want to chat to one of the rangers
We were next to the Tugela falls..right at the top. It was breathtakingly beautiful!!
Arshad: so you’re going to be next in line bru?
Arshad: engagement…marriage etc etc
Me: that’s the plan 😉
Arshad: I know that I don’t need to tell you this but…I’ll say it nonetheless…look after her, she’s really been through a lot. She gives off this impression that nothing can hurt her but I’ve seen her broken and I’ve seen her in pain and it’s a sight that I never want to see again…I’ve yet to see another human being like Aara because she truly is one in a million
I felt my heart ache….
Arshad: (continuing) I’ve seen her angry side, I’ve seen her defensive side…I’ve seen her defy society and her own family- just because she felt and knew that what she was doing was right and it was an honour to stand beside her during those days. Difficult days for all of us..but she persevered bru…you don’t get that in these times. Today, everyone is for themselves
I looked at Aara while she wrote in her book..my heart bursting with pride..this strong willed and beautiful woman loved ME…and then I looked at everyone else. Riza and Laeeka hand in hand pointing at something in the distance. Nemo,Ebie,Zee and Immy attempting to make tea over a fire..Mari braiding Zainab’s hair…
Me: but not you guys…this group on its own is something you don’t find today..friendship…rare friendship
Arshad nodded silently
Me: and bru…you have my word. I’ll give her every happiness even if it’s the last thing that I do
Arshad: (small side smile) you’d better..else we’ll be behind you like bloodhounds
Me: that…I can believe! 😉
As narrated by Ebie:
We made tea!!!!!!! I laughed my head off at the way Nemo and Zee bickered over what should go first into the pot and they eventually just put everything in it and then let it boil :-p
Laeeka: errrr you should have let the water boil first before adding the milk and the teabags
Me: shhhhhh that’s a no go zone sister
Laeeka: it looks like…like…dirty river water!
And she probably shouldn’t have said that…because Zee and Nemo dropped what they were holding (Nemo dropped the dishcloth and Zee dropped the spoon into the pot) and gave her daggers!!!
Laeeka: (noticing it ) errr I will be right back
I left these two masterchefs to carry on with whatever it was they were doing. We chose to camp near “The Hut” because it wasn’t a totally isolated spot and there was a clean ablution block a few metres away from us. It would be sunset soon enough and we needed to start getting our tents up. So I started rounding up everyone.
Me:(to Zainab) you look lovely! Maariah has a hidden talent I see..
Mari smiled as Zainab put her scarf on
Mari: all girls know how to braid Ebie
Me: (winking) if you say so
And off to Zoheb,Riza and Arshad
Me: guys let’s start setting up our tents
And they stood up almost immediately.
Now for my partner in crime..
Me: what are you so busy writing A?
Aara: (looking up at me with a smile) my thoughts
Me: (sitting down next to her) care to share?
Aara: (closing her book and staring into the sunset) watching the sun set is such a great example of the trials that we face in our lives Ebie…when the sun sets…its just darkness and a night that sometimes just doesn’t want to end. But the irony of it..even in darkness there is beauty…all you have to do is look up…there’s thousands of stars to light up your path but some of us are too busy trying to find the moon (winking at me)
Me: I’m an accountant, dude all this philosophy is mind boggling!
Aara: sorry sorry my bad
Me: so…Zoheb huh? Not bad madam
Aara: not bad at all :-p
Me: so whens the big day?
Aara: gawwwd you too! I just told him that I love him…marriage is like far away
Me: yeah yeah you all say that..but before you know it, it’s wedding and then baby o baby
Aara: (playfully punching me)very funny
Me: aah well..consolation…Siddharth is good looking and you are not too bad yourself(winking) so them babies are gonna be damn fine!
Aara: (mouth wide open) Ebiiiieeeeee!!!
As narrated by Riza:
Camping is totally over rated. I’m a guy from the urban jungle and while I love to connect with nature from time to time, this was just down right eerie!!
It was pitch frikking black except for our big campfire and well another group of campers not very far off from where we were. But they were just 2 adults and about 5 kids!
