Well, well, look who posted!😱 lucky for you’ll I was in a writing mood lol…
I don’t know if this happens to other authors but I get influenced by other people’s writings so sometimes while writing a certain post I’ll have that writing style in mind. I’m not sure if I end up kinda imitating their style then lol but they definitely inspire me. My muse today was Neymat Raboobee so I’ll dedicate this post to her🤗 anyone else this happens to?
I stood looking at the large, familiar house looming above me in the darkness. It had been months since I’d come here. It invoked mixed feelings in me; part of me felt that old familiarity that comes from living in a house that we call a home, and part of me felt like turning around and running away from the house of horrors as I’d started calling it, before the unpleasant memories assailing me completely overpowered me. Well, it was too late to run in any case. The oak double doors were already swinging open, revealing a dimly lit interior.
“Come in,” a familiar voice rapped out.
We followed her into the front lounge. Daddy was already sitting there and he rose to his feet with a smile as we entered.
“Fazila, Ahmed. Come, sit.”
We took a seat opposite my parents inlaw. Both of them looked haggard though mummy was looking livid as well. She barely let us sit down fully before she started.
“Ahmed, do you know anything about this idiotic plan of hers?” She ignored me completely, focusing only on her son.
Ahmed shook his head, looking baffled. “I don’t know anything except what you told me on the phone. Gone? Gone where?”
“If I knew that would I be sitting here asking you that?” Mummy snapped, “this is all she left behind to inform us,” she thrust a piece of paper at Ahmed. The note was brief and to the point.
I’ve left home for good. Don’t come looking for me because you won’t find me. Tell daddy and Dalia that I love them.
The lack of love directed at her mother was glaringly obvious and probably part of the reason mummy was so furious. It was also due to the lack of control she was feeling, as we found out with her next words.
“How dare she??? Who does she think she is, running away like this when she feels like it?? How selfish of her! Doesn’t she think that we might be worried or anything? But no, that girl only thinks of herself!”
“It says she’s left for good,” Ahmed began carefully, only to be cut off by his mother’s derisive snort.
“What left for good? She’ll be back in a few days, watch! How’s she going to survive without daddy’s money? That girl hasn’t worked a day in her life!”
“That might be true but we still have to look for her. What if something happens to her?” Ahmed asked.
“Phone her then. I tried a while back but her phone was off,” mummy said, leaning back and folding her arms across her chest.
Ahmed tried repeatedly to phone Humi but got the same message; her phone was off. “It’s off,” he said finally, putting away his phone with a defeated look on his face.
“Does your wife know anything? Humi was quite fond of her apparently,” mummy’s lip curled in a sneer.
“Ask her yourself, mummy. She’s sitting right here,” Ahmed said pointedly.
Mummy shot him a foul look and turned to me reluctantly. Instead of repeating her question she raised her eyebrows and managed somehow to stare down her nose at me. I returned her look calmly.
“No, I don’t know anything. Humi didn’t mention anything to me.” She had alluded to the fact a few weeks back but that had been vague and didn’t provide us with any clues so I didn’t bother bringing it up.
“So now what?” Mummy turned to daddy pointedly.
Daddy sighed. “I don’t know. I keep wondering why she would run away. She didn’t seem upset or anything these past few days.”
“Humi said she was very unhappy here and wanted to run away,” a timid voice spoke up from the corner. We all turned in surprise to see Dalia curled up on the corner sofa, a scared look on her face. I hadn’t even seen her sitting there, her petite frame almost swallowed up by the large sofa.
“Dalia! What are you doing here??? Didn’t I tell you to go sleep???” Mummy lashed out angrily. The poor girl jumped up and fled from the room with tears in her eyes. I exchanged a glance with Ahmed. I felt so sorry for the inmates of this house. It felt more like a prison than a home. I could already feel that claustrophobic feeling closing over me and squirmed in my seat, eager to get this over with and get away.
“Speaking nonsense. Humi was filling her head up with rubbish as usual,” mummy huffed.
“There might be more truth in her words than you realise. Humi wasn’t exactly on your good side, was she? You shouted at her over the smallest things,” daddy said in one of his rare outbursts. It had the usual, expected effect.
“Oh so now it’s my fault??? Everything is my fault, neh? You’ll are saints and I’m the devil! May as well just tell me that I’ve killed my daughter and buried her in the backyard!” Mummy’s voice had risen as she spoke, till she practically screamed out the last few words. Daddy said nothing, simply sighed heavily in response. I could feel a headache building up and nudged Ahmed to leave now.
“Okay, mummy, daddy, keep trying to phone Humi or get in touch with her in any way. We’ll also do the same. And we can start asking around to see if anyone’s seen her or knows where she is. Any friends of hers…? Because we can’t get the police involved so soon.”
“Now, no need to panic so fast. I’m telling you, she’ll be back in a few days. Maybe she thinks she’ll teach us a lesson this way or what. God knows how that girl thinks. So wait for a few days before letting anyone know. No need to worry anyone else unnecessarily.”
“But mummy, we have to start asking around! What if something happens…”
“You’re worrying for nothing, Ahmed. Wait few days then see. No need to let anyone know so fast.”
I had been staring at her in bafflement, wondering which mother halted investigations simply based on the feeling that her daughter will come back…then she repeated her last sentence and suddenly it clicked. Nilofar Cassim was more worried about what people will say at her daughter’s disappearance than at the present state of her daughter. She would actually risk her daughter’s well being for keeping things hush-hush. Did such selfish parents actually exist??? I could not wrap my head around it even a whole hour later.
