Part 299- The Epilogue Part 4

As narrated by Aara:

“I know this place”, I said to myself as I lingered further into this bright meadow. I know that I had been here before, many years ago, in my dreams. I was one of those people who had vivid dreams and there were many times in my life when I had the same dream a few times, or had been to the same place in my dreams with different scenarios. I also knew that I had a hyperactive imagination, but sometimes, some things are better left unexplained.

After Zoheb had passed away, I had often visited this place in my dreams. I had often sat with him on this soft green grass, often rested my head on his strong shoulders, and I spoke to him for what seemed like hours on end. I accredited this to my longing for him, I would replay different scenarios with him in my head, relive memories and pretend that everything was okay during the day. So naturally, my mind would contort the events of the day into a dream at night. That would be the logical explanation. And that was fine with me. It meant that I had something to hold onto and when night would pass without a dream, the next day would be miserable. I would pray earnestly to travel to those daffodil filled meadows again, to speak to him again, to be with him again. But the mind is a strange thing, I would sometimes end up dreaming of the darndest things!

But it would happen, suddenly, out of the blue, once every few days, sometimes weeks, sometimes months and it would fill me with so much of happiness. It’s been years since I’ve been here though. The last time was a few days before Nemo and I got married, and then it was such a strange dream. He was standing with a bunch of yellow daffodils in his hand and a bunch of pink roses. And when I had reached out for the daffodils, he handed me the roses instead, with the biggest, most endearing dimpled smile on his face.

I walked on, barefoot, my long green dress sweeping up tiny speckles of glitter from the ground. It was beautiful. Tall trees lined a massive meadow of yellow daffodils that seemed to sparkle under the sunlight. And with every flutter of the wind, glitter seemed to lift off the ground, spin themselves off the petals of those daffodils, it was a sight hard to explain, because words wouldn’t be able to do justice to it.

The sound of gentle laughter could be heard in the wind, drawing me towards it… towards the source of it. And I eagerly rushed in that direction…

Hana…My darling Hana dressed in a pretty blue dress with a sparkling diamond headband on her jet black hair had her hand in Zoheb’s while he playfully twirled her around in circles around him. And in his other hand, he carried a baby who seemed to be a few months old, dressed identically to Hana, and she giggled gleefully with every twirl and swish! And as he moved, glitter rose from the ground in small soft circles around them. The sight itself…was beyond enchanting.

Zoheb smiled at the children and blew them kisses in the air and it seemed as though they were oblivious to me standing right there watching them until he lifted his eyes and smiled at me..

“Aara…”

I opened my mouth to say something but no words would come out…

” Tell Naeem… Yusra’s name is just perfect”

I frowned in confusion…who’s Yusra??

Zoheb chuckled softly and kissed the baby on her forehead…

“He knows” , he smiled, blinked his eyes at me and carried on playing with the children

And just as suddenly as I had gotten there, I started moving out in reverse until my eyes shot wide open in my bed. It took a few seconds for me to register my surroundings as I tried to sit up.

My room, mum’s house. That was a dream. A very vivid dream. Zoheb and Hana… Who was the baby? I peeped over into the crib right next to me and stared at my four day old daughter, my heart swelling with love with every passing second. She was so adorably perfect and so perfectly fast asleep.

” What are we going to call you”, I sighed, and touched her soft brown locks

With little difficulty, I changed out of my pyjamas into a long comfortable dress. My mother was going to have a fit! She would insist that I just go from pyjama to pyjama after every bath and I got it, I mean, I did give birth a few days ago but being permanently in pyjamas made me feel unnecessarily sleepy and cranky, so this change was quite welcoming.

“Zai I need a favor please”, I said into my phone and in a few minutes Zainab and Maariah were upstairs in my room. “I won’t be long, she’s had her feed but if she wakes up phone me please and I’ll come back as fast as I can”

“There’s not too much of a walk for you Madam”, Mari grinned, ” we’ve all been there, we know who you were missing so we already asked him to wait in Sahal’s room for you”

“Well played”, I grinned, as my cheeks turned pink in agreement, “I’l be right back”

And so I made my way down the passage, slowly and carefully, unable to fully understand why I suddenly felt nervous and excited. The truth be told, the only time that I was alone with Nemo since the baby was born was when I was fast asleep and he sat at my bedside! It was a weird feeling, but a good kind of weird.

“Are you okay?”

I looked up at Nemo, and at the lines of worry that stretched across his forehead.

“I’m okay”, I smiled, “I just wanted to see you”

And like a teenager, I blushed and looked down and then up at him again. He reciprocated with an endearing smile and pulled me in for a hug, careful not to squish and squash but just enough for me to feel his heart thudding against his chest.

“What’s wrong?”, I frowned, “your heart feels as though it’s going to jump right out at me”

At this, he chuckled and planted a kiss on my forehead, ” Haven’t hugged you like this in days sweetheart”

I leaned back in and rested my head against his chest..” Have you thought of a name for baby yet?”

I felt his muscles tense up slightly and I held onto his arms a little harder..”what’s wrong Nemo?”, I asked again

“Nothing”, he said, kissing the top of my head now, “and baby’s name is entirely up to you, you’ve carried her, went through all the aches and pains and even ate paaya for her, so it’s your right babe not mine”

I sighed into his blue t-shirt and decided to test the waters…” Yusra”

At the mere mention of that name, he stiffened again and then started laughing. ” Riza can’t keep anything in his stomach!”

“Who said that Riza told me?” I said, raising an eyebrow at him playfully, ” who else did you tell besides me?”

Nemo seemed to have drifted off into an old memory for a few seconds and then a big beautiful smile replaced the previous look on his face” Once, long ago, when us guys were talking, I think it was when Zainab and Maariah were expecting their first kids, before I moved to Detroit, and the topic of baby names had come up”

“You mean guys also discuss baby names??”

