Chasing History

Bismihi Ta’ala


There’s something that I’ve learnt during the past few months that will probably stick with me for life.

Nothing in this world is worth chasing. We spend our whole lives worrying about the future… planning for the future… trying to predict the future, as if it’s going to solve everything.

But the thing is, nothing is set in stone. The future is the home of our deepest fears and wildest hopes. There are so many possibilities… but one thing I know for sure is what comes with ease, is clearly what was always meant for you.

I had spent a major part of my adulthood chasing happiness. Contentment. Satisfaction. Everything else that I thought that would bring me all of the above and more. I couldn’t find it in my marriage, so I looked to my kids. When I couldn’t find it at home… I looked elsewhere.

And I wasn’t in this struggle alone. What I also knew was that many women in my circles went through the exact same thing. Sometimes we like to stay in the dark, because we feel there is still hope. Sometimes we prefer ignorance. For women like me, infidelity was normal behaviour for a man as ‘good looking and rich’ as my husband. I was made to understand that it was normal for men to do this at that age… To have this type of discontentment and insatiable appetite that their regular lives could never fulfil.

And I know that everything happens for a reason. Despite thinking how things might have been different if I had another baby coming… and how it would have magically fixed everything… I knew that there was so much of goodness in losing my fifth pregnancy and I couldn’t help but be grateful. Indeed, Allah was the greatest of Planners.

The thing is, even in this messed up life of mine… if anyone had to look at my life, I had everything.

We had everything… but we didn’t have true love. The type that truly changes your heart. The real kind. The love that was true and pure and stemmed from the Greatest Love of all. What I didn’t know was that true love was not meant to throw you off balance. It was not meant to make you feel like you couldn’t breathe. It wasn’t supposed to feel as if you were scrounging around for air, just trying to gather enough to fill you in the pursuit of one satisfying breath. I had no idea that when you love deeply enough, you actually had to hold up, because something magical and deeply moving happens inside of you. I didn’t know that when you truly love, you become a better person because of it…

And as I looked at my husband right now, I couldn’t help but wonder where everything had started to fall apart. Since when did I start losing myself in this? When did I start feeling deserted in this union? When did this thing we had once called a marriage… become anything but?

“So what do you have to say for yourself?” I asked Shabeer, tapping my foot on the ground as I awaited the answer he would give me today. I didn’t want to be harsh, but today, I was so done.

Zaydaan was entertaining himself with some junk on my phone. I had phoned Dayyaan and Zia’s school to ask them to keep them in after-care. I had sent my father to watch them, just to make sure that they were safe.

I had already been through the rushing around in a frenzy and figuring out exactly how this situation had come so close to an emergency. I had already called Shabeer and demanded him to find out where Hannah was. I was now past the stage of walking around hopelessly, trying to figure out how else I could protect my sons. The fact that now I processed that Danyaal was here, instead of some shady whereabouts where I would have had no idea about, the emotions were entirely different.

And I could not be grateful enough to Khawlah who had taught my son how to ‘bite’. I know I sound completely crazy, but in these years that Khawlah had spend with my kids, I was completely unaware that she had been teaching them that we do live in a dangerous world. Maybe it was her own upbringing. In my constant need to always ‘protect’ my kids, I never considered the reality. I never thought that this could ever happen. Not to my kids.

I was furious. Anxious. Absolutely crazy with worry. I wanted to get my hands around Hannah’s skinny neck and strangle the life out of her.

Okay, I know I sound psycho too, but you get my drift.

“Honestly, Ruby,” Shabeer said, looking exhausted. He looked like he had aged a hundred years. The bags under his eyes looked almost hollow and his usually attractive hair was looking more dull than ever before. Even his skin wasn’t looking as great as it used to. He probably needed a serious detox. All his dirty secrets were beginning to show on his face, and I’m sure he didn’t like it.

“I don’t know what to say.”

“I thought so,” I shot back, starting to pace.

To tell the truth, things between Shabeer and I were a bit awkward. We had done ‘the talk’. The one about our future and everything that was probably going to go down with us. He had said that he loved me. He had made it no secret that he had divorced Hannah, on my account… despite me not asking for that.

