Remember that time when we broke into Nemo’s apartment? And the time when we ran behind him in our pj’s? You’re probably laughing right now, but please don’t laugh for too long because 1. We kinda need to do those things again and 2. we’re waiting outside your house whenever you’re ready
Make it fast!
Aara & Arshad
Huh? I opened this Watsapp message from Aara like…just now only and no this is definitely a joke…because they couldn’t possibly be serious could they?
And I moved my curtain a little, because hey this is South Africa, we don’t leave our windows open at 2 am! Oh hell no!!!
And lo behold…standing in front of Zoheb’s SUV, was Arshad and Aara in their pyjamas ! AND they were waving at me! Even Zoheb stuck his hand out of the window! A humongous smile spread across my face as I grabbed a jacket, put my slippers on and tiptoed downstairs and out of the house.
“Unbelievable you guys! “, I laughed as I took my seat in Zoheb’s vehicle. “What’s the plan? ”
“Kidnap! ” , Arshad yawned
” Now wouldn’t that be a sight to behold, two kidnappers, one who’s half asleep, and one who can’t even walk properly! “, I chuckled
“Hehe so funny, here have this “, Aara said as she tossed me a can of redbull
I didn’t need to ask why we were doing this, I knew.
I knew because I felt it too.
Getting Laeeka out of the house was very easy, Zainab was a mission but we succeeded. Arshad and her still weren’t talking and they were getting married in a few days!
We were already a tight squeeze in Zoheb’s suv and we were still going to fetch Immy and Mari. Now they lived in a ground floor apartment and the guard knew us so he let us in without even buzzing Immy. We walked around the side of their apartment like night creatures! Hoodies on, and tiptoed until we reached their room window.
“Wait ” I said as a mischievous thought crept into my head.
I motioned for all of them to squat below the windowsill, and well, Aara had to stand beside a pillar….and I tapped on the window and then squatted down. Dead silence…I tapped the window again…and we could hear some shuffling inside the room.
And silence again…
I reached my hand up and tapped the window harder this time, while I hid my caller identity and called on their landline a few times.
It was still so silent inside I began to wonder if we hadn’t given them a heart attack! Or does Maariah also sleep as dead as Immy???
One of us slumped to the ground, it was so damn dark, we couldn’t see a thing!!
After more tapping and several more minutes of silence, I was about to give up when out of nowhere, a huge blue light shone upon us! Holy crap!
“Put your hands where we can see them! !!”, a few voices shouted
“I told you this was a bad idea!”, Laeeka whispered angrily
A whole team of policemen had surrounded us, their guns pointed at us and with two huge police dogs who barked incessantly causing us to huddle together . Were we about to get arrested? ??
“We have three males, 3 females and one of them is handicapped “, one of the policemen said into his walky talky
“I’m not handicapped! ” , Aara snapped
“Shut up” , Arshad whispered to her
“What…let’s just say this was real I’d actually get the lowest sentence here being in THIS condition “, she mumbled to him
“Newsflash genius, you’re the only one with a weapon! ”
And I couldn’t help but laugh!!
“You have the right to remain silent, anything you say or do will be….”, an officer continued
“Woah woah it’s not what it looks like “, Zoheb answered worriedly
“Then what does it look like? “, Immy grinned as he joined his bunch of cop friends
“Immy! ” ,all of us screamed in unison
“Pyjama thieves! “, Immy laughed, “what on earth were you guys doing? ??” And he motioned for his colleagues to lower their guns
“We came to fetch you and Mari ” , I explained, as Arshad and Aara decided to play dumb
“Through the window? “, Immy chuckled, highly amused
And that was Immy and Mari…who were now also sandwiched with us in Zoheb’s SUV. Aara wouldn’t let us use another car and said we look cute sitting like sardines! Laeeka sat in the front seat with Aara, Zoheb drove, I was squeezed in between both their seats facing the other 4 who sat bunched up in the back seat.
“I heard Zee say earlier that he was going to visit some family so Nemo is probably alone “, Aara said as we made our way up to Nemo’s apartment.
“I’ll do this “, I grinned while waving a screwdriver in my hand as we approached the door
“I have a key” , she said rolling her eyes at me
“But you said that we’re breaking in!”
“It looks better in a message bru and really, where are we ever going to find someone to repair this door if we break in”, Arshad yawned again
“Do you think that our kids will be friends like us?” , Maariah asked softly as we tiptoed through Nemo’s lounge
“I sure as hell hope so!”
Nemo’s snores echoed throughout his room, right down the long passage, into the lounge. And the occasional grunt or snarl made us stop dead in our tracks, as we suppressed the strongest urge to laugh…
I went into his room first to see if he was decent…and Mr was sprawled across his bed dressed in a Superman onesie! I couldn’t help but laugh as I motioned for everyone to come inside…
“What’s the plan? “, Immy asked excitedly
And impulsively ,Immy, Zoheb, Arshad and I jumped onto Nemo’s bed , startling him out of his wits , he had gotten such a shock that he had rolled off the bed and pulled out a…hanger from under his bed as….errr ammo perhaps?
“It’s us you boiled egg!” , Laeeka laughed
“You really keep a hanger under your bed incase someone breaks in…like really ?” , Arshad grinned
It took a few seconds for it to register in Nemo’s head that it was us then he sat cross legged and looked at the 8 of us with a very raised eyebrow!
Arshad was dressed in a blue and white checked pyjama pants with a blue nike tshirt and sandals , Zainab was in a yellow and blue polka dot pyjama with a matching yellow fluffy gown…and she honestly looked like a canary!