“Don’t be so shocked”, he laughed, ” we probably discuss much more than you ladies do”

” So as I was saying”, he continued, “Arshad was so convinced that he was going to have a daughter so he was busy searching for names ,so basically everyone started giving their personal input. I can’t remember what the others were but the day that Hana was born and Zoheb sent me her picture, I knew that she would be “Hana” before you guys officially named her….that was Zoheb’s choice that day”

“And yours was Yusra…”

Nemo shrugged. ” I guess I felt that if I had to have a daughter, Yusra would be perfect because Yusra means ease and it would be an ultimate life changer, a reward. But from the day that Hana came into my life, I already have that reward, she was my life changer, my peace , my ease… Everything else is just the cherry on the top”

I could hear my heart say awwww and I hugged him again..

“So Yusra is our *ease” then isn’t she”, I smiled

Nemo looked at me for a few seconds and I knew, I just knew that something was bothering him and he wasn’t saying it, so I wrapped my fingers around his and silently asked him to tell me…

“I feel like I’m living a borrowed life”, he said finally, ” I have no right to this much happiness after all the shit I’ve done, I feel like it’s going to burst any moment now and I’m going to wake up in that awful room in my father’s house and realize that I’m having the longest bloody dream ever”

I gasped in shock!!

” I feel like I’m going to wake up and you’re going to be gone, I feel like I’m going to turn in my sleep and wake up to an empty bed… I feel like I’m going to wake up realizing that I’ve only dreamed of touching you and feeling your heartbeat against mine”

I closed my eyes as tears fell from his…

” I feel like my Hana won’t call me Papa anymore and this new little angel is a figment of my imagination..I’m so afraid Aara, I’m so afraid that everything is just going to end”

“After 5 years too?”

“We both know how the first two years of our marriage was”, he whispered as he held my hand and looked down, “I know that if you had a physical choice, if things were different, I wouldn’t be standing here and it’s okay, it’s really okay I have no problem being second best but sometimes I think and I probably have no right to think it that…”

“That if I had a choice again, would I choose you?”, I asked, completing his sentence. I knew what this was..it was not insecurity nor was it jealousy. Nemo didn’t know how to handle this much happiness, not as a child, not as he grew, even after we had gotten married he had tried to make everything so perfect that it nearly broke us.

Nemo’s eyes filled with guilt and he looked down and gulped hard.

“No…”, He whispered

“I chose you”, I whispered back, ” and if I had to choose today, after everything then…”

He looked at me expectantly and I smiled as tears fell from my eyes and while raising my hand to his face, I noticed a tiny speck of glitter on my index finger, my smile broadened and my tears fell harder…

“Zoheb was a beautiful page from my past. A page that was necessary and one that I can never and will never rip out. If it wasn’t for this page in my life, this story would have ended long ago and it would never have been what it is”

“I know and I can never imagine our lives without Zoheb having been a part of it… it’s something that I wouldn’t change either and I’m not upset or anything”, he pleaded, holding my hands tightly in his

“I love you…”, I whispered, “Allah Ta’ala has given us the ability to love many times, He has given our hearts the strength to open its doors more than one time, don’t you think that He would do justice with us when that day comes? And Allah knows Naeem Moolla, for the man that you have become, I would choose you a million times over and over and over again”

Nemo looked up at me in shock, as if he had just awoken from a trance!

I rubbed my nose against his and kissed his lips softly. “You are my happy place Naeem Moolla, until the day that I die and hopefully even after that”

Nemo engulfed me in the tightest of hugs until he realised that my insides were still quite sore and as payback he carried me back to the room where our baby lay fast asleep.

I was truly so lucky, so blessed, so at peace. Nemo and I had evolved in our marriage and relationship, and life was never quite the same again- it just got better and better.

Some things are best left unknown, and some things just cannot be explained, for He knows, and He sees and He is the greatest of planners, the Giver of Life, the Creator of Love, the Master of Destiny- Allah the most High, Most Merciful.

From what we were to what we became, is proof that there surely is hope, there surely is a chance. Never give up, ever, because that turning point could be right around the next corner….

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Part 298- The Epilogue Part3

As narrated by Nemo:

After a very long time, I have no words. Perhaps because no amount of words would do justice to the feelings that surged through my veins right now. Which words would I use as I placed my hand on the nursery window and gazed at both my daughters in complete awe. Perfect. This was perfect.

Hana was all smiles as the nurse placed her new little sister into her arms, and the little one looked very content and comfortable. My girls. My daughters. A lump formed in my throat as I continued watching them and a Dua escaped my heart for them to always be happy, healthy and most importantly, to be together. A Dua of thanks and gratitude to my Creator for this amazing moment, for this amazing life, for this second chance, for everything. I will never ever be able to thank Him enough. Ever.

“The feeling is on another level when they’re just born” , Arshad said next to me

“I can’t explain it bro…It’s beyond surreal!! I mean look at the two of them” , I said in awe

“I wish I had a daughter”, Arshad sighed

Well I know how it felt to have a daughter and now I was blessed with two..So I could understand why he’d say that. And besides, his boys were plain down annoying.

“But it’s okay, Hana will get married to Adnaan and maybe the new one to AbuBakr one day and then I’ll have my daughters”, he had the audacity to say

“Hmph”, I sniggered, “maybe someone else bro…My daughter ain’t marrying your fat lightie”

Instead of getting annoyed Arshad laughed and I was the one who ended up being annoyed! Adnaan was really, as Aara had once called him, a Doublu Pabloo and my Hana was way too precious for him and besides she was only 9 years old there was atleast 30-40 years left before it would be time to get her married right? Right.

Besides…imagine having Zainab as a mother in law???

“So”, Immy said as he also stood next to us and stared into the nursery window,”have you thought of a name for this angel?”

I did and I had told them long ago but I doubt that any of them remembered.

“You told us a long time ago”, Arshoo said suddenly and he stroked his beard trying to pick his brain to find that name..

Please don’t remember. Please don’t remember…

“Yusra”, Riza said , “You always said that you’d name your daughter Yusra”

This man probably eats badaam in all ten of his daily meals because he forgets nothing!

