A Fool’s Gold

Bismillair Rahmaanir Raheem

Waseem: Every sinner has a future...

“Waseeeeeeeeeem!”

A poisonous shrill from behind me pierced right through somewhere at the back of my brain. I wasn’t sure if I was imagining it, but I suddenly got a malicious headache. A sign, maybe?

I paid for my gum and cold drink, deliberating whether to turn around or not. If it was the same girl I thought it was, I had a good mind to just walk out without even looking in that direction. And no, I wouldn’t feel guilty about it. The voice persisted.

And not just the voice… It was an incessant tapping on the shoulder that really got me this time.

“Where are youu gonna be, Waseeeeeeem?” It was saying. “Thought we would see you at Sammy’s place later?”

Sameer was a friend I had known. A while back. The past always come back to haunt you at some point.

It sounded like a rhetorical question, so I didn’t answer.

“Waseeeeeeeem?”

Muhammed nudged me as hard as he could in between my ribs, as if to prompt me to answer. I ignored him. Maybe the nagging was getting to him. I was honestly a bit over this whole game. The satisfaction that was so temporary.

“Err,” I said, turning slightly, just barely glancing at her. Straight brown hair, bright red lipstick and one of those heavy smelling fragrances. It was a slight over-kill.

I looked away, nodded a half-greeting, walking out quickly, glad to be out of there.

Footsteps followed fast behind me.

“Hey, whatsup?”

Muhammed.

“Nothing,” I replied.

“That chic was all over you,” he continued, looking at me. “It’s new years, bru. I won’t judge.”

He held up his hands, as if to edge me on, but I opened the car door and sat in the passenger’s seat, waiting for Muhammed to start the car. He should know me by now. Well, the new me.

I had known that girl about a year ago. I remembered her well, but I honestly couldn’t figure out what had attracted me to her. I had met her at the gym… A few times.

I would see her every day. She was always around the guys section, and from what I can remember, she was some kind of fitness trainer. That’s how it all progressed. Or should I say… Regressed? Now that I think about it, it made me feel disgusted with myself. She seemed so… Easy. It was sin upon sin. What was the point?

The low hum of Muhammed’s car sounded, and I sat back, closing my eyes, trying to forget. Muhammed had switched on the radio, but I turned it off, not wanting to listen to crap. At least his music wasn’t the heavy type that Ziyaad listened to, but it didn’t mean it was okay.

“Really, bru? I can’t even listen to my CD?” Muhammed exclaimed, clearly irritated. “You’re becoming worse than the vrou.”

Muhammed’s wife was a bit on the hectic side, and I could only imagine that she must have come from a family who was probably really orthodox.

No-one knew much about her, but it was okay. Muhammed was happy. And it was okay, because even I felt that she was way too good for my extremely ordinary elder bro.

And now that I thought about it, it was actually weird how no-one really cared about her, based on the fact that she ‘seemed’ like perfect wife material. Despite the obvious draw-cards, how she had evidently been raised brought another dimension to the opportunity. Different to any of the girls we had ever known.

It made me think that our lives, as they stood, were completely missing the point. I mean, up till recently, I had thought that driving my Lambo with a hot girl in the passengers seat was the best that it could get.

I hadn’t ever really thought about it before, but now… It really made me realise that there was so much more to life… So much more to my religion. In getting everything materialistic that I could ever dream of, there was so much of real value that I had obviously been deprived off.

I raised my hand to my chin, feeling the newness of the imminent beard, and liking it. The notion of being sucked in by this world was clearly surfacing for me, because, although we have this knowledge that it isn’t forever, the fact is that we live here. We are part of this world, that we get carried away with. We all have aspirations.

I had aspirations… I always did. With regard to my studies, I wanted to do Masters and excel in my field. I had aspirations with regard to the type of lifestyle I wanted to lead… And I even had superficial aspirations with regard to the types of girls I had wanted to be with.

But, where I was lacking, I didn’t realise. Where I needed to make aspirations, I didn’t, until something happened and caused some kind of spark within me to rekindle. It was just the glowing splinter that suddenly ignited, introducing an entirely new perspective, and unveiled the window looking out into where freedom truly lies.

