CHAPTER 16(continued)

Posted: July 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

transformation definition

It’s the little things that you notice that makes all the difference. – Farnaz (transformation)

Im Farnaz I met some of you at Taalim with my sister in law Husna” I say as confidently as I can pretend. This is meted by aahs and questions of, how is Husna? And please give salaams.

Once introductions are done, the waiter comes to take the order and I am grateful. I need caffeine. “hmm coffee” I hear Hasina say under her breath softly. I turn and smile at her. She sees me and says, “think I need a double espresso shot today”. I could be mistaken but there is something different about her today. I can’t put my finger on it immediately but she seems unsettled. I assume she is tired, so I ask, “Did you have a late night?” With a sullen half smile she say, “er, Ya. Very late” she said , eyes downcast, and I decide not to pursue the subject.

Across from me Radeeya, a large woman whose style has not been affected by her size, speaks confidently, “So , It’s the second time I have been here” she begins. “Our bookclub came here a month ago. It was amazing”. This cues a buzz of how good this place is, and who has been here before and what is good on the menu. I wonder about Radeeya’s bookclub and I am surprised that any of these women read books. The Capetownian voice in my head warns me to keep an open mind and I resolve to do so. Amina takes charge of the orders and orders the rest of the ladies to decide what they want. I order a cappuccino and since the place is halaal I wonder if I should indulge in a chocolate mousse cake. I turn to look at the revolving cake stand at the end of the room and I see Hasina doing the same. We share a smile and she says, “Chocolate mousse looks good” reading my mind. “I was thinking the same thing”, I say and without hesitation I quickly add, “Do you want to share?” Once the words are out of my mouth, I want to put it back in. is this too much? I wonder.

As I wait for a reply, the blood rushes to my face in embarrassement. I am just about to take back my offer with a feeble excuse, when she agrees and I try my best to hide my flushed cheeks.

Amina makes small talk with the waitress while the rest of the ladies make their decisions. “..Er..Thandiswa?” Amina asks peering at her nametag. “Yes” the waitress replies kindly, happy to be acknowledged. “how long are you working here?” Amina asks her interested, giving everyone time to scan the menus. Looking back at Thandiswa she seems happy to answer her. I can imagine the only things people ever ask waitresses are about the specials or the menu. “I have been working here for one year” she says in perfect English. Maybe it’s because amina looks really interested in her ,that she volunteers –  “I used to work at edgars”. Amina nods but says nothing as if waiting for more information, “I had to take another job, because I couldn’t afford my fees”. She looks down now, worried and nervous that she has given too much information. I turn away from their conversation, not wanting to embarrass her. The other ladies are having their own conversations and hasina seems to be studying the menu as if she will be tested later. I start to fumble in my bag, but focus my ears on the conversation again. “What are you studying?” Amina asks. And I hear the waitress reply. “I always wanted to be a doctor…





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