Petty Cash

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

It was that time of the year again. The year was rapidly coming to an end, and a sense of hope and renewal took over some, as they looked forward to the year ahead. People were in the mood, feeling free of responsibility and ready to just let loose. It was the most hectic time of the year.

It was a tough time for me, because it seemed like I was seeing things in a slightly altered light to before. My horizon had broadened and I had managed to keep myself a little more in control than before. No credit to me though, as I had Waseem kind of watching my every move. It got me majorly frustrated at times because it was a serious kill-joy. He insisted that the life I was after was not for ‘us’. As usual, I wasn’t too sure what he meant. What was his problem anyway?

Nevertheless, I was on my balcony that Thursday evening, the last of the year, watching Waseem’s car drive in at that very moment. The night had already nearly set in, and I could feel the anticipation in the air. I was just ready to head back in, before a light shining just a street away caught my eye.

The yard was a direct neighbour to us, but just out of the gated complex that we lived in. I knew that the property was one of Dad’s, because he had wanted Muhammed to live there originally, and I wondered why it was lit up. It seemed like there had been activity going on there, and I made a mental note to check up.

Tomorrow. Maybe I would be more useful to my family in the new year. Resolutions, right? Waseem would be proud of me for taking some initiative.

I shelved the thought and went back inside, lazing around for a while. There was a party later that night, a New Year event, and I was taking it easy until the latter part, chilling and listening to the new MP3 I had burnt.

Waseem never gave me back my remote, so I just bought another system. Dad’s credit card came in handy for things like that. It was a studio system, and apparently one of the best in the world. I was completely lost in the beat, as I browsed through Instagram to check out the updated pictures of all the chics who would be there. It gave me a thrill to get a sneak-preview of the night ahead.

I didn’t even realise how loudly (and slightly off-tune) I was singing along, until the sound stopped completely.

Livid, I spun around in my rotating lounger, ready to let loose.

“WAS-,” I started, before realising that it wasn’t Waseem.

Muhammed stood in the doorway, watching me carefully as he moved forward to take a seat.

“Are you guys ganging up on me or what?!” I asked, annoyed.

“Who, me?” Muhammed asked, feigning innocence.

I could just tell that Waseem told him to come up here. I glanced up at him momentarily, paying attention to my phone again.

“I came to take you out,” Muhammed said. “Having a braai at home and called the guys. It will be fun.”

“Not my scene, bru,” I said, unenthusiastically. “Besides, I’m invited somewhere.”

“I see. Cool,” he said, after a few moments of silence. I had a feeling that he was going to say something else but he didn’t. Thankfully.

He got up, finally, without saying another word.

“Hey, put my stuff back on!” I shouted, as he was leaving. It was really getting to me. I couldn’t even get peace in my own room.

Muhammed held the remote for a minute before switching on my speakers again, coincidentally, almost at the same time the Esha Adhaan sounded from outside.

Now, a week ago, I had a completely indifferent attitude to it, but something within me had been altered that evening when I realized that I was missing the whole point. It was nothing major, but without even fully realizing it, my heart had been affected. The heart, as much as you try, can’t be controlled.

Muhammed turned around to leave, but not before voicing exactly what I was thinking,

“Choose your path carefully, boss,” he said as he flung the remote back at me.

With the beat thudding away within the confines of my room, and the local Mosque speakers resounding within the neighborhood, I made a life-changing decision at that moment.

Of course. To me, it was nothing big, but it was probably a huge move in the eyes of the Greater Power.

I pressed the power button on my remote, sitting in my couch for a few minutes, just to listen. I put my phone aside, just for that meagre time. It was nothing great that I did. Waseem would have said it was simple ethics. Respect.

And when it was over, without a second thought, I got dressed, loaded the perfume and grabbed my keys, ready to take on the night.

I was mostly looking forward to seeing Farah, who I was sure would be there. I didn’t think beyond that, but I knew that somewhere within me, I was hoping to make it up to her. I wasn’t ready for the big commitment but I wanted to show her that I was getting better. I wanted her to know that, however selfish I had seemed previously, I wasn’t just going to waste her time. I had thought about it earlier that day, and I needed to tell her that. She was going to be ‘the reason’ I changed.

Well, that’s what seemed logical to me, at the time. That was what my life revolved around.

Little did I know, as I stepped outside into the crisp night air, Waseem and Muhammed heading off to their braai, there was going  to be another ‘reason’ for me to do  some sort of reformation.

My crew would be waiting outside the joint for me, and I was looking forward to just taking it easy tonight. I was sure that it was going to be a good night, and, since I was feeling particularly generous and in a ‘giving’ sort of mood, I decided to even stop by Mo’s place for the braai. I knew that the food would be awesome, so at least that would be a perk of joining them. Mo’s wife always went all out for these things, preparing the most amazing spread for anything they did. I actually felt myself looking forward to it, as I listened to the low hum of my car, taking off into the night.

I was quite focused as I stopped at the robot, watching it change from red to green. I didn’t look anywhere but ahead. I mean, who does? When it says go, most times, I just go.

As always, with my window slightly open, my foot floored the accelerator, anxious to hear the engine sing its usual song as it picked up speed. But I didn’t quite hear that.

A complete anti-climax.

Instead, a shock to my senses as I took off, a massive blow to the right hand side of my car caught me completely off guard. I had momentarily glimpsed the small truck approach from the corner of my eye, but before I could even register what was happening, the car was doing a complete revolution, almost in slow motion. My mind was still trying to fathom how it could be possible, yet as my eyes focussed on the blurry pictures ahead of me, there was only one thing I could hear. Only one awesome reminder stuck with me.

“...there’ll come a time when you’re going to be accountable for every single thing you do, and everything you own.”

It was Waseems voice, replaying in my head, as if he was inside it. Right then, it sounded more terrifying than ever.

The words echoed within my mind as I witnessed the car taking a most unnerving spin. Gravity seemed to fail at that moment, as my body lifted, and I tried to hold on to whatever I could.

At that moment, there was nothing in this entire world that mattered to me.

I couldn’t care less about my iPhone 6 plus, wedged in between my legs, as I sat, motionless, as if a spectator in my own life. I wasn’t, in the least, worried about new, top-of-the-range sound system, with the surround sound speakers… Or my Armani shirt, that I had worn tonight, for a ‘special’ occasion… Amazingly, at that moment, I couldn’t care less even about my matt black M3, that I loved more than anyone and anything else in this universe.

It’s just you and your deeds, boss, I could almost hear Waseem saying.

The realisation hit me, and fear gripped my entire existence. There was absolutely nothing I could do now. My heart pounded incessantly, waiting for the next part of this unexpected story to unfold.

And then… Then… Darkness enveloped me, as another penetrating collision resounded within my midst… And everything went black.


6 thoughts on “Petty Cash

  1. A moment of truth for Ziyaad.
    Dear readers, a reminder that this New Year is not for us to celebrate. Let us maybe have some halaal fun, keep it clean and turn to Allah Ta’ala rather. It is that, that is considered the greatest of deeds in His eyes, staying away from sin for His pleasure. May Alah Ta’ala give us all the tawfeeq and enable us to do whatever pleases Him only. Was-Salaam ❤️


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