As narrated by Aara:
I watched through my bedroom window, this simple act of nature. The cold winter’s wind sweeping up dry leaves and tossing it around our barren front yard. A once lush green lawn, now dry and bare. The flowers had withered away, draining all the colour from our beautiful, landscaped garden.
Even in its emptiness, it echoed beauty…
“Look for beauty in everything…”, Zoheb smiled as he watched me stare out of the window
“So what beauty were you looking at before you met me?”, I asked sarcastically
” I imagined you in little things.. Often wondering how your hair looked when tussled by the wind or the kind of footprints that you left behind on a seashore… I would wonder what if I had passed you by while wondering if I had passed you by… “, he winked
My heart fluttered…but I still persisted to annoy him
” So that means you were looking? “, I said with an exaggeratedly raised eyebrow that would have given Everest a run for it’s money
“Don’t spoil it”, he growled playfully
” But then you’d find beauty in that too, wouldn’t you? “
And the grin on my face was soon wiped off by a small round scatter cushion that came flying at me!
I lifted my hands, half expecting to catch it in time when reality sunk in again…and with reality came realisation
Only this time, I surprised myself. I didn’t fall into a pit of despair, instead, I smiled and revelled in that short memory. He was always with me…
Winter was a cleansing of sorts wasn’t it…
Making way for new blossoms, for tiny new leaves to line the now dried branches of towering trees, to allow old and new flocks of animal life to return to sort of newly revamped homes. The dry, cracked earth would once again be soaked by showers of blessings, the sun would seek not to burn but rather to caress, to warm.
And I smiled, marveling at the wonders of my Creator…if there was no Winter, then how would we appreciate Spring?It was a test of faith. A hope that we had in our Lord that better days would come..
Life was like that too. There had to be seasons. This was not our final destination, this was not our Jannah, this was our test. Everything wasn’t meant to be perfect here, how could it be?
I slid our scrapbook into my bag, taking in a final glance at our bedroom. Nervous and excited at the same time, I ran my fingers across the silver pendent that dangled from the chain around my neck…
As I walked slowly down the staircase, my mind wandered off to Zainab. No one saw it coming, not even me. But in my heart I knew that she would be okay. What Nemo had planned was never really going to work in the first place because this was reality, not a movie, yet she still pulled a solid three months before she acknowledged what was missing in her life. I felt so bad for Adnaan because he missed his mother dearly but except for a short note that she had left behind and a promise to return, she was gone… without a trace.
Some things are beyond our control no matter how hard we try to hold on to it. And sometimes, we don’t need anyone else to tell us what to do, we need to find it for ourselves, because when we do..then that’s when we find ourselves. Everyone is different, their ways are different, their goals are different and their destinations are different.
And sometimes we can’t even see past everyone else’s ideas and ideals and forget that we have an obligation to ourselves as well. People may mean well, but it doesn’t always mean that their way is right.
Life has truly been overwhelming over the past year, but we survived and we even got to witness a miracle in the form of a glowing Laeeka with a protruding belly:) Miracles do happen…and they happen everyday, we’re just too caught up in our lives, in our grief, in our happiness to sit down and take notice of it.
“Can I still not change your mind?”, a very disheveled looking Nemo asked me when I reached the bottom of the staircase
“Nope…I really need to do this”, I said for the five millionth time in the past three months
He looked agitated and ran his fingers through his hair atleast ten times in the last 30 seconds.
“Do you need a comb or something?”, I grinned
“Don’t go Aara…”, he pleaded
“I’m not changing my mind, I know why I’m going and really I’ll be fine, Sahal and Kauthar will be with me too”, I sighed
“But what if they…”
“Naeem Moolla you promised me, remember? Now please, do what you need to do and let me do what I need to do okay”, I said firmly
“What did I do now?”, he questioned
Nemo had been trying to talk me out of going to New Zealand for a while now, but it wasn’t going to hold me back. I made a conscious decision three months ago and during these three months I have learnt SO much and to me it feels like a sign that what I am doing is right. My parents weren’t happy either but my mind was made up.
It was now or never.
” Let me come with you.. ”
I looked up at Nemo and tried to find another reason to find a fault in him, but I couldn’t. I had my own reasons , no matter how ridiculous at times, for being the way that I was with him yet he has been my silent and strongest supporter over all these months. Zoheb often told me that a little bit of Nemo would follow me wherever I went and sometimes when I least expected it.. I would look over my shoulder and see a Nemo and Aara building a sandcastle, riding a swing, throwing coins into a wishing well, icing cupcakes with my mother, sliding down balustrades..
I didn’t hate him. I could never hate him. But I couldn’t allow him to waste his life behind us either.
“Samoosa runs okay “, I smiled
He didn’t answer and looked down instead.
I made salaam and began walking away slowly, when I stopped and turned around…
” And Nemo.. “, I whispered, ” thank you.. I couldn’t have done this without you, you helped me become a little stronger and you’ve reminded me in many ways how to live again.. No matter where we go or what turn our lives take.. You will always be my best friend and you will always be Hana’s papa”
Soft, silent tears fell from his eyes as something sealed shut deep inside our pasts.
The unseen debt had been repaid even though I never saw it in that way, but I knew that somewhere inside him it ate at him.. until now.
He tried hard after Zoheb passed away to help me like I had helped him and I never acknowledged it. Pride, ego, frustration.. All of these vices had etched themselves like cataracts in my eyes, but no more.
Today, I was standing where he once stood and we had both made it.
Some ties go beyond blood relations, they fly across the horizons of worldly shackles and don’t land anywhere.
They are the silver lining on clouds, they are the rainbows after a storm.
Salaams and a belated Eid Mubarak to all of you.. 💞
I know that I have been insanely awol and I apologize for that… No promises though.. Life is too hectic at the moment
This post is dedicated to both the Sumaiyah Jamal’s.. Lol you both know why 🙈
Much love until the next post 🎀🍩🍰