“She’s more worried about her reputation than her daughter??? What kind of mother is she???” I vented to Ahmed as we readied ourselves for bed for the second time that night.
“I don’t know what goes on in her head man. Even daddy looked angry when she said that,” Ahmed shook his head.
“He was wise to keep his mouth shut this time,” I commented.
“Yeah, it won’t make a difference with her.”
“You don’t listen to her, Ahmed. You do whatever it takes to locate Humi. What mummy doesn’t know won’t hurt her,” I said urgently.
Ahmed nodded. “That’s what I was thinking. Find out her friends and try to contact them discreetly. I’ll give you a few names tomorrow and you can start from there. I’ll ask her male friends, you ask her female friends.”
I nodded and we both made dua for her safety before going to sleep.
“She’s still missing. Not a word or sign of her in all this time. We’ve asked everyone we could think of. We’ve even gone to the police after mummy finally realised that she has no choice. Everyone’s talking about it now but no one has a clue about where she is,” I heaved a sigh and poured boiling water and milk over the coffee grounds I’d measured out in a mug. Taking my coffee in one hand and a plate of biscuits in another I joined Han on the low sofa, curling up on the other end. I loved these low floor sofas. They were so comfy and looked so nice as well. I should have bought some for my house, I thought, though I couldn’t have since we had moved into a fully furnished house. I let my eyes wander around Han’s lounge. Like the rest of the house it was simply but tastefully furnished. The house itself wasn’t so big…three bedrooms, only one of which was a master bedroom; the room Han’s mother inlaw had given up for her son and new daughter inlaw two months back. She and her daughters slept in the second room while her youngest son had the third room to himself. They lived more simply than we had ever lived yet there was so much happiness and barakah in this house. Once again I compared it to my mother inlaws house. What didn’t they have, I thought to myself. Wealth, luxury, their every whim catered to…fame, a high place in society. Yet the massive, luxurious mansion felt like a prison. And this house, so simple and small in comparison but it felt so warm and friendly and welcoming.
Many a poor person sleeps contentedly in a hut and many a rich person tosses and turns the whole night in a mansion.
The kind of house I wouldn’t mind living in. And obviously Han felt the same way, I thought, noting my sister’s glowing, contented face…the kind of glow that hadn’t left her face since moving in with her husband…though the ever-present smile was now absent, a frown marring her forehead in its place.
“You’ll haven’t heard from her in two weeks??? Isn’t that worrying? I’m sure she wouldn’t deliberately stay away, would she?”
I shrugged helplessly. “I have no idea, man. We’ve tried everything we could. Not a single person has seen her anywhere, and my in-laws know a lot of people. They’ve even hired private detectives to try and track her down but nothing so far. It’s like she left town or something.”
“Hmmmmm,” Han looked deep in thought, “or she’s holing up with someone somewhere and not leaving the house. What about her car? Can’t they track that down?”
“Her car is safe and sound at her house. She didn’t take it. She left on foot.”
“She walked?? Where on earth could she have walked at night??”
“She didn’t leave at night. She left before maghrib, telling mummy she’s going to the small corner shop nearby to buy something. She never came back and she didn’t go to that shop either. She went somewhere else.”
“Ya Allah, this is so worrying. Keep making dua, man. So scary, you don’t know if she’s even alive or…”
“Don’t!” I interrupted, “don’t go there!” It was the uppermost thought plaguing all our minds. What if……
Han nodded and took a mouthful of coffee. We chatted about other random things before I got up to leave.”
“Come back soon. You never come visit me!” Han complained playfully as she accompanied me to the door.
I rolled my eyes. “Like we don’t see each other every weeks at mum’s!”
“But still, that’s different. Here I know you only came for me.”
“Psshhttt, who said I came for you? I came for your mother inlaw’s naan khatai,” I grinned, licking my lips. I laughed and ducked when Han aimed a punch at me, a mock scowl on her face.
“Here, Fazila, take some naan khatai for you and Maulana Ahmed,” Aunt Firoza came bustling up, holding a small Tupperware in her hands.
“Oh, Aunt Firoza, you shouldn’t have!” I exclaimed, “but jazakallah. I was just telling Han how much I love your naan khatai.” I took the Tupperware and hugged her.
Aunt Firoza smiled. “Enjoy it and make dua for us. And come again. Next time I’ll make baklava for you. These lot love it so much, they finish it all the same day.”
“Aah, ammi, don’t tell her that! Then she’ll come again just for the food, not for us!” Han complained.
I barely heard her. I was staring at Aunt Firoza like she had offered water to a dying person; namely me. “Aunt Firoza, if you make good baklava I’ll kiss your feet and be your slave for life!” I loved the flaky, nutty sweetmeat but I had only tasted one good one in my whole life…and fallen in love with it. Since then I’d tried making it many times and even gotten mum to try but it just wasn’t the same as that one. That taste…I was salivating just thinking of it. Aunt Firoza laughed.
“Let me know in advance when you’re coming. I’ll make for you, inshaAllah.”
Han rolled her eyes while I beamed at this lovely woman. She really was a lovely woman though, baklava and naan khatai aside. And I loved the relationship between Han and her. They were so close and free with each other, like a mother-daughter relationship. May Allah always keep them that way, I said under my breath as I drove home.
I entered my silent house, Tupperware of naan khatai in hand. I was passing the lounge when a movement in the doorway caught my eye. Whipping my head around I saw a huge thug emerge from the lounge, the weak, late afternoon sunlight glinting off something silver in his hand.