As narrated by Nemo:
Love. A four letter word with so many meanings, so many different feelings, so many different emotions- all attached to just one word, and all of them linked to your heart. A heart that doesn’t always understand- it just loves unconditionally.
I couldn’t help but think of Aara’s words on that fateful night where we almost lost her…
“When you love someone, un-romantically, more than me…that’s when I will believe that you ever loved me”
Even I didn’t think that it was possible. But the truth was that I did love someone, un-romantically more than her, way more than her. I loved Hana. She wasn’t my biological child, but she was my child, my aspiration, my everything.
And then Zoheb’s words at the airport in Istanbul, came tumbling back…
“Maybe that little girl will be yours!”
I smiled and held my hand to my heart. This heart…and I tapped my chest gently. Love has no colour, knows no creed, no lineage, no blood ties. Love is just love.
I thanked Allah everyday for my life, for Hana and for Aara. My life was filled with so much of energy that the once quiet and sort of depressed Nemo, disappeared. I wouldn’t say that the old me was back, no, that would be wrong, rather, I would say that a new me had grown from the ruins of my once broken heart and torn soul.
Aara kept to her word and didn’t restrict me from spending time with Hana, and I ofcourse, knew where to draw the line. We were never in each other’s face everyday but the contact remained and I was thankful for that. Sometimes, while we were all at the park, I’d be running behind Hana while Aara typed away on her laptop. This book had taken up almost all of her time, but the fact that it was keeping her so occupied was a relief for all of us.
It’s funny how she seemed to be evolving as she wrote it. I’ve known her for so long, it wasn’t hard to see it. She had regained that sparkle in her eyes, she had regained the vivaciousness that used to make her stand out. She was becoming herself again, and yet changing so much. A little stronger, a little wiser.
Aara saw to it that Hana knew who her father was, as she constantly spoke about Zoheb to her, and adorable Hana would listen wide eyed in awe. She was far too young to completely comprehend any of it, but as time went by, she would understand.
Life had surely changed alot in these past few years. Zainab and Arshad had welcomed another little guy into their lives, one year old Abu Bakr was absolutely adorable! I can’t believe that I just said that! And Zainab had changed so much that it was heartwarming to see both her and Arshad together every single time.
Maariah and Immy’s triplets- 2 girls and a boy were missed by all of us. Faatima, Humairah, Yusuf and Uthmaan were on the other side of the country, all the way down in Cape Town, where Immy had taken over a huge security company. Maariah though, was loving the change of scenery and never missed an opportunity to make us jealous with all the CT pics!
I smiled to myself. Maybe some thought that I was a loner and perhaps a few still felt sorry for me, but in my heart, I had never been happier. Yeah I did wish that things could be a little bit different but it was still all good.
Looking at the book infront of me, I was instantly reminded of the reason that I had sat down in solitude in the first place. The reason why I was thinking all these thoughts…
“You need to write something in here”, Aara ordered, as she shoved this book into my hand
“Why what is this?”
“I’m almost done with the book Nemo and I want you to write something in it please”
“Oh gosh like how Frodo gave Sam the book at the end for him to write the last page???”, I said, raising my eyebrow at her
Aara looked at me, slightly bewildered for a few seconds before she broke out into a fit of laughter and I couldn’t help but smile
“Well, the only difference being that Sam was cute”, she retorted, WHILE eating another Lindor
Did I mention that her Shrek kind of appetite was back too?
“Bleh..just write it please, honestly, truthfully and don’t hold back. I will take it from you after I have edited everything because I need no “influencers” if you know what I mean”
‘I know what you mean”, I said, giving her a thumbs up
That would have been her que to leave but her eyes were still moving around my kitchen as though she were looking for something…
“What do you want??”
“Ermmm”, she said, still looking….”Your mother sent you those coconut things last week did you eat all of it?”
I shook my head, and with the widest grin on my face I walked over to my fridge and pulled out my mom’s “coconut things”.
“Only two left? How could you eat so many so quickly??”, she asked in disbelief
“Ay hello”, I said, tapping her forehead, “you counted 20 of which you ate like 15 and add this two it’s blerry 17!”
“You shouldn’t count when you give people food it’s downright rude”, she said with a straight face
And after a mini lecture about sharing is caring, and how too much coconut is not good for me, while finishing off the remaining two might I add, she left, but called twice thereafter to remind me to write.
And so I began….
My eyes open each day with the hope that I will see you,
My hands reach out for your tiny fingers that heal every wound that I ever had,
Your infectious laugh, the way in which your eyes smile…
It is true when they say, there is no love like that of a child.
I was a broken man who nobody needed,
One who always looked in from the outside,
But you are the only one who has given me a name, a belonging that no one can snatch,
Because of you, my small world glows,
Because of you, I know no sorrow,
I worry for you and for your future,
I pray that your life is filled with every joy, I pray that your every sadness comes to me,
You hold my whole world within your tiny fists,
You are a shining star on the dark night sky.
Because of you, I’ve realised that standing in the rain for too long will do me no good,
You are my home, you are my heart,
My sunshine, my angel.
And when blue rain falls from the skies tonight, it will wash away all that was tainted,
It will nourish the cracks of pain embedded deep in the grounds of my heart,
Because on the rainbows that blue rain brings after it pours, is a new life, a new hope,
Just as flowers bloom after it rains,
Just as birds sing after it rains,
Just as life returns after it rains,
Reminding us that it won’t rain forever, it won’t be all tears forever,
For the sun will shine, with a name…
Zoheb and Aara’s baby…Naeem’s daughter.