“It was such a long time ago Reez”, I sighed

“Never mind you can still tell her”

I shook my head and smiled towards my daughters again, ” It is Aara’s right first because she carried the baby and went through all the trouble during these nine months”. And I meant that, it was her right first.

“That is true”, Riza said, ” but that’s the way it’s always going to be, ain’t no man giving birth EVER to have that first choice as you put it” , making all of us laugh

“I know but…”, I shrugged

“Gosh she has you wrapped around her little finger as always”, Immy laughed

That was one thing that I could never dispute. No matter how many turns our relationship took throughout our lives, she always had me wrapped around her little finger in some way or another, and just the thought of it made my heart skip a beat.

I looked through the nursery window again, and noticed that Maa and my mother were in there with Hana and…Yusra. She looked like she could be a Yusra . It was such a beautiful name. But I’d still allow Aara to choose..

And the four of us slipped into a comfortable silence yet again, as we smiled at the sight in the nursery. A decade ago, I’d never have imagined any of us being this way!

“Our long awaited precious doll has finally arrived”, Nuzayh said excitedly, as he made his way towards us, his face beaming with pride and his hands full of gifts

“I know I could have given them to you guys at home but I was so excited! My boys are so big we needed a new baby around, better not stop now Nemo just keep them coming”, he said in one breath and I mentally face-palmed myself!

And whenever my big brother would shock me like this , I sometimes wondered if I liked the bad Nuzayh better or the good Nuzayh better??

“Here this is for you “,he grinned, handing me a hand carved cherry-wood box

“I get a present too?”

“Of course…Cigars are mandatory”, and he proceeded to hand them out to all the guys

I wanted to laugh, scream, hug him and chase him away at the same time!!!

“How come Dad’s not here?”

Because my father was Aara’s bestie especially when it came to her weird cravings, so his absence meant that he was either not well or really very busy at work.

“He’s busy feeding the kids at the orphanage, he bought all of them new clothes and toys…All his way of saying thanks to Allah for our newest blessing”, Nuzayh smiled

My heart was really about to burst! Were we really this lucky, this blessed?

From all sides, goodness was just pouring in…. Zoheb’s parents were down as well, his father was talking to Aara while his mother was busy helping Sahal’s wife at home. They had come all the way from New Zealand just to be here with us, saying that they had missed all of this with Zoheb, they didn’t want to miss it with us and it meant the world to us. Aara didn’t know that they were coming and she was so emotional when she saw them. Their relationship has just grown from strength to strength over the years.

I closed my eyes and allowed myself to feel the bliss that I was surrounded with. It pulsed through my veins faster than adrenalin and soaked into my soul like seeds attaching themselves to the wet earth.

The rewards for patience truly is the sweetest fruit on earth!

Before The Poll…

Hah you thought this was a post right? Lol..sorry I’m having one of those days where I feel as though if I shake my head I may just hear a few loose bolts moving around inside..

Okay so, I would like to run a poll soon and I need your help. As you all know, this blog is almost over and I would just like to give you guys a chance to have a say in something pivotal.

Nemo and Aara are about to have their baby – but what baby is it I have no idea yet…

So what baby do you think it will be? Girl or Boy..and more importantly what should the munchkins name be?

So this is what we’re going to do…you comment girl or boy and any name of your choice. Once this is done, depending on the response, I will run a poll where you can vote for the most loved choice and name. Easy enough?

Facebook readers you guys can comment on the comments section of this post when it appears on Fb because I can’t leave you out okay:)

Right..back to the grind it is:) Have an awesome evening ahead!

Salaams

Shazia

Part 297- The Epilogue (Part 2)

As narrated by Aara

Happily ever after. And as we have obviously and ultimately come to understand ,that there is no such thing in this temporary world.

But there is happiness, and sometimes intense bouts of it. In the smallest, most simplest of things..Like in Hana’s dimpled smile, a fleeting memory of Zoheb, Laeeka’s peppermint cake, Zainab’s motivating words, Maariah’s half a dozen children, Riza’s slurping at every single meal, Arshad’s not so funny jokes, Immy’s contentment every time he looked at his family and Nemo’s affection towards Hana. And these simple things, gestures, and moments make that feeling of happiness priceless.

Getting married for the second time, especially when it’s not because the first marriage ended in divorce, isn’t as easy as it looks and I didn’t think that I had it in me to actually go through with it. But looking back, it’s the best thing that I could have done. For all of us.

It was hard in the beginning, when you have gone through living with someone else already, when you have already experienced those early morning smiles, a cup of coffee made for you by him, when you have already bumped into someone else in a mad dash to the bathroom that you both share, when there had already been another toothbrush next to yours, when you had already fallen asleep besides someone else before him, when there is no expectation and yet there is. It was no cake walk. We really did struggle and after much contemplation, we decided to take the plunge and that plunge meant that Nemo would have to take up a job offer far away from home.

And it proved to be one of the best decisions of our lives yet!

For amongst the tall, widespread mountains, gusts of pure, fresh air , we found ourselves again, we rediscovered ourselves on a level that was so honest, so pure, our eyes were opened to the beauty of our Creator and of our Deen. We became more and more inclined to what our real purpose was on this earth, we became better Muslims, and under the influence of these beautiful changes, our friendship thrived, our marriage thrived and a new love blossomed. Love truly can happen over and over again, for there are different kinds of love and when we realise and understand that we should love Allah the most and first, loving another ,for his pleasure, becomes so easy and in that love He places so much of goodness, so much of blessings.

My heart broke a million times every day since we had moved back to Durban…for I missed it, I missed home. I felt as though, if I had to forward my hand into the air, I would be able to feel the snowflakes melt on my fingers, as though I’d be able to marvel once again at the hundreds of peach trees in full blossom, as though I’d be able to inhale the soulful aroma of a rain-soaked piece of earth hundreds of meters above sea level, untainted, unpolluted…pristine..

But our parents were aging and longed to have us close to them so here we were, lock stock and barrel. The barrel being my huge tummy ofcourse!

So much had changed over the years but the smallest things remained intact.

I guess that everything and every little step is a learning experience.

