Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem 


“I feel like I’ve seen you before.”

Yousuf’s pale face immediately reddened as he said it, and he looked away, slightly embarrassed.

Wasn’t that like the cheesiest line, like ever?

“Shucks,” he muttered, obviously realizing what he said. And of course, what I was thinking.

“I’m sorry,” he said, all flustered. “I don’t know why I would say something so stupid.”

I wanted to laugh, but I didn’t. I was actually kind of glad he said that. It was a good ice breaker.

I finally got the guts to look up at him, swallowing nervously as I did so.

My worst fears dissolved. He wasn’t ugly. Thank goodness. He was far from it. Somehow I was glad I had made a little effort. Maybe Foi Nani wasn’t that old after all. She kind of knew her stuff when it came to impressing people.

What was most intriguing thing about him though, wasn’t his dazzling smile or his perfect nose.

It was the fact that he was just focusing on me. And okay, maybe I was the only other person on this partition of the dining area, but I had met boys before who would be trying to talk to me, but trying to suss out what venture is next at the same time. As I looked back at him, albeit a little shyly. I wanted to kick myself too, because I had judged him because he said it.

I felt like I knew him too.

Corny, yes. But I’d definitely seen him before.

“Did you go to tuition?” I asked him spontaneously. I wasn’t even thinking.

All I was thinking was; that was probably the place I had seen him. I didn’t want to think further than that because it was also the place where I had done a lot of unmentionable things.

I didn’t want to even go there. I flushed as I thought about it, wishing I didn’t mention it.

He shook his head. He didn’t look like the type that went for mass tuition. He was probably really intelligent too . He had passed his final year and was doing his boards. He said that he wanted to go back to madrassa. We had stopped there when he realized that he knew me from somewhere.

Why must I always open my big mouth?

It was a typical example of the past coming back to haunt me. I’ve heard people talk about it happening before but I never believed it. When you did things in jest, just for the fun of it, you only think about it with remorse when it’s too late.

I shivered, remebering those winter afternoons after Mama passed away… feeling that sinking feeling all over again. The coldness had sunken into my thoughts and bones… and darkness had engulfed from all angles. How great was Allah that he had brought me out of it?

The greatest part was that he made me come out of my sinful ways.

“Are you okay?”

He could see that faraway look on my face and Yousuf was concerned. He sounded so … caring. Concerned. Was it for real or was he just playing the part? My life had made me so skeptical of everyone around me.

This boy was just the perfect balance. He wasn’t an overly ambitious charmer or smooth talker. He looked genuinely concerned. My whole life had gone chasing the things that I had always been lacking. My pursuits were always to try and fill that gaping hole that lay within.  I wasn’t sure what it was about me.

I wasn’t strong like Khawlah. Although she fully understood, she had barely shed a tear when Mama died. Every day for me was a reminder of that gap Mama had left when she had gone. My heart grieved her loss in a way that was terminal… The pain didn’t go away. I was broken.

But even with that, I knew, within the cravices of my  very soul, I truly believed that a strong person could lift me up again. That a solid heart that was filled with the love of the One who Created it, could heal. It’s what I needed to make myself stronger… and to build my faith up once again. Yes, I had been weak at one point, but I was on the road to recovery once again. Some people could do it on their own… but some people, like me, needed help to get themselves to be the best believers. To get themselves thriving spiritually, once again.

Suhaib RadhiAllahu Anhu narrated : Allah’s Nabi Sal Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said. “Strange is the case of a believer, there is good for him in everything, and this is only for the believer. If a blessing reaches him, he is grateful to Allah which is good for him, and if an adversity reaches him, he is patient which is good for him.”


I wished that I could achieve that, and truly understand the gift of being a true believer. As I looked at Yousuf, I could see he showed signs of someone who was Islamic. Not just there, at the borderline, like Abba had become now, but completely devoted.

He wore a traditional kurta with no distinct branding, and his beard seemed to be grown freely with no fashionable adjustments. I knew about these things because Mama used to always tell Abba about them. After Mama died, Abba’s beard had diminished to close to nothing. I just knew Mama would like Yousuf too.

A large noise that sounded like it was just outside the house caught us both off guard, and Yousuf glanced at me, looking really worried.

“Is this area safe?” He asked, immediately getting up and going towards the passage door. He looked slightly anxious. Maybe he had a bad experience in the past.

I wasn’t scared. It was probably nothing. This area wasn’t the safest but we were so used to those noises that it didn’t even faze us anymore.

I took the opportunity to grab a samoosa that was lying on the table nearby, just because my tummy was virtually empty since the morning. With my nerves the way they had been, and Foi Nani making it worse, I had barely been able to put a thing into my mouth.

I walked toward the passage too, seeing Khawlah and Yunus peeping out of the lounge door.

At that moment, the spicy samoosa caught in my throat, and it wasn’t just because of the ambitious flavoring.

It was Aunty Nas, who literally kicked open our front door, and stood there with a vengeance.

Aunty Nas wore purple wedged boots, grey tights and a pink floral sleeveless top. Her hair was it’s usual blonde colour, and it stuck out on the top of her head, almost as if she had gotten shocked.

I wondered what happened to her. Her clothes were way to young for her age. I knew the latest fashion trends, and this was far from it. She had looked so much better on those days when she would adorn the abaya and hijab. This was a cheap alternative.

”My goodness,” she said sarcastically as she spotted Yousuf and Abba coming to the front to see what the din was about. “I heard what’s going on here. Aren’t we just a happy little family today?!”

