Ever since the Taleem, Saajidah never left my mind. All I thought about was the ways that I’ve wronged her. I couldn’t concentrate on anything. The guilt ate at me. How could I be so heartless? I showed no respect to her whatsoever, and I moved on while she was drowning in regret and self-loathe.
I needed to see her. Just to apologize. Given, I wasn’t the one who used her but maybe my actions were just as bad as Mahmood’s indifference towards her.
I had lost touch with Mahmood over the years, not that I wanted to find him again, but Saajidah was here now.
I had given it lots of thought. I would apologize. It wouldn’t kill me. It wouldn’t change things. But it was the only thing that I could do.
It was the only thing that’ll put my mind at rest. I had to suck it up and take responsibility for my actions. But how? Where do I find her?
Would she even attend the wedding now that she knows I’m here? My mind was in overdrive, yet, I still hadn’t managed to think of a solution.
So I tried my luck with Zainab. I had to tell her why, I was tired of hiding things and keeping secrets and I had promised myself after Aara ended up in hospital that I wouldn’t.
As expected, Zainab was shocked. She had known about Saajidah but she didn’t know that I was involved in it. Little did I know that someone else was listening in on our conversation…
As I jumped into my car, ready to go and do what I had to do…Laeeka opened the passenger side door and made herself comfortable inside.
“I heard everything and I am coming with you ” , she said as she held my hand reassuringly.
“Laeeks you don’t have to. ..”
“But I want to ”
“But today is Aara’s meet and greet thing…and I know that you have to be there”, I said, trying to reason with her
“Aara is definitely not going to mind, it will probably calm her down knowing that I went with if she ever finds out”, she said as she motioned for me to start the car
“ How’d you know that I didn’t tell her?”, I asked nervously
“Because she would have been here in place of me, that’s why”
“You know that I can’t…”
“I know Nemo…and I understand too”, Laeeka said as she read my mind before I completed my sentence
We parked outside Saajidah’s grandmother’s house. I hesitated before getting off…would she kick me out?
“You’ve come this far, you can’t give up now” , Laeeka whispered.
That she was here with me today, meant a lot. Having a girl with me, would put to rest any doubtful thoughts in anyone’s mind inside this house, but having a friend with me, gave me the courage to do the right thing.
We slowly walked up the garden path towards the front door. Laeeka saved me the turmoil, and knocked on the door.
A million thoughts races through my mind. I didn’t have to do this….and then I shut my eyes for a second. No, Aara would want me to. Aara, who was busy meeting her in laws this very moment, Aara, who wasn’t with me. Aara, whose hope and faith in me had emboldened me to stand here today.
I took a deep breath as I heard someone on the other side of the door. Slowly, it opened, my heart beat increasing each second. An elderly lady stood before us, her eyes filled with curiosity and confusion.
“Assalaamualaikum” Laeeka greeted, sensing my discomfort, giving me a look that said, ‘Nemo, you can do this!’
And within seconds, Saajidah was standing at the door, her eyes wide with utter and total shock.
And even then, I could see anger build up on her face.
I swear that if Laeeka wasn’t there, she would have shut the door on my face!
“Slmz Saajidah, can we talk for a bit?” , Laeeka asked politely.
Her granny obviously thought that we were friends and she happily ushered us in while she excused herself to make us a pot of tea.
“How dare you come here!” , Saajidah said angrily, once her granny was out of earshot.”I thought I made it clear to you that I wanted absolutely nothing to do with you! It’s unbelievable how much of nerve you have! Naeem Moola, you are absolutely disgusting!”
Her face was beet red, her bottled up anger finally escaping. Her words stung, but I suppose she had the right to lash out at me.
“Just hear me out…” I mumbled, not sure if she had even heard me.
“Hear you out? You want me to hear you out? Have you lost your mind? I don’t think we have anything to talk about here. Your actions have already spoken for you!