What about animals and insects…and snakes??? I sprayed our entire tent with insect repellent until I could barely breathe inside, before I came out to join everyone else. We would take turns to stay up-between us guys but for now, the night was still young…and very, very creepy!
Hard to believe but Ziyaad,Ebie and Nemo had cooked a pot of samp and beans!
Me: do I need to read my life insurance policy before eating this?
Nemo:(sarcastically) wow Reez you’re so funny
Me: no seriously do you guys even know how to cook??
Ebie: (laughing) we aren’t forcing you,you know!
Aara: (already eating) when you’re hungry anything goes!!
Nemo: that hurt! Because you’re already on your second bowl!!
Aara stuck her tongue out at Nemo *sigh*
Me: where’s everyone else??
Aara: Zoheb and Arshad and Immy are playing cards in their tent, Zainab is “getting ready”,Mari and Laeeks are also in their tent…pass me more tomato sauce please Nemo
Me: oh God! Tomato sauce with samp and beans??? Really??
Nemo: don’t ask… old habits die hard Reez (and he passed Aara the sauce)
Soon enough, the others joined us and amusingly enough, Zoheb sat next to Aara AND put his arm around her causing her to jump!
Zoheb: (trying not to laugh) babe we’re legal now…and why is your food red?
Aara: (putting a spoonful into his mouth) taste its delicious!
Zoheb: (immediately drinking water) nice (he clearly had to force it down)
Aara: some more?
Zoheb: no no, I’m fine..you enjoy
Nemo burst out laughing!
Nemo: dude in all the years that I’ve known her I have never EVER given in to trying her tomato sauce fetish with samp! You’ve got guts!
Aara: he does have guts…you guys would never believe what he did for me!
Zoheb: (covering Aara’s mouth) uh uh…shhh
Laeeka: no no now you have us…you’ve got to tell us!
Aara: mmmmmm (trying to talk through Zoheb’s hand)
Zoheb: she’s just joking I didn’t do anything gutsy Laeeks (looking at Aara and she lifted her hand as if to say “ok I won’t tell them”)
And as soon as Zoheb moved his hand…Aara burst out the words she was holding in!
Aara: Zoheb stood on a car and sang for me!!
Everyone was sort of dumbstruck for a few seconds…
Arshad: wait that was YOU during Riza’s engagement??
Zoheb: (his face completely pink) yup
Arshad: I seee….no wonder you both were all smiles at the table! It’s been going on for that long???
Me: you sang for Aara at my engagement?
Laeeka: how come we didn’t hear? Oh this is so sweeeeeeeet!!!!(And she pulled Zoheb’s cheeks)and Aara you didn’t tell me!!!!
Aara:(laughing) I will I will
Zainab: ooooooh now I want to cry! That’s just the sweetest thing ever! I can’t believe it Aaraaaaa you’re so lucky!
Me: (looking at Zoheb) you really did that? Like stand on a car and sing!
Zoheb: errr…yeah…well, she asked me to or she said that she would say yes to me the day I do that for her…and…(Side hugging Aara) even though she is extremely mischievous…I love her…there was no question about not doing what she asked
Laeeka: (smiling from ear to ear) WELL DONE!!!I’m super proud of you!!
Zee: yeaah I’d never do that…that’s just really mad if you ask me!
Ebie: (laughing) me neither
Zee: (winking at Mari) please don’t get any ideas okay Maariah
Mari: (taken by surprise) huh what??
Immy:(ignoring what Zee said) so basically, Aara, if anyone sung for you, you would have said yes?
Aara: (linking her arm through Zoheb’s) not just anyone…
Zainab: awwwwww…you two are so cute!! I want to know everything…tell me please…how did it all happen?
Aara blushed as she put her head on Zoheb’s shoulder and Zoheb tried to stop smiling but there was no stopping them…they were clearly on seventh heaven!
I wanted to laugh! But really, they were quite cute! Although I knew that they were sort of “together” it was also very weird to see them like this.