On their soft, warm bed ,as she had woken in the same way for the past eight nights, tonight was no different.
Clutching at her tummy, Aara sat up with much difficulty, her forehead lined with beads of perspiration. It was the same dream again… As she heaved in despair, her hand lingered towards the sleeping form next to her and she shook him out of his slumber.
Nemo , being a light sleeper, was up in a few seconds rubbing her back and hugging her reassuringly..
“Was it the same dream again?”, he asked, his voice filled with concern
She nodded slowly and took another sip from the water bottle that he held for her.
Holding her hands, he said the words that she dreaded…”I think it’s time sweetheart”
Bewildered and aghast, her eyes widened as she faced a prospect that she never thought she ever would…
The entire Moolla household was already well acquainted with Aara’s nightmares and to offer their support, Nuzayh and A.K Moolla joined Nemo and Aara as she awaited her fate.
“It will be okay trust me it’s not bad at all”, Uncle A.K said reassuringly while Nuzayh and Nemo glanced at each other. They knew their father way too well! This was like a walk in the park for him!
Aara bit her lip and held Nemo’s hand a little tighter as the smell of it wafted from the kitchen all the way through to the dining room. Zameera Moolla set the bowl in front of her heavily pregnant daughter in law with the warmest smile on her face and her husband’s eyes immediately lit up!
Nemo gulped, looking at the contents of the large bowl in front of all of them and then at his father who hurriedly began dishing it out onto all of their plates.
“Dad” , he said, turning his nose up at him and then forced a smile once Aara looked in his direction. With a queasy shiver, he took a piece in his hand along with his brother and all the while Aara did the same, while being coaxed by his parents.
“It’s heavenly”, A.K. Moolla said to his wife as he took the first bite while the other three stared at him wide eyed. Aara couldn’t understand why her mouth watered and why she craved THIS particular dish so very much that she even dreamed about it…and finally on the count of three along with Nemo and Nuzayh, she took a small bite.
“Ewwwww” , Nuzayh said within seconds of eating it and spat it out into a serviette, “like really you couldn’t dream of lasagne or biryani dude” , he laughed, ” you go and dream of paaya!” Nemo expressed the same sentiments but managed to swallow his mouth full and gulped down almost half a litre of water!
But lo and behold….
“Mmmmm”, Aara moaned” this is so good!”
“See I told you”, Uncle A.K. smiled,” these idiots don’t know what they are missing out on..More for us!’
“I’ve never eaten this in my life Papa and had I known that it was this delicious I would have eaten it sooner”, Aara said while licking her fingers and then proceeded to dish out more onto her plate.
“You have really weird pregnancy cravings A”, Nuzayh laughed, ” oranges dipped in Nutella, chicken subs with chocolate icing, coffee in a bowl with freaking fried jalapenos but this tops the lot”
Aara rolled her eyes at him and savored another bite…
“I’m all for being the supportive brother in law but yoh I may need to go for therapy once my niece or nephew is born”. Nemo laughed aloud at that statement although every word was true. Nuzayh had been with them through every single pregnancy craving and he even fried the jalapenos when Nemo had to fetch Hana from school!
But Aara ignored him and ate to her hearts content! She was almost there… Possibly just a few more days now. She couldn’t handle the Durban heat much ,being habituated to the softer,more gentle climate of the Eastern Cape which had been their home for five short years. And how she missed it.
And she slurped on yet another marrow, a thing she had never done in her life before, much to Nemo’s surprise. Nothing seemed to bother her, not even the gravy trickling down the side of her lip! He hadn’t seen her this content since…last week when she savagely devoured a large Steaknetto pizza all by herself! She was so cute and she was his.
After a fulfilling lunch, Nemo walked her to their wing of his father’s house and settled next to her on the couch.
“I can’t believe that you ate paaya!”
“Nor can I”, she laughed, “but I am having it for supper for sure”
Putting his arm around her ,he began drawing circles on her tummy with his free hand, an act that recently made her fall asleep like a baby.
As she dozed off against him, he held her a little closer and gazed at her face. The one woman who he had always loved, right next to him,in his arms. It wasn’t always like this. In the very beginning of their marriage, it was awkward, as though they were not lifelong friends but as though they had just met. They slept in the same bed but he would only get to secretly hold her hand when she was fast asleep. She was nervous around him and it was hard to digest at first.
It wasn’t easy for her, that he knew and he had big shoes to fill. Riza would always tell him that he shouldn’t raise a comparison because he was his own person and that everyone was unique in their own way, yet still he struggled, unknown to the fact that his very almost perfect behavior was beginning to alienate her from him. And one day, she exploded. Heated words were exchanged, tears were shed and then…and then all resistance crumbled.
In anger and frustration, love and hope, a new love blossomed. Their love ,and it has been so ever since.
Nemo treasured every moment spent with Aara because he knew what it was to lose her and he knew that life was way too short.
And as he dozed off with her, he made a silent Dua to be with her like this for many more years to come…
Meanwhile, a few hundred kilometers away, Laeeka and Zainab, in their respective houses, juggled around their children to check last minute things before they headed off to the airport.
“I’m so glad we aren’t driving”, Laeeka said ,” These boys will drive me nuts!”
Isa and Yayha, along with Adnaan were twelve years old, not exactly kids and not yet teenagers. While Adnaan was soft spoken, quiet and very much like his father, his cousins Isa and Yahya were the complete opposite! Both the boys had definitely taken after Riza! Seven year old AbdurRahman was also a little terror, very much like Zainab’s six year old Abu Bakr!
“It’s okay Nemo will sort them out”, Riza chuckled
“I hope that he’s calmed down since the last time”, Laeeka grinned ,” although I highly doubt it”
“You think so?”
“Well”, Laeeka chuckled as she buttoned AbdurRahman’s jacket ,” Aara said that Hana asked him who Justin Bieber was and Nemo showed her Chuck Norris’s picture so you do the math”…
I can’t believe that it’s been SO long! My fingers were actually shaking when I logged on…#nostalgia
While I am so sorry for going awol on you guys, I can’t help but think that perhaps the timing is actually right. It just feels so weird to write again *hide*
Okay so, Part 1 of I’m thinking maybe 6…I have written 3 parts already and I will Insha Allah edit them as I can, but don’t worry, that should be in a week at most not another 6 months *cringe* A lot has happened, life has changed (but life changes every day right) but it’s been all good shukr to Allah
It’s so amazing to see the hit count increasing on a daily basis! I’ve just checked my stats and WOW! So thanks so much…I hope that the epilogue gives you a decent insight into their lives five years later. I am tampering with my writing style a little so please bare with me:)
I would like to dedicate this post to F.K and K.K, I miss both of you so so so so so much *tight hugs*
Thanks for being so patient with me, it’s truly amazing the way this has all panned out but I owe you a nice long proper author’s note hopefully at the end of it all..
Until next time Insha Allah
PS: I don’t eat paaya (trotters) at all :-p