Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
“Another one please,” I said, sitting back in my chair again, gazing out over the wooden deck of the coffee shop I was seated at.
I wasn’t sure when was the last time I had been to a coffee shop. It seemed like a super sophisticated thing to do. I could already feel myself climbing up the socialising ladder from ‘hang-out spots’ to ‘coffee shops’.
I grinned at the thought. I supposed that Farah would love to do all these fancy things.
I inhaled deeply, the remnants of wedding anxiety surfacing again, my eyes fixed on the orange end of the cigarette, until it faded again. I held it in, letting the smoke fill my lungs, and slowly exhaled, imagining that I was just letting go of everything I had been keeping inside for so long.
Chilling out time. This was the life. I tried not thinking of anything else, including the incessant buzzing of my iPhone, determined to spend these moments as I felt was fit. I knew that people were trying to get hold of me.
It wasn’t that I wanted to be alone. It was just that I didn’t trust myself to be in company.
I stubbed my cigarette and stroked my beard roughly, gazing on to the next table, watching a girl drinking her coffee. My eyes fixated on her neck where her hair hung, and then I closed my eyes for a few seconds…
I downed the espresso shot that was placed in front of me, still fixated. I was willing to try my luck. No strings attached.
And then I caught myself.
Hold up, Zee, I said to myself. The chase was over.
No more chances. I was sure Farah would hound me just for looking at another girl.
Kill it, the voice was inside me was saying. Fight the urges.
I had come so far. So far from that place where scoring girls was my main objective. But now, I felt like I had gone backwards. I felt like I had no more aspiration. Who cared about what Farah knew? Shouldn’t I be more worried about the One who was watching me all the time?
I berated myself, almost wanting to kick me. I was letting myself get carried away.
What are you doing? My conscience was saying.
I shook my head, sitting back down again.
Yoh. I felt like my insides were on fire. Too much of coffee? Cigarettes? Maybe it was just plain stupidity.
I spun around, only to realise that my conscience wasn’t exactly who I thought. It was someone else altogether.
There was only one person who had called me that. Like, ever. And it was so weird.
I had just assumed that Muhammed must have been going through some ‘gangsta’ phase in his life when he made up that nick-name, and I couldn’t help but chuckle, despite my slightly sombre mood, at the memory.
He stood there, looking like he was kind of blasted as well. For the first time, I truly believed that we had the same messed-up blood. We were truly two of a kind.
“What are you doing here?” He asked, narrowing his eyes.
“I’m cooling off,” I said, giving him my best ‘duh’ look.
Wasn’t it obvious? It was just friggin’ annoying when people asked dumb questions.
He crouched in the chair he was sitting at, all morbid and dull.
I looked at him, now completely irritated. The thing was, if he had the audacity to oinvade my privacy, the least he could do is try and lighten up the whole situation. Not dampen the spirit so much that I felt like an even more depressed case.
Idiot. Wasn’t it so selfish of people who make everything about them, when it shouldn’t be? Wasn’t today supposed to be my day?
I was moody today. I knew it. To make it worse, he was tapping on his phone. I shook my head at him, rolling my eyes.
He raised his eyebrows at me.
“She said she was busy with her make-up,” I defended myself, because I knew that now, after the Nikah, I should be with her. I knew what he was thinking.
It was just… I don’t know.
I didn’t want to think of what came after. The whole do would be too much for me.
I was becoming like Waseem. I didn’t like all those heavy kind of preparations that seemed to be a part of Muslim weddings these days. But Farah’s family didn’t do simple. What was I getting myself into?
“How did you find me?” I asked Mo blankly, staring him down.
He glanced up from his phone, not noticing the glare.
“I have my ways,” he replied vaguely. “Technology never fails. And I had a feeling you’d be on the verge of running for it.”
I looked away. I wasn’t a chicken.
“It’s not a death sentence, you know,” he said, after a while.
I shrugged. I knew that. It was just that I didn’t expect it to happen so soon.
“You shouldn’t have done something you’re not sure about.”
I didn’t respond. Did I?
I knew that Farah was a ‘dream’ for any guy. But the undeniable fact was that this wasn’t something I had planned.
I had a responsibility here. To leave the whole thing as it was, and let people talk about how irresponsible Cassim’s youngest son was, wasn’t the type of impression I wanted to create. I wanted to make it all okay, but not only for the sake of people.