Honestly, all I think I had become was an excuse. He had made it seem as if he wanted to change his entire life to be with me as a family… yet when I looked at him, all I saw was that empty soul that I once knew. I stared at him as he came closer to me. I wasn’t sure how to feel.

Right now, I just couldn’t stomach him. I was so confused. Maybe it was all the hype and emotion, but I really wasn’t sure where to go from here.

And when it came to Hannah, I wished that I could do something about her problems, but I had no idea where to start. I knew she was an addict. Shabeer had let me know that in no uncertain terms. He had tried to play the innocent bystander but I knew he was more guilty than that.

I sighed as I popped in to the sick room to check on Danyaal. His arm was scraped by a bush he had ran into just after he managed to escape. I was so grateful that the school caretaker was just coming on duty at the time and saw him make a run for it, after screaming. The caretaker had tried to get Hannah, but she had escaped in a silver car. That was all we knew.

“Mum, stop looking so worried,” Danyaal said calmly, letting the school nurse bandage his arm carefully. “I’m okay. See, Allah took care of me.”

I nodded and swallowed. My son was so brave. Unimaginably. He had more faith than me.

I could just imagine what I looked like. I was still frantic. The thought of what could have happened was eating me alive.

“You know she looked exactly like Khawlah from the back?”

I turned to Danyaal, narrowing my eyes. That was exactly what Hannah was aiming for. She made me so mad. She was certainly obsessed with Khawlah and I wasn’t even sure why.

The police were already onto her. The security company had patrol cars searching the area. We had every base covered yet there was no word of where she may be. How was I going to sleep tonight? 

“I’ve got people at the flat,” Shabeer said, moving closet to me, sensing my concern. “And at her mums place. They’re looking for clues. We’ll find her, babe. Stop stressing. She can’t go far.”

What’s to stop her from trying again? With one of the other kids? What’s to stop her from coming home? I was beside myself with worry.

And just when I thought that things couldn’t get any worse, the sound of my mothers voice echoed through the foyer in utter despair… and I honestly wished I could crawl under the school bed and hide.

Shabeer!” She cried, literally collapsing into my husbands arms as she saw us, heaving as she bawled her eyes out in devastation.

She glimpsed Danyaal sitting on the bed, and that was all it took to set her off all over again.

“Look what they did… our poor child..! What are we going to doooo?!”

Of course she would act like she was going through unprecedented agony. No-one else in the world was feeling emotional. Of course she would make this all about her. Typical of my mother. Never mind it was due to Shabeer’s idiotic choices that this had all happened… all my mother knew was to fling herself into the arms of the very man who was partly to blame here and make it all about her. Was I the only one who thought that the whole situation was completely messed up?

Shabeer was looking at me desperately, his eyes pleading with mine as he signalled for help. I turned away on purpose as my mother went on and on about how ‘we’ are going to deal with this, thinking it served him right.

Good, let him deal with her for once. I was tired of making excuses for him. The amazing part was that despite my mother knowing everything of Shabeer’s shenanigans, she still loved him to bits. It was crazy. Even I didn’t get as much affection as my womanising husband.

I ignored them as my phone buzzed with messages from Adam, as he drove back from a nearby riding grounds he used to attend as a kid. I knew he had taken Khawlah there and I did feel bad about dragging him back. I just needed my brother. He always had insight.. some advice to give.. or some amazing thing to say that I never thought of before.

He was still a good ten minutes away, though. He said that there was some way to track the car Hannah had come with, but he needed to be here to do it. He was talking about hacking some app that Hannah had on her phone and checking the last location…

It was all beyond my understanding. I planted a kiss on Danyaal’s forehead and took a seat so I could keep an eye on him. My mother collapsed into the seat opposite me dramatically. Shabeer looked relieved to be free, and I avoided eye contact with both of them as I heard him behind me, probably trying to decide what to say next.

”But how did she even get him outside?” Shabeer asked softly, careful not to let my mother hear. I didn’t tell him the full story. All I had managed to tell him was that Hannah had taken Danyaal and he had somehow managed to escape.

