As narrated by Laeeka
I had barely even spoken to Aunty Salma properly when Riza’s mum asked to speak to me outside. I had been patient for way too long but if she was going to scold me for being here , I wasn’t going to keep quiet! I was here for Aara not for anything else, and all that I wanted to do was to run back inside and be with everyone.
Under normal circumstances, I would have fiddled and been nervous, but ever since I had gone to Pietermaritzburg, I have become a little less anxious and had the chance to reflect upon my life. Also, the fact that my best friend was fighting for her life , as I breathed easily, hurt me in ways that I had never experienced before. I forced myself to be angry with Aara, I wanted to go in and shake her awake, I wanted to tell her that I took my own advice for a change. And to think that we had skyped just that day. Maybe it was shock, maybe it was the tragedy, I don’t know but everything was in a complete blur.
“Thank you for agreeing to talk to me”, Aunty Maseeha said, snapping me out of my thoughts
I didn’t answer her. Not because I was rude, but because I had no idea what to say to her. She has always made it openly clear that she didn’t like me. .
“Laeeka. .I’m sorry”, she said, and the tone of her voice was one that I wasn’t familiar with at all. I looked up at her in disbelief. I definitely heard wrong!
“….”, but no words escaped me
“The truth is that you are perfect for Riza, I was wrong. .I always judged you and made you feel unwelcome. ..I never wanted to see your goodness, I never wanted to see that your heart is so pure and I know, I know that the timing might be wrong, I know that you want to be inside with everyone , but I will never forgive myself if I had wasted a second longer ”
I was dumbfounded. Completely dumbfounded.
“I am a selfish woman who couldn’t accept that my sons happiness lies with you, and it took such a tragedy to open my eyes. . . Two days ago, she came to me with Naeem and they begged me to say yes…I’m not doing this for Aara, I am doing this for me, for my family, but when Aara gets better, I would love for her to see the both of you together…Please forgive me Laeeka, please accept my son and my family, I will forever be grateful to you “, she cried
“When Aara gets better. .when Aara gets better ” ,those words pierced straight into my heart and it was what I desperately wanted to hear. Without thinking, I hugged Aunty Maseeha and cried. And I cried my heart out…
I wasn’t even aware that Riza had come outside and was watching us, I didn’t even realise when she had apologised to him in front of me, I didn’t even realise when she had gone back inside. I was still stuck to the spot that I stood in.
“If Aara was here she would probably be whistling right now “,he said softly as he stood in front of me
“She would have also said that it calls for a big slice of cheesecake “, I said as I smiled through my tears
” She would have insisted on paying too”, he said as a tear fell from his eye
“But Nemo or Arshoo would have beaten her to it”, I said as more tears fell
“And then we wouldn’t have heard the end of it”..Riza said as he choked on his tears and finally let it all out. The shock had passed as Riza broke down in front of me and the two of us cried together
“There was so much blood Laeeka. ..So much…and I told her that let’s go meet Aadil, it was me!”
And then he filled me in on everything that had happened while I was away. .
Aara was an important part of both our lives, and just the thought of her being in this situation, tore us up from the inside.
“Don’t blame yourself for anything. ..”,I whispered ” you know that she would never ”
“My mind is saying one thing. ..but my heart is saying something else. ..If anyone deserved to be happy it was her!”
“She’s our fighter , she will be perfectly okay and no matter how long it takes we will be with her every step of the way”, I said as convincingly as I could while I tried to suppress the fear that lurked inside me…The fear that said that she was never coming back.
As narrated by Dr.Jamal
We were done with our work, and work was what we did best. It was what came after, that I always dreaded. It was always the hardest thing telling the family. ..looking into their eyes that were filled with hope made me feel as though I was the cause for the patients condition.
I took another look at her, so pale and cold. Her eyes were closed, as though she was in the most peaceful sleep, not knowing that so many people waiting on the other side of these doors were praying and hoping for her survival.
We see situations like these almost daily, but for a family it is almost always the first time.
I gathered my thoughts together and composed myself. No matter how many times I’ve done this, it never feels better at all.
As I walked through those big doors that almost seemed to me to be the separation of two worlds, on the one side this world and on the other side, a transition to the next…I met all those questioning and hopeful eyes..
This wasn’t easy. ..It never is