As narrated by Zoheb:
The braai went on without a hitch, we were together like this after such a long time and it felt awesome! Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves too, although I did notice that Aara and Nemo were strangely quiet and unlike their normal chatty selves.
I attempted baking a decent cake with Maariah’s help and presented it to Aara in the hope that it would trigger a memory. But it wasn’t the cake that did the job, it was the candle and the look in her eyes and the smile on her lips told me where that moment had taken her…
I was determined to try harder tonight by making her revisit another memory…having her next to me without her knowing who I am to her, was heartbreaking in every way…
On my way out of Immy’s apartment, I noticed that the cake that I baked was as is, except for the slice that Aara had eaten silently. My eyebrows joined each other into a frown as I wondered why nobody else ate it…and without hesitating, I put a sizeable piece into my mouth….
I spat it out faster than I put it in! It was horrible!
“Errrr , you added salt in it Zoheb “, Mari grinned as she walked in on me
“It’s disgusting “, I said as I gulped down a large bottle of water
It took a few seconds for it to register and I looked at Mari wide eyed.She smiled knowingly at me and shook her head..
“She ate it!”, I said aloud
“Of course she did you idiot! ”
“Go go go !!!”, Mari clapped and I made a mad dash for the front door
I had the biggest smile across my heart as I drove slowly towards our destination . From the corner of my eye, I saw her looking at me and I pretended not to notice .
“Where are we going? “, she asked softly
” Where I can apologise properly for you having to eat that terrible chocolate cake….I am so sorry Aara, I had no idea that I added salt in it”
“I don’t buy that “, she said with a familiar grin
“Heyyy do you think that I would do that on purpose? ”
“You’ve done bigger things knowingly so what’s salt in a cake? ”
“Or so I’ve heard…”, she added
How was I even supposed to reply to that?
“Cat got your tongue? “, she asked
“Well the only cat here is you”, I smiled
“First I get to eat salty chocolate cake and then I get called a cat? Are we done for tonight or should I expect any more name calling? ”
“How about chocolate milkshake? “, I laughed
“Do I look like a chocolate milkshake? ” , she frowned
“Ok how about Apple pie? ”
“Do I look like an apple pie???” , she said wide eyed
I burst out laughing!
“Aha finally! ”
“Don’t flatter yourself, I was actually paying attention tonight ”
I smiled and shook my head
“Seriously, how are we even friends? “, she said as she shook her head
“Awww are you determined to break my heart madame? ”
“No , that’s your department “, she said with a straight face.
I was baffled. Did someone say something to her? I was simply following the doctors orders and keeping her away from any stress, else I would have told her already! And she was dropping way too many signs tonight and I didn’t know what to make of it.
“Give me a few minutes please, I’ll be right back “, I said as soon as I parked my car
Armed with two slices of bar one cake and chocolate milkshakes, I made my way back to the car. From a distance, I noticed a figure leaning over the passenger side door. When he straightened himself, I was so sure that it was Nemo’s friend who had come to the hospital to see Aara. I couldn’t quite place his name though…
They didn’t see me coming but when I was within earshot of them, my heart literally stopped beating. I didn’t mean to eavesdrop but there was no turning back. They were talking about Amreen Vawda, Aadil being in jail and Aara’s recovery. ..
That means….she knew all along…she knew.. My world started spinning involuntarily as reality slapped me across my face
I don’t know for how long I stood there but when he finally made salaam and turned to leave, the colour drained from Aara’s face.
“Zoheb, this is Nemo’s friend Abu Bakr, AB this is Zoheb “, Aara said as she tried hard to avoid meeting my eyes
I shook his hand, made small talk and then he left.
“I got us cake and milkshake “, I said as I swallowed hard
My hand trembled as I opened the door of my car. So many questions zoomed through my head….but I probably deserved it. I wouldn’t confront her though…
” I know that you heard us”, she said, her head down
I didn’t answer. I didn’t know what to say.
“I never forgot anything “, she whispered
“Why didn’t you tell me? “, I said as a tear fell from my eye
“I don’t owe you an explanation but I needed to do this” ,she retorted
“I died a hundred deaths every day Aara, the thought of you forgetting me, the thought of losing you. ..”
“Atleast now you know how I felt! “,she snapped and I could see waves of anger on her face and in her eyes
“Aara please. ..” , I said as I reached out to hold her hand
“Don’t! “,she said as she moved her arm ” you died a hundred deaths??, you left me with no explanation, you never answered my calls or emails, you made me wonder if I had done something wrong, you made me think that I wasn’t good enough! So don’t you tell me what you went through because I genuinely don’t want to know! ”
“I did it for you. …It was for you, it was so difficult to go away from you but I had given Nemo my word. .”