Seeing another side of life, where the grass was literally a picture of over-germination, was so simple and content in comparison. Like a newborn, it made me open my eyes to a true reality.

And of course, I couldn’t expect everyone to see it, just because I did. I couldn’t expect everyone to suddenly get up and realise they needed some desperate guidance in their life. I didn’t want them to see it the way I had, because coming from somewhere beyond the gutter, I didn’t want it to happen to anyone else that way.

I wanted bring it in slowly… Make it gradual, and let it stick. I wanted to guide Ziyaad and my family in a way that made them think for themselves, and not just come at him with every ounce of Islamic bayaan material I had heard during the past month. I wanted him to find the gold for himself, because that was the way that anyone could really appreciate it.

“It’s Ziyaad,” Muhammed said, suddenly braking and doing an extremely dangerous u-turn, in the midst of Pretoria New Years Eve traffic. He had his phone in his hand.

I didn’t even hear it ring. Why was he talking about Ziyaad?

“What does he want?” I mumbled, watching him with heavy eyelids. I had zoned out there completely for a while.

Muhammed didn’t answer, just drove like a slight maniac as he weaved in and out of cars.

“Muhammed?” I asked again, sitting up and rubbing my eyes. What was going on?

With Muhammed’s driving on the islands, we reached our destination pretty quickly. Flashing lights and a gathering crowd immediately signalled something wasn’t right. And it was intense, because we had no idea whether he was going to make it or not. We had no inkling of what would lie ahead for us, even during the next few hours into the new year, while they were trying to get my youngest brother out of his car.

Struggling with my own demons, and regretting why I hadn’t tried harder with Ziyaad, I finally sat down on the pavement, head in my hands, waiting for the outcome.

The thought struck me, just for a minute. What if our whole world was going to be rocked with this loss? What if, tomorrow, we would only wake up with whatever we had the decency to thank Allah for, today?

“He’s alive! He’s alive!”

The voice was clear as daylight… As bright as the sunshine on the gloomiest day.

“Yoh,” was all I could say, wiping my forehead with my hands, not even realising how the perspiration was running down my face. Every other supposed ‘problem’ I had ever had in my life had nothing on this. It was the most terrifying feeling for me.

Muhammed was scurrying around, trying to figure out where the ambulance was going. I jumped in with them, not bothered with their silly arguments about casualty rules. It was my brother, and if something was going to happen to him, I needed to be there. I needed to make sure that he was in the best care and state of mind.

“Sir, can you hear us?” one of the paramedics were saying to Ziyaad, witnessing some movement.

There was a streak of blood on the top of Ziyaad’s shirt, coming from a superficial blow to his head, but other than that, he seemed okay.

“It’s a miracle, you know,” the other paramedic was saying. She was a female. I tried not to look at her. I had been trying hard to avert my gaze, realising how careless I had been before.

I just nodded watching Ziyaad’s eye’s flicker slightly. I could say it was a miracle, but I knew that there was more to it than just that. Something greater was on our side… Divine Power, for some reason, through someone’s Du’aa, was working its way against the odds just for us.

I actually couldn’t believe it, but the feeling of exhilaration was priceless.

After almost a minute of no response from Ziyaad, finally, it seemed like his eyes were actually open. I couldn’t wait for him. He was taking too long.

“Zee?” I said, eagerly awaiting a response.

He tried to open his mouth to speak, but no sound came out. I removed the oxygen mask, eager to hear his voice.

“Was,” he croaked, speaking so softly, I had to strain my ears to hear it.

“Yeah?” I prompted him on.

“I think…” He stopped in mid sentence, as if he couldn’t manage.

“You think what, boss?” I asked, getting impatient.

He looked up at me for a few seconds, closed his eyes, and then opened them again.

“Was,” he started again, annoying me.

Was he ever going to say what he needed to?

He spoke again.

“Was,” he finally breathed, blinking at me.

I waited for it. Patiently.

“I think I found the gold.”

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