CHAPTER 8 (continued)

Posted: May 16, 2014 in Uncategorized


CHAPTER 8 (continued)

“I know you” the birthday girl says to me. “You gave us the house”.

I smile, “Yes I showed you the house that day you came with your mummy and daddy”. I feel an instant connection with her. I remember her the day they all came to see the house, she was so bright and confident.

“Did you come to take it back?” she asked worriedly.

“No, its your house now” I say assuringly, “I just came to see if everything is OK”

“good, I like it” she says. I smile.

“Happy Birthday!” I tell her. She smiles back at me. “Did you bring me a present she asks?

I smile at her candor, “Yes”, I rely.

“Thank you” she says politely. “Do you want to play?” she asks, clearly not concerned about what it is.

“Sure, What are you doing?” I ask. She explains that together with her new friends, they are making a garden. She introduces her friends who are all very chatty and want to know all sorts of details about me. They ask where I live, and if I am married, and what’s my favourite colour. One even asked me where I got my shoes from, “cos her mummy only buys her shoes from Aldo in Sandton”  Aah, children , I think.

“what’s your name?” she asks me, “My name is Jameela” she volunteers.

“Im Farnaz” I say not sure if I should have said Aunty Farnaz.

“And what do your friends call you?”

I hesitate. My friends???

“My daddy calls me Jam, because he says I’m so sweet, and sometimes my friends call me that too” she says shyly.

“Naazi” I said,  “My friends call me Naazi” I smile. She looks happy with that and continues playing. I smile inwardly as I think that the first friend I make is a 7 year old girl. Husna will be in stitches when I tell her.

We begin to make her garden. The baby also seems to enjoy all the female company and she starts to blow bubbles and gurgles. I look over at the back of the house and it is as spectacular as I remember, actually even more so. The late afternoon sun casts a shadow over the far end of the back façade. They have added new wooden panels frames that articulate the windows magnificently and choice of paint is boldly distinct. The flat roof overhangs the second story glass walls. The patio is shaded by the second story cantilever supported by offset columns. I’m lost in the beauty of the house for a moment and take a mental picture. People are like houses, I think. Being in Estates for a long time the theory has been proven over and over. I have noticed how even the most beautifully sculptured house could have a devastating sewerage problem that isn’t immediately apparent. I also know that sometimes an over-done facade could be just making up for what it lacks inside, exclusive floor and wall treatments sometimes is just hiding damp that’s rotting the house from within. I try hard to find the faults in this house. They are either well hidden, or I just haven looked hard enough.

Suddenly Hasina is next to me. I try not to make eye contact with her, but I do look at Jameela, her eyes widen with excitement as she proudly talks to her mummy. A pang of jealousy shoots through me. I turn my attention towards the baby, but my thoughts are of Hasina. I think about how different we are. She is the typical rich housewife whose biggest problem is what to cook everyday. She probably does the school run and is on the school board. She spends her time planning teas and fundraisers and thinks she has done the world a favour. Her kind knows every designer bag and plans their week by their wardrobe. They don’t know when the petrol price goes up, or when there is a new minister of parliament. They fail to see the world beyond this place that they live in. What could we possibly talk about.

The children get up to leave, and then its just me and Hasina. We sit in silence, I fidget nervously with the baby’s clothes, and try to ignore the awkward silence. When I eventually look up, we catch each others eye. I smile politely. She looks like she wants to speak to me. I take a deep breath. Here goes.



That wasn’t so bad, I think as I am walking back to the patio. I’m still holding the baby, whose name I know now to be Nasreen. Hasina told me that she is her niece after having to explain to me about her two brothers. I was a relieved it wasn’t the one I met. The woman with him looked way too young to possess any motherly inclinations, but she did seem to have the instinct of a wild boar. The conversation with Hasina was surprisingly easy, I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all and even lost my guard for a moment. I surprised myself as I actually began to enjoy speaking to her. I even felt a stroke of disappointed when she was called away by her sister in law. Nasreen is still comfortable in my hands and I walk a little slower enjoying my time with her. She seems to like my rhythm and she nuzzles her face in my neck as I change her position. We stop to look at some flowers and she grabs them. I am surprised by her strength as I pull it away before she finds her mouth.

Hussain waves for me to join him and I do. He watches me holding the baby, then I watch him looking at her. I can tell he wants to hold her but refuses. When he starts to play with her my heart takes a jump to my throat. It’s heartwarming. I wish I knew what he is thinking. He tries to make her laugh, and succeeds. The goofy look on his face makes me laugh too. He eyes me, his look makes me shy. I think about the Taalim and the story of Ebrahim and Sarah. It’s still possible I think. I have to talk to him about it. I make a silent dua for it.

In the car on the way home, my head is racing. Jameela, the baby, Hasina, Hussain. There is so much to think about, before I know it we are home. I need to speak to Hussain and tell him that I am ready to try and get pregnant again. All that has happened today has given me the motivation that I needed all this time.

Back home, Hussain and I fall back into routine again and I feel my motivation waiver. Mustering up all my courage I gather my thoughts and seek him out. He isn’t in the house. I know where he is. I make my way outside to the shed and take a deep breath. I see him through the shed window in profile hunched over the wing of the plane. Then I see it, it catches the light for split second as it rolls down his cheek. I don’t believe it, then I see another. My knees go weak. I have never seen him cry before.



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