“That’s alot of icing…”

I snapped out of my chain of thought and looked up into Zainab’s face and then back at the cupcake that I was icing and oh my gosh….

“It’s enough for an entire cake”, she grinned,’are you okay?”

“I’m fine”, I sighed, “lost in my mountain dreams again”

“I didn’t realize that it was this bad”, she laughed and that caught my attention..

“So he’s been complaining?”

“Not complaining but yeah he’s mentioned it” , she admitted

All our friends were in Durban with their kids and were staying with us for the next few days to welcome our new baby who seemed to be prolonging his or her arrival by a few days already. We…now lived in Nemo’s father’s house. We had our own extended wing and I honestly didn’t want to break Uncle A.K’s heart when he asked us to move there so here we were. Joint family living wasn’t quite my thing, but it’s actually turning out to be quite awesome I have to admit.

“When I had gone off to Madressa all those years ago,it took me a long while to adjust back to normality..”, Zainab said softly, ” so if it’s any consolation I know somewhat how you feel and once again, I’m always here if you ever need to talk”

I put the piping bag down and looked at Zainab. It’s not like I was depressed or stressed or unhappy or anything of the sort, I just couldn’t put my finger on the exact spot of the “disturbance”, if I could call it that. Maybe Nemo was right, I need to accept the move and let it go. It was the phase of our lives that was probably there to heal us and now it was back to the grind and back to the tests.

You see, life was simple on that side. People expected very little of you and in a good way. It was as though you were at peace, you were one with your soul and you were in sync with every beat of your heart. There were so few distractions, no malls, no fast city life, no halaal take aways, no entertainment and in the beginning I almost died of boredom but when my focus shifted , I had virtually no time on my hands, yet everything and more would get done in a day. On this side, it was so different yet this is where we grew up. It was as if you belonged and didn’t belong at the same time. To gain balance seemed impossible and I was stumbling every day.

Zainab listened intently and then smiled her million dollar smile.

“It’s because you’ve changed, your focus has shifted, you’ve grown and become a better version of yourself and that’s nothing to be afraid of”

Did I mention that Zainab had become a life coach? I didn’t. Well, she became a life coach!

“Isn’t this world just a test? And all these tests will come as they are meant to. Do what is right and you will never go wrong”

Haha!

I chuckled and hugged her. “You have no idea how much I needed that..JazakAllah Hu Khairan”

She whispered an Ameen and I could feel her smile while hugging me . I knew where that was coming from. It was the change, the shift in focus, the new closeness that I had felt towards my religion, what I had learnt and brought with me from those snow covered mountains . It was a life cycle, it was a new me.

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As narrated by Riza:

“Arshad your lighty is constantly behind my daughter!”, Nemo moaned for the hundredth time today

” She’s 9 years old Nemo” , I mumbled

“9 is as good as 19!”

I laughed and shook my head. When Hana turns 19, I feel sorry for her. Nemo would probably hire a few female Chinese assassin type bodyguards for her. Heck he’d probably make his son in law stay with them also!

” Look at how he’s throwing the ball to her!”, he moaned again

“That’s because they’re playing you idiot! Gosh you are so mental!”, Arshad laughed

Nemo sniggered irritably and still watched the kids like a hawk. Poor Adnaan, he was such a friendly little boy and surprisingly enough, Nemo’s “mental” behavior as Arshoo put it, didn’t seem to bother him at all.

“Hey hey get back! “, he shouted from the porch

“Sorry, I was just trying to help Hana with her shoelaces”, Adnaan said apologetically

“I’ll tie it” and he was gone in a flash

I burst out laughing and Arshad scoffed under his breath.

“I saw that Arshoo…and I’m really sorry”, Aara said as she entered with a tray full of delicious dessert in her hands, ” he doesn’t mean to hurt you.. I doubt he even knows how bad it is”

Arshad waved it off and urged Aara to sit down.

“It’s me not a stranger Aaroo…I know how he is when it comes to Hana ”

I smiled at Aara as she sat all flushed in this Durban heat.

“Miss the weather too?”, I asked

” Terribly” she sighed

I had been to their place a few times and it was more cold than hot almost always, even the summers were not as bad as Durban so I get why she looked like she was sitting in an oven! That and the fact that she was due any day now but moved around like a Superwoman!

“So..it’s good to see you like this”, I smiled, “Nemo and Aara are expecting a baby”

A small smile crept up on her face and she nodded slowly

“You guys have come a long, long way”

“Yyyep” , she sighed, “and after he or she is fine and well, I need to come to Jhb because I haven’t been there in ages!”

“Your mad husband will keep you under bed rest for a whole year”, Arshoo laughed, while pointing at Nemo lining up all the boys on one side of the yard and making them do garden work instead of playing,” look at him he’s so crazy!”

And then we watched him wipe Hana’s face with his handkerchief and feed her water because her hands were dirty and my heart melted again. He had truly given this precious little girl the love of two fathers and sometimes in his ways and actions, certain mannerisms and words, I saw glimpses of Zoheb. Each person is different, but one thing was certain, he was a much better father than even I was. He would take out the time to teach her new things every day, read to her , do every single thing that he could do for her without letting her become arrogant or proud and I was so proud of him.

When Aara and Nemo got married , Hana was just about 4 years old, and even though Aara and Nemo were friends for so many years, it was awkward for them to redefine themselves in a brand new relationship. I remembered their wedding day very fondly…

They had made nikaah on the very same day that Aara had proposed to him! Returning home from the beach, they broke the news to everyone and needless to say, everyone was ecstatic! They didn’t want to delay saying that everyone who they cared about was there and so that evening,in a simple way, nikaah was done and their relationship changed.

Aara and Hana moved back to Jhb for a few months and before we knew it they were packing their bags again to move very far away from everything and everyone. I had a lump in my throat when I remembered how Nemo cried when he accepted her into his nikaah, it was so evident that he couldn’t believe that the girl who he silently loved for over a decade,was finally his.