Zoheb wore a black 3/4 shorts pj kind of pants and a white tshirt, Aara was dressed in a blue and pink pyjama with a white hooded jacket and her reading glasses on.
Mari was in a orange pyjama with tigger slippers and a long black jersey , Immy wore a white tracksuit pants and green Hulk t shirt
And Laeeka was in a full grey tracksuit with flip flops.
And now Superman would complete the group of 9 freaks 😉
Aara wouldn’t let anyone sit in the boot of the SUV because she had “parcels” there so Nemo too had to join the sardine pack in the back seat.
“You snore like a bear!”, Immy laughed, “you would probably scare off even a thief or two! ”
Nemo looked as though he would fall asleep again, but like every single one of us, he too knew that time was running out…
This element of surprise gave me an adrenaline rush like no other, as I had no idea where we were going or what exactly we were going to do. But dragged out of our beds with untidy hair, absolutely no frills, half asleep and just going with the flow felt damn exhilarating!
As narrated by Nemo :
Everyone yawned as we got off in the basement of Zoheb’s work building. Arshad and Zoheb were busy offloading a few boxes from the boot while the rest of us chatted amongst ourselves. I was about to ask what the heck were we doing here at 3 am when Aara made her way towards me with a sneaky grin on her face.
“Cover me” , she whispered as she revealed what was inside her jacket
No frikking way! I rubbed my hands together excitedly and waited….
“I’ve always wanted to do this ” ,she said to Zainab, who was standing on the other side of her
“Do what, stand in an empty basement at this hour? ”
“No…THIS ” , Aara grinned and pulled out this large bottle of tomato sauce and squirted it all over Zainab!
“Aara! ” , she screamed in shock as the tomato sauce dripped off her hands and she stepped forward to grab the sauce bottle from Aara’s hand
I covered her as promised and stood before her while Zoheb tossed me two eggs that I happily smashed on Zainab’s head!
“There’s enough for everyone! ” ,he shouted as those boxes were opened to reveal several trays of eggs, plenty bottles of tomato sauce , mustard sauce, mayonnaise, Worcester sauce, powder, big tubs of black shoe polish and jugs upon jugs of tomato puree!
And suddenly everyone’s sleep literally flew out the window and we were running about like lunatics smashing eggs on each other and Riza and I even cornered Arshoo and poured a full jug of tomato puree on his head , Zoheb followed with a ton of powder and Laeeka topped it off with a couple of eggs! Arshoo looked like a turkey ready to be shoved into the oven!
Zoheb even held Aara for us as we sprayed both of them with mayo and mustard!
Immy had got it really bad with black polish all over his face and pieces of eggshell stuck to it…Mari actually screamed in shock when he turned around to face her!
We honestly looked like we had run into a few garbage trucks all at once!The selfies galore was proof enough!
Very soon, we were out of breath and plonked ourselves on the ground, heaving and laughing at the same time . Zainab leaned against Arshad and in that moment, they silently made up. A round of silence followed as some of us looked down and some of us looked at each other. And that’s when it happened…
I looked at my friends, and an overwhelming feeling tugged at my heart . Where did we start and where have we come? So much has happened, so much has changed. And no, this isn’t THE END as a whole , but it’s the end of alot of things. My mind wandered off to the chat that Arshad and I had with Nemo the other day. We could see how much of pain he was in and he poured his heart out to us but I didn’t know that he was this strong. Nemo surprised us completely…I think that if Nemo had to have a fan club right now, I’d be number one on that list! This wasn’t the Naeem who we used to pick up from the streets, this wasn’t the Naeem who we chased in our pyjamas down that hill, this wasn’t the Naeem who made Aara cry tears of blood. This was a Naeem that she, and all of us were so proud of, this was a Naeem who he himself could be proud of.
We surely have been through a lot and I know that more tests would come our way, because that’s what life is. But up until here, for now, I couldn’t have asked for better companions…
A tear escaped my eye unknowingly, and then another, until I couldn’t hold it back any longer. I cried, in front of everyone, I cried my heart out. In front of me was Laeeka lying in that hospital bed, Aara running up those stairs to take Nemo away, Arshad agreeing to help me without hesitating….moments that stood out and remained etched across my heart. I wiped my tears and looked up…everyone was crying, softly, separately…but a cloud of togetherness surrounded us and emphasised everything that we always and ever stood for….In good times and bad, for better or worse , in sickness and in health, until death do us part….
As narrated by Zoheb :
I could never completely understand the depth of the bond that all of them shared. They had many years between them, and I knew that no matter what, I would never be able to fully reach that same place. But this was where I had been written in…my story with them began the very day that I met them. I will always be grateful to have been a part of them, to witness this miracle that they had been living for years…true, rare, beautiful friendship.
Everyone was more or less silent on our way back home, every single one of us had cried with Riza, for the same reason as him, and for our reasons too. Sombre, sleepy and tired were three words that best described everyone right now! Until…..
Rrrrrrrr…..rrrrrrrrrRrrrrrrr and then a monstrous RRRRrrrrrrrrrr lol!
“Nemo! !!!”, everyone shouted as Nemo drifted off into a blissful snore slumber despite the fact that the inside of my SUV was stinking! The eggs, the sauces…We were still covered in it! The faces of the fuel pump attendants at the garage was classic! All our windows were down and we were a horrendous sight!
For once, I didn’t care how terrible I looked when I walked into the Quick Shop to get us coffee. People stared as 9 of us, adults mind you, jumped out of a single and very messed up SUV and stood around sipping hot coffee .
“It will be sunrise soon..”, Immy said softly