As narrated by Aara
I rushed upstairs to my bedroom and locked myself in. Barely able to see clearly through my tears…hurriedly switching on the dvd player and with shaky hands I removed the cd from its case. The cd that Zoheb had left me, dated two months ago…
“I hope that you’re watching this as a stunning old lady and that we have had lots of wonderful years together… I hope that you’re sipping on your favorite coffee , silently scolding me , probably after putting one of our grandchildren to bed. I hope… ”
His dimpled smile, his eyes that never lied… And I ran my fingers across the screen as more tears poured down my cheeks and as my heart broke yet again…
Quivering.. I pressed play again..
“But if we haven’t had all these years together… ”
And he looked down and kept quiet for a few seconds..
“Then I am glad that we had a lifetime together.. Because that’s what it was to me. Every moment spent with you my sweet, sweet Applepie.. was priceless. I love you… ”
I paused again.
“And I love you”… I whispered
” We take too much for granted Aara, we live as though we will never die.. but death is inevitable and if you’re watching this then it means that my time in this world has reached its end. I have gone. And I am sorry. I know that you must be heartbroken and I wish that I didn’t have to be the cause of your tears… I wish that you wouldn’t cry so much… I wish that you will live… Live Aara, I want you to live… ”
He moved forward and retrieved an envelope from one of his desk drawers. He looked at it and very slowly looked back up into the camera.
“I hope that this wasn’t needed but if it has come up I need you to know why I did this… When I turned 21 my father asked me to sign this agreement.. To secure his future grandchildren and I gave in. I tried contesting it when you fell pregnant with Hana but there was too many technicalities and so I met with my lawyer… ”
He paused again and looked down for a few seconds
“Aara you must understand that Riza would never cheat you.. I trust him.. And after seeing how much of time he has for you I know that I wasn’t wrong. I had no other choice. I know that by law you will be able to fight for Hana but I also know how attached you are to me and I know my parents too.. They would have used your grief to their advantage and with their lawyers and contacts you would never have stood a chance”
I paused. I looked at the frozen image of Zoheb on the screen and I didn’t know how to react.
How does life just change in a split second? A single breath suddenly stops and so many lives come tumbling down….
“You were the highlight of my life, and I love you so much.. I know that you are hurt and angry, I know that I would never understand how you are feeling because I could never imagine losing you.. But the finality of it is the reality of life”
Tears poured down my cheeks as I momentarily drifted back in time…
“I feel like a big, fat, round…BALL!”, I moaned
I was heavily pregnant, hungry and hot! Damn this Durban weather! I just wished that I was sitting in a tidal pool on the beach and I had just done that two days ago but Sahal had to open his mouth and say aloud that ” If your water bag bursts we wouldn’t even know!” and my mother being my mother, banned me from the beach!
“But you’re a cute ball “, Zoheb grinned as he sipped on his bottle of water
“How can you call me a ball???”
“But that’s what you just said”, he said innocently
“You. Are not allowed to agree”, I said, sticking my finger in his ribs
“Ok ball…I mean doll”, he laughed
“I’m glad that you think this is funny Mr. Patel..you have no idea what it feels like being this huge in this heat and my feet are swollen and I’m hungry and tired and you…don’t want to know!”
Shoot me! I felt like a whale!
“Yet you still dragged me to Gateway”, he grinned
“uurrghhh”, I sighed dramatically
I ignored him and busied myself looking at some nursery decor, when after a few minutes when I lifted my head…I noticed people in the store smiling to themselves AND at something behind me!
I also turned around to find out what was so amusing…and I was gobsmacked! I was afraid I’d give birth then and there!
My mouth hung open in utter and total disbelief!
“WHAT are you doing???”
“You jump I jump”, Zoheb said with the biggest, most goofiest smile on his face that melted my heart in a flash
“Wearing whatever it is that you’re wearing under your tshirt is your idea of jumping?”, I asked, fighting off the strongest urge to laugh
“Aah you know you can’t be mad at me even if you tried”, he smiled, as he bumped my huge tummy with his fake one..” This is interesting actually”
I laughed wholeheartedly at this adorable man, who refused to let me see what was under his tshirt that served as a makeshift preggie belly…and he didn’t flinch much when we walked together through the mall, hand in hand. Loads of young dads gave him a thumbs up or a small salute because they knew what he was really doing.
I felt a little embarrassed at first, but as he held my hand reassuringly and as I held his back, I felt grateful. Safe, so much at peace.
I was still smiling..I could almost feel his hand in mine..just the way that it always seemed to “fit”..almost..almost..
But reality was very different, wasn’t it…”you jump I jump”..was for a fictional world.
“I want you to move on, I’m not asking you to let go…but it would break me knowing that you were stuck..Please, have faith in our Creator, this is all a part of his plan and we don’t understand it yet. This world is not our Jannah Aara…this world is our test. Accept it..do what is right..our time was until here only…and I hope that I see you again and even if I never do…I have complete faith in Allah for whatever comes next and I know that you do too”
Zoheb cried..he cried as he looked into the camera…”I’m sorry Aara..to record this knowing that it might be my last message to you…”
He shook his head, wiped his tears away and smiled a little..
“Please remember me in your duas..please keep my memory alive with Hana..I will always be thankful for every moment that I spent with you…Allah blessed me with you and turned my grey life into a beautiful rainbow…I love you, give my baby a kiss from me okay”
He wiped away his fresh lot of tears and smiled his dimpled smile into the camera and made a soft salaam…
I didn’t know that it was possible for my heart to break so many times in one day. I wished that I had more time…just 1 more minute…
Just 1. More. Minute.
Ask someone in my shoes what the value of 1 minute is…1 minute was another hug…a kiss goodbye..one more look at his face..one more minute of his presence…
As I collapsed onto the floor…my hands reached for the little wooden box that he had left me and I opened it with a very heavy heart…it was empty except for one item only..
And once again, just like he unknowingly did all those years ago, he left me with a motivation, a courage, something to hold onto, something to give me a shred of hope…
In a small blue velvet box inside the wooden box was the same silver pendant and chain that had mistakenly gotten stuck onto my jersey once before…only now it had been placed in a silver circle with a single tiny diamond on it.
And as I rubbed my fingers over it, the words that were engraved on it reverberated inside my heart and soul yet again…
“Nasrun minallah wa fath-hun kareeb…”
I clutched onto it and cried my heart out yet again…holding onto this streak of light that had suddenly filtered into my dark and gloomy world…
I am alive! Sorry…yep shukr I am still alive, awol but not quite also…if that makes any sense..
I considered just stopping because I know you guys miss the posts and I know that it’s unfair to make you wait but I can’t just stop either. *sigh*
Please bare with me..my life is like ten circuses in one right now and I am extremely pressed for time so Insha Allah..I will post soon.
Hope you’re well. Remember me in your duas please:)