“What about the promises that you made to me??? Do you have any idea what you caused? And as for sacrifice…you didn’t sacrifice anything BUT me!” , she said angrily
” I was wrong…I was wrong I know…but you guys were. . I don’t know okay and I felt as though I came in between, I just wanted you to be sure “, I said as I held my head
“No YOU wanted to be sure! Dammit Zoheb if I wasn’t sure I would never have taken this damn chance of a lifetime!”
She was breathing heavily and tears streamed down her cheeks..
“I don’t understand why you couldn’t just tell me! That stupid Aadil knew something that’s how I ended up going to where he shot me! And what about Nemo? He was falling further and further, what about him???” , she shouted
“This is exactly why I went away! ”
“Don’t you dare turn the tables on me! I can forgive him a hundred times because I know him forever and I know what he’s like but you…you knew how I felt, you knew everything because I confided in you, you knew because I gave my heart to you, you knew my fears , you knew that I was afraid of losing you , you knew that I dropped all barriers and let you in!…you knew things that even Nemo didn’t know and STILL!!” , she said through her tears
“I know that I’m your culprit Aara but please understand why I did it. ..I respected yours and Nemo’s friendship and I know what he is to you, I had no idea that things would turn out this way please…Please forgive me. ..I love you… I love you so so much “, I cried
“That’s the hardest part…because I love you too..and I can’t answer to my own heart why…”, she said as she sobbed even more
“I can’t live without you…”, I said as I reached out and held her shoulder
“Don’t touch me!”, she said, startling me , ” I am so afraid to let you in again, which is part of the reason why I acted in the first place…I don’t trust you…because you will sweep me up again and drop me down even harder ”
I was stunned to the spot. Her words pierced through me and tore me apart.
“Please drop me off at the hospital now ” , she said as she wiped her tears
As narrated by Aara :
I snapped. I didn’t think that it would happen like this, but it did.
I was overwhelmed by his gesture of baking the salty chocolate cake and then the “candle that doesn’t die ” made all the difference, but not long after that I came tumbling back down when I watched Nemo’s face fall. All of this could have been avoided if these two would have acted a little maturely. If they had just communicated. But no. They chose a way that was difficult for all of us. Did they honestly think that no one would find out? Well no guesses for that now is there?
I had questions, yes. I wanted to scream and shout , yes. But I subdued everything…until now.
How does one pick up from where you left off when the gap between then and now has been littered with too much hurt, too much pain and the blood of broken hearts? The distance between then and now looks as though it could be covered in the blink of an eye but in reality it’s greater than a million miles.
Each time I felt myself slip , I was once again reminded that I had no safety net. Because my safety net had left me once before. But he was human too, and I still loved him.
This was just such a bittersweet mix of happiness and pain and an array of unexplained feelings that I had no control over….
I so badly wanted to tell him and I pictured it being in a much more calmer scenario. But what ever had to happen, happened.
The hurtful look on his face, the tears that fell from his eyes, the anguish that was evident in his trembling voice.
We finally reached the hospital and Zoheb came to my side to carry me into my wheelchair, the two of us still silent . I was about to tell him to call one of the nurses to carry me out when a question crept into my head…what if I died tonight? I already had a brush with death and even in that state I tried to hold onto him, I was angry but more than that , I was grateful to be alive.
I knew in my heart that he was genuinely sorry and I knew that he never intended for things to be this way, but it’s always easier to channel all that pent up anger towards the one that we love the most isn’t it. .
What a merry mixture of confusion, indecisiveness and contradictions!
I was done with beating about the bush. I had laid my cards on the table, he knew how I felt. If he still wanted there to be an “us” then he was old enough to know which step to take next.
After lowering me into my wheelchair, he took out the silver chain and pendant that I longed to see, from his pocket and put it around my neck.
Those few seconds hung in mid air like something waiting to happen and was thick with an emotion that was difficult to put into words…
The title…because this post had me spinning from friday night right until now. Aara and Zoheb have such an amazing emotional chemistry that writing it is such a mammoth task…*sigh*
Anyway, hope u guys have a fab week ahead:)
Ps: Thank you for all the Wedding Planner emails, I think that I have already found a winner but keep them coming, let’s see if anyone can outdo my choice:) Pics can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and the cut off date can be this Wednesday, 09/09 as Arshad and Zainab’s wedding week begins!