That they had crossed so many hurdles to be together, not out of want or need and now five years later, I still can’t find the right word to describe it. It was not a romantic wedding with movie induced frills and decor, there was nothing fancy about it. It was not a typical hold your breath wedding of the year, it was a unique union of two souls who loved each other from the darkest and deepest depths of their own selves, through scars and wounded trails, through hardship and sacrifice, it was the union of two warriors who fought each other for each other’s well being, it was the union of two friends who respected each other and perhaps it would never be a swept-off-your-feet kind of love, but it was still love. And love has more colors than you can count.

“Did you read the documents yet?”, Arshad asked while sipping on his juice

“I browsed through them earlier on but I love it so far”,Aara smiled, still all flushed. I felt so sorry for her because anyone could see that this pregnancy was taking its toll on her ,” I can’t believe how much it’s grown in fact Nuzayh also wants to branch out here in Durban so we can extend the same help here”

Arshad’s eyes lit up along with mine. We also couldn’t believe how much this whole thing had grown. What began as a shelter for abandoned babies and toddlers, from Zoheb and Aara’s home under my and Arshad’s supervision, had extended its wings and also became a shelter for widows and the elderly.

With two sizable buildings in Jhb, a growing branch in the Transkei and now a branch in Cape Town,hence the documents, under Immy and Maariah’s supervision, to yet another one in Durban, meant the world and more to us.

“I never thought that we would have the time or the constant dedication for it “, Arshad said , “but Allah is the most merciful and look it’s already five years”

“It feels like a redemption of sorts, a cleansing, a way of repentance for the wrong that we did” ,I admitted, ” and it leaves me feeling like a million bucks every single time and that in itself is so amazing Alhamdulillah”

“I hope that the most reward goes to him “, Aara said softly, and we knew who she was talking about, “because he really was the game changer in all our lives”

And she was right. Zoheb had left an impression so deep, an imprint so strong, on all our hearts that so many years later, his legacy still lived on.

I sat back in my chair, remembering my friend and watching the spectacle in front of me. Our circle had expanded and was still expanding…it was so amazing listening to the sound of all our kids laughter, having them run around us like the crazy loons that they were! The next generation of us..it felt exhilarating actually, minus the fact that it meant that we were getting older, but we had come this far and despite all the ups and downs, despite all the heartbreak and sadness, despite everything…we have all had nothing short of…a beautiful, beautiful journey

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Okay so that was like two posts in one…very late but better late than never 🙂

Last ever LLD Poll coming up tomorrow InshaAllah..stay tuned…

Much Love,

Shazia

Part 296- The Epilogue (Part 1)- Five Years Later

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”…

—————————————————–
Assalaamualaikum!

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

Much Love,

Shazia

PS: I don’t eat paaya (trotters) at all :-p

Part 295- Finale (Part 2 of 2)-Samoosa Run

As narrated by Nemo:

I looked from Aara to Riza to Arshad in complete disbelief. I must have heard wrong, or so I had hoped.

“You guys are serious?”

Nobody answered but all of them had these unreadable, nervous looks on their faces!

“I told you that I don’t want to go for any more samoosa runs Aara come on, how many times have we been through this??”, I said as anger flared up inside me

“I know but one last one won’t kill you!”, she said quickly

Arshad put his hand to his head and shot her a look, before looking down again.

“Last one? Hah and then after a few weeks there will be more right?”

I pulled the tip of my nose in frustration. All of a sudden where the hell did this samoosa run come from! We were here in Durban for a nice weekend together,did they have to go and spoil it!

“Stop pulling your nose dammit it’s already so big what do you want to do make it the size of a gutter pipe now?”, She asked cheekily and Riza burst out laughing

“Gutter pipe?”, I asked wide eyed

“Stop being so dramatic will you, it’s not a matter of life or death!”, she said, rolling her eyes at me

“Right, I’m going inside”, Riza said as he squeezed my shoulders

I shrugged him off and looked at Arshad, who also, miraculously, had to go inside!

“Cowards!”, I shouted

“Don’t behave like a Banshee man just give it a shot”

“Gutter pipe Banshee?”, I asked, wanting to grab her by her shoulders and shake her

“Best one also” ,Aara winked, “please?”

“No man Aara really..we spoke about this many times before and you were cool with it!”, I pleaded,” I can’t go through with another one”

Aara sighed and threw a pebble into the pond we’d throw coins in as kids.

“You can’t rule out opportunities you know”

“Is this your new mission ever since you’re in Durban? Find Naeem a wife?”, I asked, slightly annoyed. Okay more than slightly, but what the hell man!

“Not really”, she said casually

What does not really mean!

“So this samoosa run is a joke or a random thing for you?”

“Of course not”, she said, looking down

“I don’t want any favors okay. I don’t need any favors. I thought we had crossed this bridge .I thought we had passed this damn pity crap! I’m perfectly fine on my own!”, I snapped

Maybe I was a bit too harsh…. but no, every time that I had gone to see a prospective bride I felt so guilty because I knew that I didn’t even have any excitement or anticipation in me and it was complete injustice to the girl who I would probably never love! Call it extreme if you must but I was okay being alone and in my eyes, it was just wrong to lead someone on.

While smoke emitted from my nose and ears, I failed to notice Aara, who was now also seething!

“You are so freaking annoying!”, she bellowed, “can’t you just listen for once!”

“The answer is going to be no, just so you know ,so you are totally wasting your time”, I shouted back

And with that she pushed me!

What is it with her and pushing me!

“Make an effort don’t you think??”, she said angrily

“I don’t want to!!!”

“Naeem I swear to God that I will never talk to you again!”

“Thank you!”

Aara looked at me for a few seconds, and started walking towards the house..”I don’t know why I even bothered!”

I kicked another stone in frustration…. Why does she do this!!??!???

“Fine I’ll go”, I mumbled

I am so positively sure that she must have had a smug grin on her face hearing that, before she turned around and faced me…”See that wasn’t so hard now was it”

“When and where?”, I asked, ignoring her question

“I’ll message you in the morning”, she smiled…and then proceeded to ignore me during supper

I was honestly so sick and tired of this and I knew that for as long as I was single, I’d be subjected to this every so often. Why do people class you for not being married????

