Assalamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh…
Today’s Thursday so I couldn’t leave you’ll hanging. Isn’t that sweet of me?😉 you won’t be thinking I’m sweet when you’re done with this post though. This isn’t a continuation of the previous or the coming posts, hence the different title. It’s just what the title says, a sneak peek sometime into the future. A sneak peek of what’s to come in the coming season. The next season will start where I left off so this is a once off, unconnected post. Enjoy…especially all the suspense😜
Shouting. Voices raised above each other. Footsteps thundering on the polished floors. The metallic sound of guns being drawn. And above all that, the screaming. The ear-splitting screams that seemed to go on and on, reverberating through the space, renting the air with the sound of pure agony…
“Faz! Fazila! Wake up! It’s just a dream, only a dream…”
My eyes flew open to look into mum’s distressed ones, her hands still shaking me gently bringing me out of the terror the had gripped me in it’s jaws. My throat felt raw, making me realise that I’d been screaming in my sleep…again.
I clutched my arms around myself the moment mum let go of me, rolling myself up into a tight ball. I rocked back and forth silently, trying to escape the images that flashed before my eyes vividly, replaying in my mind with renewed brutality. I felt mum’s hand on my back.
“Go back to sleep, sweety. It’s still early.”
I raised hollow eyes to meet hers, accepting her plea with a wordless nod. Mum hesitated, probably wondering whether to leave me alone in this state.
“I’ll be fine,” I said hoarsely, “go back to sleep.”
Mum nodded and backed out of there hesitantly. I barely noticed her go, my mind elsewhere…on that night…the memories I’d shoved deep into the recesses of my mind brought forth again by the nightmare. With a grunt I got to my feet. I wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep. I never did.
I went to the bathroom and made wudhu then prayed tahajjud and made dua afterwards, letting out all my anguish, my suppressed pain and sorrow infront of the only One who truly understood me. I picked up the Qur’an and started reading, letting the words wash over me, soothe me, wash away the remnants of the nightmare.
Dawn had set in by the time I put down my Qur’an. I prayed my fajr then made my way downstairs and out the kitchen door, making my way to the garden seat that was placed strategically on one side, looking out over the lush green lawn and vibrant rose bushes bordering the back garden. It was cold and I pulled my shawl tighter around myself to ward off the chill. The sky was lightening, streaks of pinks, purples and blues arcing across the deeper blue. This was my favourite time of the day; quite ironic since I’d always loved going back to sleep after fajr before. Now I relished the peace and quiet of pre-dawn when even the birds hadn’t roused out of their slumber yet. This was my time, when I could just be me. When I didn’t have to put on a brave front infront of my family. When I didn’t have to pretend I was getting stronger by the day, that I was moving on and healing inside, when the truth was that I was dying a little more inside each day.
“Faz?” I hadn’t heard the footsteps approaching so I started a bit when mum appeared before me suddenly. I moved over a bit to allow her to sit down next to me.
“How you feeling?” Mum asked quietly.
“Fine, Alhamdulillah,” I responded automatically.
Mum sighed. “You don’t have to pretend with me, you know…” when I didn’t respond she touched my hand briefly, “it was worse this time, neh?”
I didn’t ask her what she meant. I knew. “Yes,” I replied. I kept the memories of that night so tightly locked away that a scab had formed over them, shielding them from me…till I had these nightmares. Then the protective layer was ripped away, exposing the wound beneath. The time after each nightmare was always the worst, when the pain, sorrow and loss were the freshest, leaving me reeling under the onslaught until I could somehow manage to cover it all up again and shove it back where it belonged. “How did you know?” I asked mum.
“Your screams. Usually they’re loud but not so…painful. This time you were screaming so much I thought you’d snapped.” She touched my hand again, “I mean it, Faz. You don’t have to pretend for me. You don’t have to pretend for anyone. I know you put on a brave front to make us worry less but we can see through it. We know you’re not healing because you don’t want to! Darling,” she took my face in her hands, “don’t pretend for us. Don’t even make the effort for us. Do it for yourself. For your own well being. Look at you, you’ve gone so thin. You can’t carry on like this, you’ll make yourself sick. And remember, there’s not just you now,” her hands left my face, moved downwards till they came to rest on the swell of my stomach, “you’re carrying a child, sweety. You’re responsible for another person now. If you make yourself sick you’ll harm your baby. Look after yourself for your baby at least,” her eyes looked pleadingly into mine and I nodded, dredging up a small smile to reassure her. She didn’t know how difficult it really was, moving on. She didn’t understand, none of them did. How did I begin to explain the loss of someone so essential to me it was like ripping a vital organ from my body, leaving me a bloody mess then expecting me to pick myself up and survive. How was such a thing possible??
“Oh, that made me remember. Nilofar sent this for you. It’s good for the baby, she said.” She placed a small container in my hands, containing what looked like fresh, sweetened ginger. I wrinkled up my nose.
“Does she know it has to go through me to get to the baby?” I asked sarcastically. There was no love lost between the monster inlaw and I, a fact she had made clear time and again. If she was even making an effort it was solely due to the baby, not me. Though I guess I shouldn’t call her a monster. She was the grandmother of my baby after all, a relationship I would have to make sure I nurtured. It wouldn’t be fair to deprive the baby of it’s dadi just because I couldn’t be in the same space as her without sparks flying.
Mum laughed a little. “I’m sure she’s well aware of that. And if she can make you angry as well then I’m grateful to her. It means you can finally feel emotions, even the not-so-good ones. That’s a good sign.”
“Hard to feel anything with a dead heart,” I muttered then was surprised at myself for admitting that to her.
“Sweety, I know it’s hard,” mum drew me into her arms, “I’m not saying it’s easy. But it’s been months. You have to look after yourself. And like I said, you have a baby now. Ahmed is gone but you have his baby at least. Look after yourself for him or her at least. And keep looking forward, sweety. If you refuse to move out of the past you’ll never move forward. Look ahead, look into your future and take steps in that direction then you’ll come out of this hole you’ve buried yourself in, inshaAllah.” With a final tight hug mum left me, going back inside the house. I looked down at the swell of my stomach, visible even under the shawl. I placed my hands on it gently, feeling the small movement inside.
“Only us two, nunu,” I whispered, “only the two of us now. Me and you.”
And then the tears started. Rising up from somewhere deep inside me, they flowed out of my eyes, seeping into the parched, cracked, barren plains of my heart, drawing from it all the pain, the grief and sorrow that had choked it. The pain consumed me, never ending, a fire that burned hotter than ever, making me curl into myself even as it swept me along to fates unknown…