CHAPTER 17 (Continued)

Posted: July 10, 2014 in Uncategorized

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Most of the ladies had returned to their private conversations, until Shakira, the older woman from Taalim asked, “Did anyone hear about Laika’s sister?”

Her question is met with nods and head shakes as she fills in the blanks. “Her sister had stomach cancer for 7 years, and lived with her for 2 years. When I went there a month ago she was looking very ill, so when I heard about the mayyet I wasn’t surprised.”

“Laika was devastated” continued Mumtaz. “She was so close to her sister and used to do everything for her. It was so hard. I remember the once when I went over, she didn’t even sit down for a minute, she took such good care of her sister”, she paused, “Her sister was bedridden and incontinent towards the end, our group at the home used to visit and help her out twice a week, but it was still hard for her”. I listened surprised that Mumtaz volunteers. I thought these women think only about themselves and the next shoe sale. The thought settles in my mind as I drift back to when I was the daughter of a cancer patient. I remember the volunteer ladies who came over to help my mother after her hospital trips.  At the time , they were like angels at our darkest moment. I look back at Mumtaz now, and I see her in a whole different light.

Shakira related a story about Laika, “Last year when she went for Umrah, I met her in Madina, and all she was talk about was her sister and how worried she was about her”. The other ladies all shook their heads in sympathy. Aamina leaned over to me and whispered, “Laika used to be a teacher. She taught most of our kids in nursery school before she left to look after her sister”. I turned and smiled thankfully at Aamina for filling me in. The mood was somber for a few minutes until the waitress came over with a jug of water and some glasses. A few ladies ordered more drinks. Sumaya and sister in law got up and said, “Thank you guys, its been fun” she turned in Mumtaz’s direction , “We’ll beat to guys next time” she said with a wink. So nice to meet all of you, but we have to dash. Hubby and I have been invited out for supper-”  Her sister in law next to her laughed and said, “..and I invited them”.

“So nice to meet you all” Sumayya said, turning to mumtaz, “you must let us know when we can meet again, It was so nice to get away from the house”.  Mumtaz nodded, got up and kissed her cheek which sparked a greeting frenzy as everyone began to follow suit. When they got to me I thought, “when in Rome” and got up and did the same.  “I was admiring your hair all afternoon, you must send me the number of your hairdresser” she whispered to me and pulled out her card and handed it to me. when she left I look down at the card and read “Sumayya Desai : exclusive imported hijabs”. I laughed at the irony. Was she trying to tell me something?



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