I was not waiting for her morning message, in fact, I had hoped that she’d forget about it, but promptly after fajr lo and behold..the message of Aara

“North beach pier in an hour, join me for a jog”

I wished that I could put my hands through my phone and strangle her! Okay not strangle but you get my drift.

When I reached the pier, she was already there, facing the ocean, all alone. The sound of the waves crashing gently on this shore that we loved so much, the peace and tranquility of the early morning sunrise, the entire ambiance…calmed my heart and soul. I felt so at ease and so much at peace. Sometimes all we need, is to just step back and look around, take that deep breath in, and marvel at the beauty that Allah Ta’ala has placed all around us. We get so awfully engrossed in our lives that we fail to appreciate these bounties that are around us all of our lives…

I didn’t have the heart to disturb her so I stood a few feet behind her and took in my surroundings. And when Madam finally realised that I was running late and tried calling me-and well obviously my phone rang right behind her! Lol! She jumped in shock! Priceless!

“How long have you been standing there?”, she asked, still recovering from her mini shock

“Long enough to enjoy the same thing that you’re enjoying”, I grinned, forgetting for a second that I was actually mad at her

Aara looked down nervously as though she were gathering her thoughts and then just as suddenly, looked up

“Shall we?”

We had often jogged on the Golden Mile, many years ago and even though we were going forward, in my mind, it was as though we were running backwards into those years…

Aara loved running, and I knew why. The gentle thud with each step empowered you..the stretch ahead made you feel alive and free, the wind in your face reminded you that it was just you and no one else…the amazing feeling of being free was unbelievably awesome. These precious moments, away from the reality of our daily routines was simply unmatched.

She was silent for a good fifteen minutes, until she stopped and looked at me. Catching her breath and almost as though she was analyzing me..she then did something that I would never ever forget, although at that moment, it took a good few seconds for it to register…

With no words spoken, she reached into her small backpack and took out a container filled with…samoosas!

Tears filled up in her eyes as she finally looked up at me. Dumb as I was, I still didn’t get it. Surely there had to be a catch somewhere?

“My name is Aara Ismail and I may not have much to offer you…”

My heart literally stopped!

” There are many scars on my heart, and many wounds too…but my friendship and you, have always been there, inside it all”

She wiped away a few tears and took a deep breath in….

“I have grown to understand that there are different kinds of love in life, different stages of love, and while it is true that I did love you a long time ago, the admiration that stems from my heart for you at this moment, outshines even that”

I was completely awestruck and my eyes filled up with tears of joy and shock. I couldn’t believe that this was happening!

“This is not pity or anything of the sort, it’s not for Hana either because I know that you are there for her and you don’t need any relationship to justify your presence in her life….”, and she swallowed hard as more tears fell from her eyes…”this is not even for the who Aara you grew up with, not for our years of friendship, and no, Zoheb hasn’t left me any letter with an elaborate wish for me to settle down with you…this is for me..now…with all my faults, tantrums and breakdowns…this is for the realization that a story remains incomplete, one that began years ago…and it had to go in different directions else the value of it would never be felt”

She was right. Had it all been hunky dory all those years ago, I would never have appreciated her value in my life, and had life not taken her happiness from her, she would never have realised her own value or mine. The truth is, we had learned from each other, through each other – and we didn’t even know it.

I couldn’t help myself and burst out crying as I held on to her words…

” People may not see it, and even if they do, some may see it as convenience…but I don’t care, a part of me will always be incomplete without you…”, Aara cried..”Life has taken much from both of us, but it has taught us a lot too. We were blessed with many wonderful people, the best of whom was Zoheb…destiny’s card…”

Bittersweet are the tears of the heart, when it remembers the one who it loved so dearly….But our Maker has given us more strength than we admit…more resilience than we understand, until the sun shines on it one fine day when we open our always closed eyes. Closed to reality, closed to realization.

“And I have this strong desire in my heart to change my life and I can’t do it alone…There’s so much to do Nemo..There’s a world that we haven’t seen yet , a world that was there from the beginning. Our true calling…to be better muslims, to be better human beings, to do things in the right way… Until yesterday, I wasn’t sure if what I wanted to do was right, but when you handed me that bunch of Zoheb’s daffodils, I knew that I wasn’t wrong. I knew that you would always respect his memory and his place in my heart and he was right, he would always say that our lives were joined, we were connected by fate and that we didn’t understand it then but we would one day…”

And my mind momentarily went back to their wedding day when Aara wrote our names on the sand, with a heart around our three names in particular…

“Life is not a fairytale, and who would know this better than us?”, she said, as she wiped away a tear, “but life is not life without you either…we’ve been together for so many years…Will you spend the rest of my life with me too?”

My bruised heart cried tears of relief..I knew what she was saying, I knew what she meant, because I had felt it too. We had passed the stage of young love, we had understood that love and romance wasn’t everything- we were a part of a greater cause. We had learned that love wasn’t soppy movies and red roses, nor was it fancy weddings and parties. Love was a tree inside our heart, that weathered the roughest of storms. Love was in silent companionship. Love was that gentle wind that swept and picked up pieces of its beloveds broken heart and kept it with it safely. Love was a tender smile that hid deep lines of pain and anguish. Love was being there, unconditionally, without any expectations. Love was Allah, loving was for his sake. To live the life that He had given us, within the boundaries of his commands. And when that bond becomes halaal, the love that is placed in it by Him is one that we would have never felt before. For He knows our pain, He has heard our tears fall, He has tested us, He has rewarded us and He will give us the courage to begin that new chapter.

“So, I’ve taken this chance even though you told me yesterday that your answer would be no…in the hope that you will change your mind. I don’t know if my heart will ever heal Nemo…but atleast it will beat again”

I didn’t care if this was a joke or if this was whatever, nor did I need to hear anything else. Images from our past flashed before my eyes…our school days, our pond moments, our mad moments, our terrifying moments, the way in which she fought for me, the way in which I hurt her…the way in which she lay unconscious struggling for her life, the day that we dashed through the hospital with her on a wheelchair darting through those corridors without a care in the world, her wedding day, Aara in the snow, Aara staring into emptiness…Aara standing in front of her house handing over its keys…Aara in front of me. Aara who I had loved and lost. Aara who I had learned to live without. Aara who began the story of love in my life with her tiny handshake and peanut butter sandwich, Aara who had changed my mindset and made me love my life. Aara, my prayer answered.

