Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
Waseem: Hanging onto hope...
The future is a mystery. We never know what’s coming. But we still spend our whole lives worrying about it, planning for it and trying to predict it, even though it’s always changing.
And we’re all susceptible to what comes with the change.
The dread and anxiety of not knowing what’s next… The hope that our deepest fears will be eradicated, and our wildest desires fulfilled. We hang onto the hope, because basically, what would be the point if we were to live with no ambition at all?
At that moment, though, I momentarily wished that I didn’t have any aspirations. Ever.
I mean, solely because it would have saved me the feelings that haunted me since the day I saw the girl that had turned my life upside down. Of course, I could never have known how deep I would get myself in.
I stuck out my hand, almost robotic-ally, to greet the girls’ father.
“You’ll got my messages, bha?” He asked, clasping my hands Sunnah style and ushering us on the verandah, once again.
He probably assumed that we had just arrived. I held my breath, hoping he wouldn’t ask us anything else that would incriminate us.
“Messages?” I asked, almost whispering.
Had the man been sending messages for me? Messages I didn’t know about?
“Jhee,” he answered opening the door with his key, only to find it already unlatched.
Crap. We forgot to lock up.
He looked slightly fazed, but continued talking.
“I met your… Err… Father,” he said, sounding wary. “He had asked me something about the house and I said I had spoken to you. He seemed… Busy. I wasn’t sure if he would tell you, but he gave me your card to contact you. That was about a week ago.”
My card was completely outdated. I didn’t even use a card any more, come to think of it. What was the point?
“Maaf,” I said apologetically. “I’m not in business any more, so I changed my number. Was there anything you’ll needed? Everything okay with the place?”
I had to ease up the whole situation. I just hoped that my father played it cool and didn’t let on his true feelings about the house. It was typical of him to act normal and let everyone else do his dirty work though.
The man shook his head, and then nodded. I didn’t know what to make of it. He stepped inside, expecting us to follow.
I didn’t want to. I was ready to leave… Because my mind was already on what was coming next. I didn’t want to get myself involved here again. I still had to face my father, and do the big confrontation.
But that’s the things with planning… Things barely ever turn out how you anticipate.
“Actually, Waseem,” the man said. “I wanted to talk to you about something else… About my daughter.”
The familiar disconcerted feeling rose up again, and I felt embarrassed. I mean, after having come twice with the same intention and still failing, there was a certain amount of embarrassment that accompanied the mention of her.
I knew that I had to let them off the hook now. I had to let him know that I didn’t come back for that reason. He must be thinking that I was chasing something beyond my reach, by popping up here time and time again. I kept on bringing up history that they had probably swept under the rug. I cringed, realising for the first time how us being here looked.
But how did I explain the real reason without it getting uncomfortable?
“Abbi,” a voice said from inside, before I could save myself from further trouble.
It was a different voice to earlier. Different, but vaguely familiar. I immediately tried to look inside from where I stood, just glimpsing a girl of medium height, fully covered up. She came forward, opening the door to let her father in, and then looked at us for a moment, before turning back to her father.
“Please tell them to come in,” she said, addressing her father, but making sure that we could hear.
I sucked in my breath.
It was her. The girl who I had first seen, as I had glimpsed the view from the other side, just momentarily. The girl I had first set my sights on, not knowing that she was far beyond my reach.
I had really thought that she wouldn’t want us anywhere near them after everything that had happened. Well, until now.
“Come, Waseem,” her father said, looking from me to Ziyaad. “Come have something. The girls have prepared.”
It wasn’t a question.
And, he didn’t have to say any more. Even if I wasn’t game, my brother was already… Well, about ten steps ahead of me.
Ziyaad immediately went to the dining room, gaping at the spread on that seemed to pop out of nowhere. I mean, we were just there minutes ago.
I took the plate that was handed to me, eating a little, careful not to over indulge. They had a cloth spread on the floor, and it reminded me of Jamaat meals, while we sat there and ate in peace the Sunnah way. It was just so serene.
All the anxiety I had previously felt seemed to dissipate into thin air.
Well, until her father went out of the room for a short while and came back, addressing me again.