The thing was, sitting in Itikaaf this Ramadhaan was a life-changer. The urgency I had felt during that time to settle everything wasn’t normal. I knew that it was a sign.
Despite my father telling me to leave it, I went to her house, knowing what I needed to do. I asked her why she had never told me before. And though her reasons were half-believable, I couldn’t help feeling let down.
The regret was immense. If only I knew how much of destruction my own desires would have caused… How careful I would have been. If I knew how much I would have to pay for everything I had done, I might have lived my life an entirely different way.
And then I remembered that feeling I had found myself with, on that fateful morning after, possessed by the emotions I had let bubble within. I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the feelings, even though they were wrong.
And now… The chance to change it…. To make it right. I had wanted to have her, but without having the worry that she could ever leave. I wanted to be secure in the knowledge that she would be only for me, in every sense of the word.
And that was what I was getting, the right way. They say you can’t right what you’ve wronged, but this was the closest to it I was getting. Through Nikah, amazingly, Islam makes that bond so much more meaningful than we can imagine.
I breathed out, letting the anxiety fade away. It was just that I never anticipated me getting hitched before twenty. In my mind, I still had a good few years to go. The Zee, as everyone knew me, would have to take on a whole new persona.
Well. A grown up, married, boring kind of persona. Bleh.
I was about to explain this whole thing to Mo, but my thoughts were cut off, because Waseem sauntered in casually, as if he was invited.
I narrowed my eyes at Mo, knowing he had told him to come.
I lit another cigarette, knowing that I would need it. Don’t get me wrong.
I loved my brothers to bits.
But how could I ever explain to them the truth of the whole situation? Would they ever understand that I had done it for no other reason than to try and fix and the B.S I had dug myself into.
I caught their gaze on me, and I knew I didn’t have to. They already knew.
We sat there in silence, the three of us, as if we were already having that conversation, without saying a word. Three brothers, worlds apart… Undoubtedly connected, yet so extremely distinctive.
It was a few moments of reflection, and I knew that what I was doing here, wasn’t the most wise.
At some point, we all have to make a choice. Do we fall back on what we know? Or, do we step forward, to something new? It’s hard not to be haunted by our past. Our history is what moulds us… What guides us.
This was life. And yes, it wasn’t always easy.
Life is rocky…. Life is erratic… And life is not always consistent…
But what matters is what you, as an individual, can make of it.
It’s the beauty beyond the obvious… The true scene behind the façade. It’s what we can somehow make out of what we are handed out.
The truth is, we see in life what we want to see.
If we search for ugliness, we’ll find plenty of it. If we want to find fault with other people, we’ll certainly be able to do so. But if we look for the extraordinary in the ordinary, we can see that too.
The question is, do we ever stop to try?
The river could had drowned Musaa (AS) in his infancy and vulnerablility…
Instead, the sea viciously swallowed Firawn at his peak.
And that was it.
The thing is, everything is not always as clear cut as it seemed. Sometimes, we can’t have exactly what we want, in the way we want it. You want… I wan’t… But what Allah wants is what will happen.
But we fail to see the signs, and who keeps ‘tabs’ on it all. Who controls the universe in entirety, and every miracle that we choose not to see.
Who works on the perfection of the universe in action… The spectacular beauty of nature… The incredible miracle of human life? Do we think that all this is per chance… Just happening by itself? Every new life in the midst of an undiscovered place… Every blossoming flower that slowly brings life to it’s surroundings… We see…. But still choose to ignore His signs.
It’s all flawless and faultless, and all comes down to the Majesty and Power of our Lord.
Life was what it was, but it was also extraordinary. When ordinary things will take on a whole new meaning, we choose to see the good in whatever has come.
And yes, I didn’t see it till now, but rest assured, my Lord is fully aware of my needs. He knew what He had to put me through to get me on track.
Yes, I had made a huge mistake. But I couldn’t let it bring me down. It hurts to grow. But time heals.
For myself, I knew that this was a way to move forward, and to make a change. For me, for my wife… For the child I haven’t yet met.
It was time to stand up, and take a step towards a better life.
I got up, hastily stubbing my third cigarette, glanced at my brothers and delved my hand into my pocket for my car keys. The hint of a smile was visible on their faces.
Sometimes change is good. Sometimes change is everything. And in my final chance to change my life…
Yes, folks… I was going to meet my wife.