What was I if not a wounded man…what was she if not a wounded woman…We understood each others pain, we knew what we had lost. We respected each others sorrows, through the thread of a bond that could never ever be seen or named. But it would have a name now. Even if it was just for the remainder of this worldly life.

“I love the girl”, I said, smiling through my tears, as I picked up a samoosa to solidify it

And with that, Aara cried fresh new tears and so did I…

If those tears could be accumulated, they would have been plentiful raindrops falling from the sky. And in the distance, there would be a rainbow celebrating a story that was ours all along.

I wiped my eyes and smiled at her from the bottom of my heart, and took her hands in mine..”I have no expectations of you sweetheart, whatever it is, however it is, we may not be perfect, but we’ll be together”

And just like that, in the way in which a hand fits perfectly into a glove,in the way in which the four seasons melt into each other,in the way that a story comes full circle eventually, ours did too.

Strange is life, our story spanned over 30 years of twists and turns… Strange is love, which had never died within us….stranger is destiny, which took us to different times, different people , different lives. And here we are today, as better versions of ourselves, wiser, stronger, mature, battered and bruised from life’s challenges..but alive, as we hold each others hands and walk towards a new future, a new beginning. We can never forget our tests, we can never forget our angel, and maybe our time together, is only for this life only, in this world only, for He will ultimately give us what is best for us, on the day when we will all meet again.

This was our story, this was our friendship.

Hardened by the boulders of life.

Softened by the yellow daffodils of love.

Joined altogether, all nine of us, unrelated, different individuals, by the hand of destiny.

—————-The End———————-

dest

book

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Part 294- Finale (Part 1 of 2)- The Reunion

As narrated by Naasir Patel:

“Dadoo”, Hana asked so cutely as she let go of my hand and ran behind the pigeons that we were feeding…”Mummy said that you loved my daddy tooooo much”

My heart stopped for a second as my brain processed what my granddaughter had just said.

“Your mummy is right”, I smiled, overwhelmed that Aara had kept my sons memory alive in Hana’s heart and told her only good things about us and him

“Dadoo…”, she proceeded and I couldn’t help but smile..”Pappa said that my daddy looooved ice cream more than me!”

And I was instantly reminded of Zoheb’s childhood…the little that I knew, and a wave of regret washed over me. I wished that I had gotten to properly know my son. I had actually only really got to know him from his wife and his friends, from what they would speak about him. And whenever they did, I felt so proud that my son was such, that even years after his death, he was remembered so fondly. I wished that I had gotten to know this man whose character was far greater than mine, who was loved so much. One of the biggest regrets of my life was that I didn’t know my son at all.

This is why I was so grateful to Aara for making us play an active part in Hana’s life. From phone calls to visits , skype sessions and short family getaways, she never restricted us from spending time with Hana. And this was the same girl who I had refused to accept into our family when Zoheb married her.

I was ever so grateful to my Creator for giving them the time that they had together. It was a reassurance that the last few years of my son’s life was spent happily.

We were quite stunned when Aara informed us of her intention to turn their house into a shelter for abandoned children, as the house was quite a magnificent one and it was specifically designed and made according to all Aara’s preferences… I never thought that she’d part with it. We were even more stunned when she asked us to be there and be a part of the trust fund for the house. I knew then that our relationship with Aara and Hana was for keeps. She wanted us in their lives, and we were only too happy to oblige.

Even now, four months later, as we took a break with them in Durban, her parents wouldn’t hear of us staying at a hotel and insisted that all of us stayed with them. They were arranging for a big get together with all their close friends and families and this would be a first for us!

————————————————————————————-

As narrated by Aara:

Spring in Durban was my favorite! The weather was perfect and meant that my mom’s garden was a mini paradise. FOUR whole months had flown by since I had left Jhb and being here at home, with my parents was just what I had needed. Being here made me feel as though I had returned from a long, long journey. I felt calm and happy and ever so energized and renewed! Being at your parent’s home always had the ability to make you feel like a million bucks!

Hana was out with her Dadoo and Dadee, and I was almost done with wrapping up the last few gifts because……. in a few minutes, I’d be seeing everyone!!!!! I had missed them so so so much and I didn’t want the next 4 days to end anytime soon. Life just wasn’t the same without them and seeing them every few days. I missed my long conversations with Laeeka and Zainab, I missed Riza’s motivational lectures,lol..I missed how Arshad would fall asleep half way through it! I missed all the children and their inquisitiveness. I missed Nemo and the way in which he constantly nagged and babied me , I missed the feeling of those yellow daffodils under my fingertips, I missed all of it.

The medley of different hooters outside our front gate had finally signaled their arrival and I turned around in excitement. As I ran through the corridor,I caught sight of myself in the large mirror before the staircase. I had run down these stairs a million times before as a little girl, as an awkward teenager, I had walked down as a new bride , I had sought solace on them through many dark nights when everyone was asleep. I had walked my daughter up and down these stairs numerous times a day for the past four months and each time that I did,an old memory would pop up in my head. Sometimes I would see Sahal and I fighting over something or the other, sometimes I would see my father and I sharing a joke, sometimes I would see my mummy and I quietly eating cupcakes together, sometimes I would see Nemo and I doing our homework , sometimes I would see Zoheb holding my hand..And now I was rooted to the top most stair ,lost in a daydream.

“Waiting for a red carpet?”, he asked from the bottom of the staircase

I snapped out of it and a broad smile replaced my look of “deurmekaarness”…

“Nemo!” , I said excitedly

“So happy to see me? That’s a first”, he replied ,with his hands behind his back

“Oh please man…You okay?”, I asked,as I ran down the stairs and tried to see what he was hiding ,”stop moving!”