All you’ve done was ruined my life. All I wanted was to forget about it. Do you know what it felt like? Dealing with all of that for so many years? Not even once have I heard from you or your best friend, Mahmood. I was just stuck with that bloody memory, that one memory that made me feel like crap!”, she hissed all at once
“Woah..I understand that you’re upset and rightly so…but he’s also been through alot, that you don’t know of so give him a hearing please ” , Laeeka asked sternly.
She broke down then. Completely. Tears emanating from her eyes. Each tear hitting home.
“Saajidah….I’m sorry ” , Laeeka said softly as she went forward to comfort Saajidah. “I didn’t mean for it to come out like that, I understand…and we didn’t come here to open your wounds or hurt you in any way…”
Laeeka’s eyes filled with tears as she looked at me. She was just as overwhelmed as I was..
“Saajidah…I know that I have wronged you, but you know too that you came there that night on your own free will, what ever you were on…you were on it before you met us. I’m not justifying myself, but that is that club life unfortunately and that is why we didn’t take what you said seriously “, I said softly.
She didn’t say anything. She just sobbed.
“I don’t know about Mahmood…and how much he remembered because it’s been years since I last saw him. I was so hooked on drugs Saajidah…I nearly ruined my own life with my own hands”
She didn’t even look at me.
” I was unkind to myself, my family, the girl who truly loved me…so back then I wasn’t going to treat a stranger any better. ..it’s true that I didn’t bother finding you, I felt as though I didn’t need to. But when I saw you last night, I realised that all of it was true…” , I whispered through my own tears.
Saajidahs eyes lit up in fury.
“That doesn’t change anything! You coming here DOES NOT change anything! I killed my own child Naeem I killed my own child because of Mahmood and because of YOU!”
That hit me like a ton of bricks.
As if it couldn’t get any worse.
The baby… Mahmood’s child… The innocent infant she was carrying…
“I’m sorry Saajidah….I really truly am very very sorry ” , I whispered,”I cannot change the past…The only thing that is in my hands, is now,..and now…All I have is my heartfelt apology.”
“What you did was unforgivable…..” she finally whispered, looking me dead in the eye, her voice devoid of any emotion.”Unbloodyforgivable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
“Should I…should I try and find Mahmood for you? ” and I immediately wished that I could take that back.
“He seemed to have already found me,”she said quietly, ‘as luck might have it, I walked right into him just when I thought I could forget about him!! That seems to be happening to me a lot recently.”
Her voice was thick with sarcasm. I knew that I had no right to ask her what happened, but judging by her tone of voice, I figured that it couldn’t have been good.
I looked down, unsure of what to say.
“Everyone makes mistakes…” , Laeeka said softly, “some worse than others, but. .”
And we were interrupted by Saajidah’s grandmother who brought in a tray of tea and cake.
“Please have some “, she smiled sweetly, “I’ll be upstairs if you need anything.”
And she was gone, just as fast as she appeared, completely oblivious to the tension that filled the air around us.
Laeeka cleared her throat and continued, “But a part of moving on is forgiveness. What do we gain by hatred? What do we gain turning down an apology that is so genuine? We know, we know how much of pain this has put you through. I can’t even imagine how strong you must have been, crying yourself to sleep for god knows how long….”
I sat in silence. Still in shock, still in regret.
I had played a major part in the destruction of this girls life, and possibly her faith in people.
I couldn’t expect her to forgive me that easily. Not after all that I’ve done.
And…. After a moment of deafening silence, she muttered two words…
Two words that confirmed my suspicions…
Two words that added to my misery and hopelessness…
Two words that emphasized the damage that I had caused.
In a tone,that I knew, would never leave my mind.
Zah…no words. You know how stumped I was when I was writing Nemo after the tongue lashing from Saaj *cringe* *sob* thank you so much..I thoroughly enjoyed the “challenge”.
Nemo is someone who so many people can learn quite a lot from…and always remember, that “Verily, after every hardship, comes ease”
Thanks for writing this post with me *tight hugz*