As narrated by Immy:
It seemed as though time had stopped for Maariah and I. We were partaking in everything but were so lost in each other at the same time that even though we were there- we were not there.
In this short space of time, I had gotten to know so much more about her, and she about me. Aara’s mother was kind enough to phone Maariah’s parents on my behalf and they wanted to officially meet me when we got back. I had met them before, but this time it would be very different.
Everyone was super excited about it and when we came back from Selvan’s wedding, we sat in the lounge and discussed the whole upcoming “meet the parents”. Maariah blushed until her face turned beet red! And needless to say, I was on seventh heaven!
Finally, a family of my own…finally someone to go home to…finally someone upon whom I could shower all of my love…finally someone who would be my partner not only in this world but Insha Allah, one day in Jannah too.
As narrated by Aara:
Saying that I loved my brother would be the worst understatement ever! Because I loved him loved him loved him to infinity and beyond!
Me: (smiling at Sahal) you’re my hero!
Sahal: (looking at me weirdly) because I’m helping you pack a car boot?
Me: well…it’s not a car it’s a 4×4 and yesssssss because you’re helping me soooo selflessly my baby
Sahal: it’s 3am would you please stop being so bubbly it’s annoying!
Me:( tickling his ears) but I’m excited how!
Sahal: (shrugging me off) yeah only you have time to do all these silly things..normal people go out for supper, go for a movie or go for a picnic! But Aara the Great needs to go on an adventure!
Me: what’s up with you? Ohhhh Sahal…
Me: do you have a girlfriend?
Sahal: nice try…and even if I did I wouldn’t tell you!
Me: (hitting him on the back of his head) why?????
Sahal: (grinning) because your mouth is too big THAT’s why!
Me: but I told you about Zoheb…
Sahal: hah firstly you didn’t tell me,Ebie did and secondly I’m not you I can actually keep my mouth shut you know
Me: (thinking) ok…you have a point
Sahal smiled to himself but didn’t say anything else. We had just about finished packing both the boots and were silent when we were startled out of our wits!
“What are you both doing?”
We impulsively let out a scream in total shock. I mean hello, it was before fajr, pitch black and dead silent! I had even tripped on the last backpack on the floor when I turned around to see who it was!
Me: Daddy! Don’t ever sneak up on us again please you nearly gave me a heart attack!
Sahal: (helping me to get off the floor) and my heart is still pounding
Daddy: (laughing to himself) well you both are out here like two thieves what was I supposed to think when I saw the front door open?
Me: huh? Did you just call daddy a dude?
Daddy: why not? I am a dude!
Me: daddy..you are NOT a dude!
Sahal: ofcourse he’s a dude…he can’t be a dudette!
Daddy: yes Aaroo I’m a dude alright
Me: errr daddy…you’re old…and old people are not dudes…they are just…..people
Sahal burst out laughing!
Daddy: (twisting my ear playfully) I’m not old…dadi and dada are old!
Me: (trying to get away) okay okay…errr dude
Daddy: (tapping my head) come sit here both of you
And we sat on the verandah stairs, Sahal and I on either side of my daddy.
Daddy: I sometimes can’t believe that you both have grown up so much…you (putting his arm around my shoulders) live so far away…and you (putting his arm around Sahal) just now you will go too
Me: go where???
Sahal: I’m thinking about going to Australia
Me: what? When did this happen!
Sahal: (grinning at me) when you were too overly occupied!
Daddy: Sahal…just like how we are allowing you to go, we allowed Aara to go on the same trust and belief that you both won’t do anything that would hurt or embarrass us. Aara is overly occupied because she loves her work and we respect that…(Sighing) life is too short my babies…live it to the fullest. Don’t waste your time, because once that time is gone you will never get it back
Sahal: should I start making notes?
Daddy: (gently hitting Sahal at the back of his head) shut up
Me: (laughing softly) daddy you’re giving us an emotional talk at 3 am…
Daddy: time time…there’s no better time than the present
Sahal: can I be excused please? I need to use the toilet
And Sahal left, leaving my father an I alone.
Daddy: baby girl is there something that you want to tell me?
Me: (looking down) the time isn’t right daddy…
I wanted to tell him. Badly. But Zoheb hadn’t said anything so how could I tell my father?
Daddy: alright…whenever you’re ready my angel
Me: there is one thing though…
Me: why does mummy want Nemo and I to get married?
My father smiled to himself.
Daddy: Aara…you know that your mother and I both love Naeem a lot, your mother though has an extra special place for Naeem in her heart that not even you have
Daddy: I don’t mean it in a bad way but Mummy feels that you and Naeem would be perfect together. You grew up together, you are best friends, you both have been through the ups and downs of life. And while we won’t force you because at the end of the day it’s your decision…we can advise you. In fewer words…rather the devil you know than the one you don’t:)
Me: I see…
Daddy: (squeezing my shoulder reassuringly) we are your parents not your enemies so…if there’s anything else that you would like to tell us you can okay?
Me: (tears filling up in my eyes) could you talk to mummy please? I don’t want her to complicate things between me and Nemo
Daddy: (taking a deep breath in) Aara mummy has already spoken to Naeem
Me: wait what????