“I don’t know if it’s good timing,” he said, looking apprehensive. “But I was trying to contact you. Zaynah, my daughter, wanted to speak with you before she, er… Makes a decision. Maaf… A bit sudden, I know… But you know me and this message business…”
He trailed off, looking awkward.
I swallowed, digesting exactly what he said.
Well, I had least expected that.
They wanted to give it shot. They were prepared to accept my humble proposal, without me even having to ask again. They were ready to actually take the plunge.
I nodded, almost blankly, and he got up, and I knew he expected me to follow. Ziyaad was vaguely aware of what was happening, but as usual, he was quite busy in pursuit of having a good fill after all the work he had done, to really worry about where I was going. It was nearly Asr time, so I signalled to him to start finishing off before leaving the room.
To say I was nervous was modest. My hand was stuffed in my kurta pocket to stop the trembling, and I felt like I hadn’t drank anything the whole day. I couldn’t think straight, so just followed orders as to where to go.
It was a shock to my system. I was caught completely unaware.
“Straight through,” he said, gently pushing me forward and leaving me to go on, sitting on a stool nearby.
I somehow managed to step forward, weak knees and all, focussing on just not tripping over and causing a scene. I mean, the whole build up was just so intense, and now it was happening so fast. Too fast.
The room was fairly bright, and I looked ahead and greeted, still not focussing on who sat in front of where I stood, mainly because I was in slight awe. I wasn’t even sure how this had happened… How I had got a chance, but I just knew that by Divine Mercy… I needed to not mess this one up.
Every smooth pick-up line I had used in the past wouldn’t avail me here, and I literally found myself lost for words. For the first time in my life, I didn’t know what to say.
Before the silence got awkward, she quickly intervened, probably realising that I was probably less eloquent than I seemed.
“JazakAllah to you and your brother,” she said simply, sounding sincerely grateful.”May Allah reward you immensely. We didn’t know what to do, and our home would have been wrecked if you’ll didn’t step in…”
“Please,” I cut in, not able to accept that we had been some sort of heroic figures here. “It was our duty. My father….”
I trailed off, knowing that it wasn’t a good idea to get onto that topic.
Safer zones, I reminded myself.
“The food,” I said, wanting to thank her. “Was great. My brother’s really enjoying himself there. You’ll didn’t have to prepare so much.”
Too much of info. I cringed slightly, finally sitting down and getting the courage to actually look up.
Finally, I got to actually see the girl that I had been so set on for the past few months.
How did she come to finally accept me as worthy of her?
The answer was soon to come.
She turned away slightly under my gaze, and I witnessed a slight redness creeping in, to colour her pale face. The same face that was etched in my memory, for the past few months.
Of course she would be shy.
It was precisely the sign that I had always needed to see in my wife-to-be.
“JazakAllah,” I said finally, trying to somehow redeem myself. “For everything.”
As if every box hadn’t already been ticked, her next words were enough to completely blow me away.
It was one thing when a girl makes you sweat, but when her knowledge of Deen is the first thing she reveals to you, it’s something else.
She looked up, smiling slightly, and said the words that just made it for me.
It was priceless.
“Is there any other reward for good other than good?” She said, slightly mysteriously.
I knew the words. Of course, it was Allah’s promise… Of the favours upon us.
It was just the most perfect moment. With the most perfect words. I couldn’t even think of what to say back, so I just smiled, because I already knew where this was leading.
Allah blesses the Muhsineen who do good without expecting anything in return.
He blesses them with an army from His own who will be kind to him and love him… Without him even realising it.
And so He says:
هَلْ جَزَاءُ الْإِحْسَانِ إِلَّا الْإِحْسَانُ
Is there any reward for good other than good?
(Surah Al Rahman, Verse 60)
The thing was, just when we think we’ve figured things out, life throws us a curveball. But we improvise. We find happiness in unexpected places. We find our way back to the things that matter… Back to what we know is best for us.
Sometimes, things don’t always work out perfectly the first time… And sometimes, you’re not sure if it could getter any better, because it’s just that awesome.
But when things don’t work out the way we had planned… There is always a way of making sure we wind up exactly where we belong… A means to attain that ultimate reward…
And where we belong, ultimately, is nothing short of perfection.