She said the last few words in a mocking tone, raised her eyebrow and glared at Abba. Abba shifted uncomfortably. Aunty Nas seemed upset.

I looked around me and could see Yousuf’s father there too.

He was staring in shock. Yousuf too was in shock, but he calmly backed away. I could see him headed back to the couch to sit, ready to continue our conversation. The only problem was that now my head was completely out of it. There was no way I could form any audible words with this woman in our home.

”Let’s go to the other room,” Abba said to Aunty Nas, making his way out of the room. He gestured for her to follow but she didn’t. She stared at us all scornfully, with her hands on her hips.

Her face was scrunched up and her expression was tired. She looked like she was charged up for something, but Abba’s reaction to her didn’t allow her to vent. He had forced her to apply brakes and her fuel was running low.

“I’m not going anywhere!” She shouted, and my father turned and raised his eyebrows at her.

All of us four siblings were now gathered in the entrance hall, half awaiting the common hissing and unfiltered arguments that would usually come. We  looked at each other with hesitation, unsure of what to make of the whole thing.

Why was she here now? What was really going on?

I just wanted her to go away.

“I think they’re going to kill each other,” Ahmed said under his breath, watching them from where we stood.

The four of us clung together like our lives depended on it. It was one thing we held onto always, no matter who was the target. From the day this woman had become an additional limb of our home, we were in this together and always would be.

That would never change.

Just when I thought Aunty Nas was going to turn back, it seemed like her reserve kicked in, and much to our shock and dismay, she started screaming in utter dementia. She sounded like a lunatic.

It was one grievance after another, about how my father emotionally abused her, and how disobedient his children were. She had to add in how corrupt our minds are and how we have thieves that live here. It was like she was possessed by some kind of demonic force, and she didn’t move or stop as she accused us all of the worst of things.

It seemed like she was nearly done, and although she had caused a lot of damage, all was not yet lost.

Aunty Nas had gathered an audience now, and even if she didn’t, everyone in the house had probably heard her.

“Must we leave?”

A voice whispered from behind us, and I could see Yusrah giving me a polite smile as she spoke. Yousuf’s sister seemed really pleasant and quite amusing too. We chatted about quite a few things, and we got along really well. I just hated that they were witnessing all of this. Aunty Nas at her worst tantrum.

“We can come back,” she said when I didn’t answer.

She wasn’t so convincing. If they left now, they would probably never come back to this crazy house. We would have to do something to redeem ourselves. We would have to do something now, before this gets any worse.

Foi Nani was now in the front of the house where all the commotion was going on. Her walking stick in hand, she was trying to appear threatening without actually attacking. Her face dark with anger and her no-nonsense voice was on. Vexation was settling in, and her patience was at it’s wits end.

How dare this woman cause such a scene at this important event? 

“Nasreen,” she was saying firmly. “You need to leave or we will call the cops. You have other problems you must deal with. This is not the time for all of this.”

Foi Nani was right. She knew it. We knew it too. We could work on this at another time. Abba was trying to tell her too. I could hear him saying something else, but I didn’t understand what he meant. Problem? What problem did she have? 

She understood that now it was a threat and she knew that we meant serious business. And just when I thought she was about to relent and leave, her gaze shifted around for a few seconds. It darted back and forward, and she ran her hands anxiously through her frazzled hair as she did so. Within a few second, it settled, and almost as if I expected it, I felt it on  none other than myself.

She stared straight into me, for a few seconds, and I could literally feel the hairs at the back of my neck start to stand. It was almost as if she was seeing beyond me. She looked broken.

Her body was shaky, and her finger trembled as she pointed. She didn’t look okay.

A small, evil smile crept onto her face and to my utter horror, she let out a final blow.

“If only they knew what you are really like,” she said to me with a slight tremble, but a steady gaze. “That rich boy in the red BMW that used to pick you up every Friday… a tramp like you doesn’t even deserve that.”

And with that she turned and tossed her hair back as she walked out through the broken door, leaving a family that was broken once, broken once again.


17 thoughts on “Broken

  1. O my goodness! !🤤😲😤. . Pure Evil! ! I would like to know how Aunty Nas even came into the picture from the start? The father couldn’t have been so desperate? What to do?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Horrible mean woman. Their Abba is useless, if he has had children he should take their responsibility properly and not bring in a witch in to make their lives hell. Right now, He should have slapped her quitened her. What a nincampoo he is!!! As soon as he saw her ill-treating his kids he should have divorced her. Selfish man!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • She has become horrible.. possibly bitter too because her husband wants her out of the picture now after seeing her true colours with Aunty Agnus. It’s possible that he never knew the extent of her ill treating the kids until now💔 we will just have to wait and see…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Whether it’s a traumatic past or a lack of parental attention or like whatever.. nothing of the sort is an excuse for such vindictive behavior. I hope this woman gets back the bitterness that she gives to others and I don’t care if she has an actual problem making her behave this way. So sick and tired of people using pain as an excuse to do wrong.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Sis, you’ve made such a valid point. I wholeheartedly agree. If people are in any kind of difficulty, the fact is that they are too cowardly to face the problem and actually DEAL with it. They are too afraid of the emotions that go with it. They cannot, for the life of them, actually go through the motions that come with loss, pain, sickness or death of a loved one. It’s sick. 💔
      May Allah help us all and save us from using other means beside Allan as our comforts. it’s such a common thing in this day and age.

      Liked by 3 people

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