“Well, Khawlah’s name is on the list of people authorized to fetch him,” I said quietly, not needing to explain any more.

The secretary was absolutely distraught about the mistake. They were already putting new policies in place. As it was I could see the staff members milling around, stopping to ask if they found the getaway car as yet. It was a risk to the school as well.

”Oh shit, man,” Shabeer said, looking furious. “She did it again?”

His voice was getting louder and I cringed as he swore. My mothers sniffles were halting as she watched us, and I could already see her looking at us, now super curious.

I had to be careful with my mother. Anything was going to set her off. I could already see her looking around, like she was searching for some clues. Someone to blame. If she knew that it was Khawlah’s name that had been used, I knew it would be used as ammunition against my sister-in-law.

And of course, like Divinely sent, it was precisely at that moment when I glimpsed Adam race through the doorway, with Khawlah in quick pursuit. Shabeer got up as he saw them, and I could sense him getting a little edgy at their entrance.

“Did you call them?” He muttered, looking annoyed. I didn’t really care what he felt. Shabeer had a problem with most people who didn’t fall for his tricks. Of course, Adam headed straight for me, a look of absolute devastation on his face.

“Where’s Danyaal?”

I pointed to the room opposite us, and they both rushed in. It took them a few minutes, but as soon as I heard Danyaal’s laughter, my heart had already eased. Adam was here. He would sort it all out.

“I need a laptop Rubes,” he said, popping his head out and giving my mother a quick peck on the cheek. Of course she had been sitting there, all fussed up, until he acknowledged her.

I really had no words for her.

Khawlah had already taken Zaydaan from next to us, returned my phone and was entertaining him with some story about horses. He was mesmerized by her, and I was honestly not even sure how she did it.

Shabeer mumbled something about getting his PC from his car for Aadam, and I could spot my mother starting to whimper again, in feigned desperation. I could already tell that she was playing up because Adam was here.

”Ma, relax,” he was saying, trying to pry her hands off him. “Just keep reading, yeah? There’s nothing to worry about. We have to be grateful he’s okay.”

Here I was, all this time, sitting almost in limbo when all I had to do was use the sense that I had. Of course, there was no power here beyond Allah’s. Such a potentially dangerous situation had actually turned out to be okay. All we had to do was find Hannah. I was already feeling calmer after Adams words. I wasn’t sure how, but Adam just had an unbelievable knack of breaking down everyone’s issues and taking them on. He wasn’t afraid to get right in there, and he knew exactly how to make it all okay.

I turned to the door to wait for Shabeer, already feeling calmer as I read, hoping for the best of the situation. Shabeer was already rushing back with his laptop and Adam hastily tapped into it, as we waited in anticipation.

Each moment felt like hours. I could see Adam concentrating as he crouched on the low lying couch, frowning as he ferociously typed away. He was exceptionally good with computers and I stood mesmerised as he worked away, as one link lead to the other and another…

Khawlah stood diligently at his side with Zaydaan. He was murmuring something to her as he worked, and now that I was calmer and watched them, I was so much in awe of how the two of them just connected with each other. And as Shabeer nudged me from the side, I followed his gaze to where my mother sat, getting a shock as I glimpsed the look of pure vexation on her face.

I can assure you, if her eyes could narrowed any more, there would have probably been laser beams emitting from them. The fact that the two of them worked so efficiently, almost as if they were one person… so in synch with each other,  was probably what got her most. I was actually beginning to think that she resented seeing my brother happy. My mother was looking crazily scary as she stared Khawlah down, and though Shabeer and I could not miss this obvious insecurity of hers… the disturbing fact was that my poor brother was completely oblivious to it all. Even the school nurse had left the room, making some excuse, but I could tell that she sensed exactly that. The tension was that palpable.

My mother was literally piercing his wife with her eyes and Adam knew nothing. And it wasn’t just because he was concentrating. Adam would never ever assume that my mother had an evil streak that could potentially mess up his entire marriage. He would probably just smile his usual cock-eyed-eyebrow grin and say that she didn’t mean any harm. That was Adam, and sometimes I wanted to twist his ear in a most innocuous way, just so he could wake his damn case up. My mother was trouble.