“You stand still first! Aara this habit of yours will never go”, he chided even though I could see right through the whole “irritated “act

“Fine fine I’ll stand still”, I agreed after a few seconds, with both my hands up in the air

And when he finally revealed the big secret, I screamed out in sheer joy!!!

“From your garden” , he smiled, as he handed me a bunch of yellow daffodils

“Nemo this is the best gift ever!!!” , I said honestly

I inhaled the beautiful scent of these special daffodils. Because these were the best daffodils in the world and every time that I looked at them I was reminded of Zoheb.

“Thank you so much”

” What thank you man “, he laughed,” come, there’s literally a bigger surprise for you in the lounge”

Literally?? What could it be….

” Oh my God!!!!”, I said in complete shock” Maariah!!!… Again!”

And I could hear Nemo laughing behind me ..”we were just as stunned!”

“Last one Aara” , Maariah blushed as she hugged me

“This is our middle child”, Immy winked , tapping her protruding belly and Maariah promptly gave him a light shot on his back

“Congratulations you two! Immy you’re dead set on having your cricket team hey”

“And I’m just a part of the furniture here ” , Laeeka moaned

“Awwww come here” , I laughed and hugged Laeeka and Zainab

Riza tapped the back of my head to acknowledge him and Arshad tried to say something funny but failed miserably…Again! These guys!!!

“Aarala!!” ,All the kids said in excitement and I knelt down for all of them to hug me. They had played such a huge part in healing my heart. Their innocence, their humbleness, the purity of their hearts…and what made it more special was that each of them was a mixture of two of my best friends, making them, the best of both.

Later on that afternoon,everyone relaxed beside the pool and the kids splashed about. Catching up was always the best because there wasn’t space for a moment’s silence! I’m sure that my in-laws were more than a little overwhelmed with the noise and the crowd but they were excited at the same time.

I walked out into the garden on my own and sat on the garden swing. I closed my eyes and remembered some of my life’s sweetest moments. Looking back at the house in which I grew up made my heart swell with emotions. A house that was full of not just memories but with all the people in my life who I loved the most, the people who were always there for me and who never ever shut me out.

It was overwhelming to know that I had known them before I had come into this world ,that I had known them in a realm before this world,that I didn’t just have one soulmate but many, all of us did. We were all a part of each other,linked in some small way, like branches on the tree of life,we may all go on our own way but we will still remain grounded through the same roots.

“Reminiscing?”, A familiar voice asked

I looked up and smiled.

“Something like that”

“I read the whole thing by the way… Very nicely done..Feels like you’re really in there when you read it”

“It’s not fully done though…There’s just one more page and it isn’t mine”

“It wasn’t the end? “, Riza asked , raising his eyebrow at me

“What is the end Reez?”, I sighed, ” if not a new beginning”

Riza smiled knowingly ,”the life of us artists”

“Which is why pessimism is the way to go.. Always!”, Arshad said, as he sat down beside me, “guaranteed no let downs”

“Ahaha Arshoo you had rather just not say anything at all” ,Riza laughed

“You just can’t handle the heat”, Arshad said dramatically, leaving Riza momentarily speechless,” who’s writing this last page now?”

“Nemo” , I answered, dangling my feet

“I have to write again?”, Nemo asked from behind me “but I already wrote Aara”

“Which I haven’t read yet because the book has been by Riza but yeah…”

And Riza pulled out the book from inside his jacket and handed it to me.

“It would have been over but I just feel that because there’s one thing left and it relates to you, so you write the last bit”, I said as I ran my fingers across this book of memories

“What’s this last thing relating to me?”, Nemo asked as he sat down on the grass infront of us

Did he have to ask now!

“Ummmmm”

“Ummm what?”

“We found you a girl!”, Riza, Arshad and I said together and then looked at each other and back at a dumdfounded Nemo

Because that was what was missing, his happy ending,his new beginning. And even though we knew that life wasn’t about happy endings and it was the story that mattered more, it just made you feel good. It added that little bit of hope, it was that small ray of sunshine on a dull day, it was the single cherry at the top of that towering cake.

And that is why, I stop here. I have grown from a mischievous little girl to an awkward teenager who fell in love with her best friend, I had smash hit the many curve balls that life had thrown at me , I became the young woman whose strength was pulled to the last tether shielding the same best friend. I was an independent woman who loved again when love came in the form of a handsome stranger who made my every day with him beautiful, who filled all those empty jars in my soul with love,hope, faith. I had lived my dreams with my eyes wide open, and while flying high I came tumbling back to the ground, shaken by the reality of…reality.

I was a broken woman, a mother, a widow who braved the storm only with Allah’s help, who with every trial, made me stronger…. and found my way back home.

Maybe I had been through too much, maybe I had cried too much, maybe my life had been harder but this world was never meant to be a paradise. How we treat each other,how we live, how we tackle our problems, the kind of Muslims we are, how we fulfill the relationships that we keep between the people in our lives, that’s what life is about.

I know that whatever happens, I know that if I follow His way and His commands I will be okay. I know that He will give me what is best for me, I know that when that day comes he will do justice with me and until then, until I have a single breath left in me ,I have to earn it. For Allah has never forsaken me, for every tribulation he has given me so many joys, for every heartache he has given me so many beautiful moments and even now in this last chapter I have full faith that he will help me get through it happily and that this last step would be the first step towards a new start.

When I look back at all of us , I am overwhelmed at how far we’ve come together and individually. Some people are alone all their lives, we were lucky that we had each other. Such people leave huge impacts on our lives, so much so that you see a little bit of them in every thing that is beautiful.

This was our story, this is who we are. We don’t know how long our lives will be but every day brings a new challenge, a new opportunity .Life is ever changing, as we learn every single day…

There will be many speed bumps, there will be many hurdles, there will be many crossroads…

But as a wise person once said, ” and just when the Caterpillar thought that the world was over, it became a beautiful butterfly..”

Over and out.

Lol…Sorry, I couldn’t resist!

Much love,

Aara…