Daddy: last night…after all of you came back
Daddy: (shrugging his shoulders) I don’t know…I fell asleep
Daddy: (laughing) don’t worry about all that..you just enjoy what you have planned for today and when you get back to Jhb you sit and think about what you want and you phone me
Me: (tears falling from my eyes) love you daddy
Daddy: (hugging me) love you too my baby…and don’t let this spoil your last day here…both mummy and I, we are very proud of you now chin up ok! Some food for thought baby girl…Alexender the Great once asked Socrates”SirWhat’s the difference between “like” and “love”? Socrate’s answer was a masterpiece:”When u like a flower, you just pluck it,but when u love a flower, you water it daily..! One who understand this , understands life my darling
I felt horrible lying to my father…I couldn’t tell him. My fathers trust in me always overwhelmed me and I was so grateful to have a dad like him. But he was right…this shouldn’t spoil my plans…after all Uzair and I had gone through a lot getting it all together. I just hoped though that Zoheb would ask me soon…because I didn’t like lying to my parents at all.
Uzair fetched me after fajr while the others got dressed. I had given them strict instructions to dress casually and o fcourse to make it fast.
Outside Moses Mabhida Stadium:
Being outside the stadium this early reminded me of the World Cup! I closed my eyes for a second and I could just picture myself standing in the middle of that soccer field with a standing ovation from a jam packed stadium full of people!
“Snap out of it Aara…you dream way too much!”…my head said to my heart.
Me: (rubbing my hands together) come on come on where are these people???
Uzair: Cold? I would give you my jacket but I don’t want it to smell of (sniffing) YOU! (Winking and laughing)
Me: (raising my eyebrow at him) That’s just downright nasty! Even for you hmph (looking the other way)
Uzair: Aww is Aara upset? Its a good thing Zoheb is coming. He can comfort you!
Me: (sticking my tongue out at Uzair) Upset because you very conveniently ditched my invite for all the other days and decide to join me only today! One day, just one day before I go back
Uzair: (draping his arm around my shoulders) I’ve been busy Aaroo. Plus you’re here with your friends.
Me: (sighing) Fine…we have today..(Now chuckling to myself) to chill and enjoy while the others break their heads with the tasks I have planned for them
Uzair: Remind me again why are they friends with you? (Winking)
Me: Ha ha. Because I ain’t boring mister! And here they come (watching the two 4×4’s come in) I’m so tempted to change my voice and be serious! (Squealing) because it feels like the real thing the only thing missing is the camera
Uzair: I don’t even know why I’m helping you (chuckling to himself) But we’re family so I guess I can’t back out.
Arshad: (yawning) Why are we at this stadium so early this morning? Maaf where’s my manners (shaking Uzair’s hand) salaams bro good to see you.
Uzair: Arshad man. How are you? And I heard you also got bitten by the love bug?
Riza: (laughing) And it’s one of those “hard to get rid of” bugs whose name is Zainab! (Hugging Uzair) always good to see you.
Uzair: Likewise. Likewise. Hope you been irritating this Aara here for me while I’m not there.
Riza: errr no that’s Nemo’s job :-p
Nemo: (shaking Uzairs hand) Gee thanks Reez
Uzair: (laughing) Nemoooooo! Good to see you again
Nemo: Good to see you too Uzair
The meet and greet continued with the rest of them expressing their joy at seeing Uzair again.
Me: (clearing my throat and attempting to change my voice) can I have your attention please! welcome to our version of the amazing race! You will be divided into two teams and will have different tasks to complete. The faster you reach your destination, the better, considering you didn’t have breakfast…and well the team that wins will have the awesome opportunity of….washing my car!
Laeeka: (still looking sleepy) huh? We have to wash your car?
Me: kidding Laeeks…anyway, you guys it’s not too difficult and we have an amazing breakfast planned so yeah make it snappy and get a move on…Uzair will divide you into teams
Uzair: (giving me the “you didn’t tell me I had to do this” look) I think I’m in a lovey dovey mood so, Laeeka and Riza, aaaand Zainab and Arshad. You four can be one team. And you four (pointing to Maariah Immy Zoheb and Nemo) you can be together.
Maariah: (pouting) You put me with three guys Uzair
Zoheb: (winking at me) now you”ll have a better chance of winning Maariah
Nemo: (looking at me) and what about you and Uzair ?
My heart skipped a beat. Knowing that my mother already spoke to him made me feel a little awkward.
Me: (trying to sound like my normal self) Lovey dovey Uzair and I will be sitting this one out because hello we planned it.(Laughing) Now, in the boots are your backpacks and here is your first instruction (handing Riza and Zoheb a yellow and black envelope) oh and we made you guys little snack packs
Uzair opened his bag to hand everyone a clear packet each containing a red bull and an apple.
Nemo: Dude seriously? This is our breakfast?
Uzair: (laughing) Don’t be ungrateful now. Aara was planning on making you guys eat bark, but see I said this would be better.
Nemo: (raising his eyebrow at me) Bark?
Me: yessss now go go go already
Zoheb: (whispering to me) Only an apple for me too?
Me: (whispering to Zoheb) No my jaaaaan…(Sneakily giving Zoheb a chocolate)
Me: (trying not to laugh and pointing at Uzair) He said I should do that!
Uzair: Pin it on me? Come on Riza you know I play fair!
Riza: And this one just gets naughtier by the day!
Me: (hitting Riza’s shoulder) Just by the way…there’s one for each of you in your backpacks
And within a few minutes, they had gotten into their vehicles and left
Uzair: Ah, peace at last! I can only handle so many joburg people (smirking and ducking)
Me: (laughing) I would have thrown a punch except…I’m famished! Waffles on the beach cuz! Shall we?
Uzair: I suggest you start dieting. Can’t give you back to Zoheb as a bloated chubby oompa loompa (nudging my shoulder and walking towards his car)
Me: (laughing) oompa lampa?? What is that anyway? pleeeease I am on holiday for crying out loud…am I fat?
Uzair: No you’re very beautiful, (singing Bruno Mars) jussssst the waaaay you areeeeee!
And Uzair enveloped me into one of his warm hugs. This day had started off just perfectly!
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