CHAPTER 8 (continued)

Posted: May 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

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CHAPTER 8 (continued)

I decide to cut my tour short and head back outside to join the rest of the party. When I get to the back yard I immediately spot Hussain. He is talking to his University friend and a few others. He has his back towards me but I immediately recognize the slight hunch he has adopted since he began his model plane hobby a year ago. They seem to be getting on very well. I think its so much easier for men, their conversations are so superficial. As long as you know some arbitrary facts about cars and can name a few famous footballers, you on the inside. If a baboon hobbled up and questioned Lionel Messi’s strike rate, they would probably argue the point first before even considering the source.

I eye the several groups of women scattered along the backyard. The voice in my head, with a suspicious Cape Town accent says, ‘Go Farnaz… and be nice, kanella’.  I decide to give it a try. The first group has some older ladies. Hasina is with them, she is serving something from the buffet. I decide against that group. I look further on and none of them seem my type, as I was going to give up I notice a familiar face. Its takes me a few seconds to recognize a lady I met at Taalim. That’s Glitter ball. She was one dressed to…blind. I don’t remember her name. She isn’t competing with the cosmos today, but could still light up the dark side of the moon. She is the only one here today wearing abhaya and hijab. Well, better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know, I think. I remember my mother using that phrase. I walk in Glitter Ball’s direction. There are several other women with her. Before I can change my mind, she looks up and sees me coming. Right, I think,  now I just hope and pray she remembers me. “Assalamu alaikum” I say to her, she is still holding my gaze. “Wa Alaikum Salaam” she greets me back. I mentally sigh a relief, at least I wasn’t ignored. “Er….Husna’s Sister in Law, right? She asks to my relief. She turns slightly as she speaks to me. The rest of the ladies continue their conversation. “Jee” I adopt the respectful answer, she is in Abhaya and Hijab after all. “Mumtaz told us the other day, that you’ll be joining us for coffee next week”. She says ‘Us’ as if she is permanently attached to those group of ladies. I find it strange since none of them are here today. “Jee, Insha Allah” I’m going all out in the respectful talk. I sound a bit funny to myself. She doesn’t seem to notice.  “I can’t wait. We have been dying to go to that new place in Rosebank. They have these gorgeous Spanish donuts called churros that are dipped in caramel and chocolate..” she is off on a tangent now, Still talking in the plural “.. and have these fillings that are to die for. They even have melon jam and all types of coffees and teas.” She stops and takes a breath, I wonder if she is done. I get my answer, “… and they even halaal so we don’t have to worry about the daroo (Indian word for alcohol). Mumtaz has been there and she couldn’t stop talking about it. Nearly everyone is talking about it” she says proudly. I am mpressed at her lung capacity to speak without pause. I smile and nod a response. Mumtaz gave me the details of the coffee date, over the phone that day, but I had no idea the venue was the talk of the town. “Do you know the girls?” she asks me referring to the other ladies around her. I shake my head. She does introductions, Moe’s wife is here too, and I remember her from the day she brought me the keys for the house show. She does too and I get a knowing smile from her and a wink. The ladies continue their conversation and I try to keep up. “So Brooke and Ridge are at it again” says Fatima…NO her name is ….Rahima. Urgh, I can’t remember. I have never been good with names. I know faces but names go into the bamuda triangle in my brain never to surface again. I try to focus on the conversation again, “ But isn’t Hope getting married to Thorn’s son, They like half cousins right?” that comment came from a lady with a fake British accent. I nearly dropped to the floor and rolled over laughing, first because the accent was so bad, and second because they are talking about THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES!!!. I had to pinch my inner arm to keep from exploding into laughter. I stopped caring about day-time soap operas when I began university, although I still was forced to watch the odd episode with my Dadi. She was hooked on it like a drug. She even made sure she watched on Eid day, no matter what. I remember especially how she hated Ridges mother…er what was her name? From what I hear the story line hasn’t really changed that much. I listen for a bit but staying focused on the latest drama is not easy. Soon my gaze starts wandering and I am starring at the outside architecture. I immediately notice that it has been renovated too. When I first saw the house I sat at the bottom of the garden looking at the back walls. The architecture from that position was the most dramatic. Now that it’s changed, I long to go back there and see how it looks from that angle. The ladies are all enthralled in the conversation. I start to leave and nobody notices. As I walk away I hear the conversation turn to Oprah Winfrey’s new show.

The spot I am looking for is at the bottom of the garden by the playground. The playground is now full of children. I begin to walk towards it. There are a few prams with a promise of babies and I am drawn towards it. They are guarded by the domestic worker that doesn’t seem to be concerned with me. When I look into the first pram I am rewarded with a bundle of frills and lace. She is a gorgeous baby girl attempting to devour her toes. Her cheeks are pink and flushed. She gurgles and coos. I watch her intently as she struggles lace and ligaments to get her toes into her mouth. She lets out a howl from sheer frustration. I lean into pick her up just as her cries begin to get more desperate. The domestic is immediately by my side. “Can I hold her?” I ask freezing my movements, assuming she is responsible for the baby. The young domestic seems relieved. “Yes Ma – dam , it OKay. If she trouble you, jus bring haa to me’” she says in her Zulu accent. I smile and nod.

She’s weightless in my arms and it feels like carrying a cloud. She seems happy to be released from the confines of her pram and coos happily. She finds my index finder and holds it tightly. The sensation of little fingers wrapping around my finger sends a shiver down my spine. I hold her close and breathe her in. She smells like…. Baby. There is no other description. The smell is beyond the creams and powders and lotions. It is the smell of new life, of fresh skin and new possibilities. I touch her feet. New and unused. It is so soft it feels like it will melt in my hands. I walk closer to the spot I am looking for. I notice the Vally’s daughter there. She is surrounded by other little girls. It’s her birthday, I remember. She is dressed as a princess. I move closer and sit against the tree propping the baby up on my knee.

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