I watched them, as Adam grinned at something Khawlah had said, I couldn’t help but let it digest. This was precisely what got to my mother. The comfort. The contentment. It was possible that she never felt it before. There’s was a bond that I couldn’t even comprehend… because it was just so easy. Truly happy, God-fearing, faithful couples make each other better people. They overlook faults. They work together through thick and thin.

Hell, they even overlook the very obvious death stares of a completely unreasonable mother-in-law.

I sighed, wishing I could do something to just get her to stop. To ease off. They were so happy.

It took a few minutes of discomfort, and as Adam rubbed his temples and sat back, I had an inkling that he had maybe given up on his task. My heart dropped momentarily.

“Khawlah, please check my phone,” he said eventually, glancing at her. “It should send a location.”

My heart was hammering in my chest now as he said it, realizing what it meant. He had found Hannah. Shabeer had already taken his phone out to call someone. Khawlah obediently looked up, and as she started to call out the address, she suddenly halted in mid-sentence as her voice broke… almost as if she was choking.

She thrust the phone at me, taking a seat as she covered her head in her hands spontaneously. It was really strange to see, because Khawlah was barely the dramatic type. I could hear Adam whispering something to her, and as I watched them, I could already see that something was up.

Shabeer was already on the phone with someone, instructing them to get there ASAP. I was all ready to leave with him as I grabbed my hand bag… before Khawlah’s voice spoke out..

“Wait,” she said suddenly, softly, but loud enough for us to hear.

Everyone in the room turned to her. Adam was sitting next to her with an open laptop and a worried look on his face. Zaydaan was sitting happily on the edge of his upper lap. Shabeer was looking irritated. I was confused.

My mother…well, she was just looking like her usual discontent self, as happened whenever she saw my brother and his wife together.

“Listen, tell them to wait,” she said, closing her eyes momentarily as she said it. “The address… it’s somewhere I know really well. It’s the house that we stayed at as kids. There’s a reason Hannah went there.”

I halted in my tracks as I looked at her, quite perplexed by this revelation. I knew that Hannah and Khawlah had some connection but I never did know that they had stayed together as kids. It was something she never spoke about to me, and neither did Hannah. I never delved into their history. I guess everyone had some skeletons in the closet. Although my mothers eyes were popping out in complete bewilderment, this revelation explained a lot. It might even explain Hannah’s unfailing obsession with Khawlah, that was even beyond human reason.

“I don’t think anyone else should go,” she said carefully, biting her lip and looking at Adam. “I have a feeling this is about me. I need to be the one to do this.”


Sunnah reminder: Speaking Kindly: Abu Hurayrah(RA) relates that Nabi (SAW) may , said: “Whoever believes in God and the Last Day should speak a good word or remain silent.  And whoever believes in God and the Last Day should show hospitality to his neighbor.  And whoever believes in God and the Last Day should show hospitality to his guest.”

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15 thoughts on “Chasing History

  1. I’m gripped!!!! Why is she obsessed with khawlah. She hates her??? Enjoying every bit of it Masha Allah 🌺🌺
    At least ruby noticed Aadams oblivion to his moms hostility towards khawlah. It’ll be some back up for her

    Liked by 7 people

  2. Ya Allaah!!!
    What is going on…
    What is Hannah up to?????
    I feel Khawlah so sorry that Hanah’s obsession with her and her mother in law’s hatred for her is making her life very difficult…

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Gripping read as always Ma Sha Allah, Allah grant us the ability to take lessons Aameen

    Is there going to be more drama now when Khawlah goes to face Hannah, please don’t let anyone get hurt, I’m a softie like that

    Liked by 3 people

  4. This left me on the edge of my seat !!
    This suspense 🙈
    I hope Rubeena can do something about her Mother’s dislike towards Khawlah.
    Jazakallah khair for the post ❤️
    Can’t wait for the next!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Wow I read this blog from the start in a days time and I’m hooked👅 it’s amazing❤️ Adam really sees the best in everyone even his mother💓 I guess that’s a good thing because no one really wants to know that their mother doesnt really like the spouse they chose💖

    Liked by 1 person

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