CHAPTER 21 (final)

Posted: August 9, 2014 in Uncategorized
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And then suddenly things are different – Farnaz

What just happened?, I wonder as I am left standing in the middle of her lounge alone. I sit back down stupidly.

“Aunty Nazi” I hear Jameela’s voice. As she runs into the lounge.

“I didn’t know you came to visit”, she says. Then realizing that she found me alone in the room she asks, “What are you doing here?”

I laugh. There are no words to describe this perceptive little girl.

“I’m waiting for you” I say animatedly. She seems pleased.

“Are you enjoying your trampoline?” I ask her and I am surprised how my words flow so easily with her.

“Yes, it’s so much of fun, But mummy says only one person is allowed at a time and Bilal doesn’t want to take turns and he is not giving me a chance” she says all in one breathe and clearly annoyed.

“Hmm” I say. “Do you think he will give me a chance?” I ask her and her face lights up and she begins to laugh hysterically. What a beautiful sound I think.

you want to jump on my trampoline?” she confirms still very amused. I nod. She gets serious now. And then takes a moment to think. “you’ll have to take off your shoes” she says pointing to my kitten heels.

Her brother runs in, “It’s your turn Jameela” he says stopping short when he sees me. He was clearly expecting his mother. “Salaam Bilal” I say. I don’t get a response. I think he is shy. “You going to play fair now” Jameela warns him, and he nods his head. “Are you coming?” she turns to me and asks.

“I’m waiting for your mum” I say and it seems like enough. The two run out screaming and I hear their voices get softer and softer.

A few minutes later Hasina walks back in. She isn’t wearing her overalls anymore and she has a large sketch pad in her hands.

She sits down next to and hands me the sketch pad to me. Its big so it rests on both our laps. “Will you look at these for me?” she asks .

She doesn’t need an answer because I start immediately paging through it.

I look at each one as she explains them to me. She wants to know what I think. I am honoured. I try to respond honestly.

We laugh together at some of the practice sketches and she talks me through others. We sit together for a long time discussing her art and her classes and her teacher. I question some of the strokes and some things she has done is way too advanced for me.I page through each one and I am amazed. They get better and better, and I tell her that. She is thankful and modest. She seems to have started to experiment with paints.

“Were you painting when I got here?” I ask. “Yes” she responds and I remember the smudge on her forearm. “Yusuf got me an easel and I was trying to practice some new techniques.”

“Are you working on piece?” I ask. “Kind of” she says , “do you want to see?” she asks and the hope in her voice tells me that my earlier anxiety was unnecessary.

The easel is out in the garden, overlooking the pool and the children in the distance. But that is not what she is drawing. It is an abstract piece and she is mixing textures and strokes.

“Wow” I say, “I like the colours.”

There are greens and blues making up what looks like a background. “Its not finished she says, and explains her plans. I nod at her explanation but her technical terms and some words go over my head.

“You really seem to be enjoying it” I say to her and she nods.

We talk a little more about the children and she tells me that her brother is coming to live with them soon. I am surprised to hear about his rehab and I listen to what I think is a shortened version. Elizabeth calls us to the patio table, set for with snacks for the children and tea for us. She asks me to join her for tea, and although I should be going, I really am enjoying her company.

I look at the time, it has been nearly two hours and I text Hussain to tell him I’m having tea with Hasina. Just for fun sake I would like to see the look on his face when I get home.

“er” she seems to want to say something, but doesn’t find the words. “Last time we spoke you told be about…” she is unsure to ask.

“Miscarriage?” I ask. She seem relieved that I am not offended.

“If you don’t want to talk about it” she says inferring the rest.

I am delighted to speak about it and I detail everything about ovulation and oestrogen”

“They inject you twice a week?” she repeats after me incredulously. I nod like a superhero.

“Please remind me to give you the special dua from the Quraan for conception” she says. I nod but I am surprised. I didn’t even know there was one.

“Assalamu ALaikum” I hear from behind me , and I turn to find Yusuf standing there.

OMG how long have I been here I wonder.

“Farnaz” he says he is equally surprised to see me.

I reply his greeting and tell him that I brought the documents.

The children come running to their dad, he leans over and kisses hasina on the forehead. I go bright red and hide my face, I’m begin to feel like the fifth wheel on a motorbike.

“Thank you so much for tea … and …er… everything” I say , hoping she can read between my words. “I really should .. be getting home” I say. We walk towards the lounge to get my bag.

She walks me to the front door.

“Thank you for looking at my sketches and paintings” she says cautiously. I smile, but before I can say anything she continues, “You know…” she begins, “you actually helped me decide to do the art classes that day at the coffee shop, and ever since I have been wanting to thank you and tell you about it”. She stops and looks at me trying to read my reaction.

I try to decipher my own emotions. Did she just say that? The day of the house show, the house warming, the coffee shop and today all flash through my mind. She seemed to change so much, but then I wonder – Is it me that changed?

“I’m so glad that you did, you are a talented artists” I reply.

“Please do come again” , Hasina says now as I step out of the house. “Jameela is very fond of you and I would like to know what you think about my painting when it is done”.

“I would love to see it” I reply. “Let me know when” I say as I walk away.

She stands at the door as I get into my car and she watches me pull out of the driveway. Instinctively I wave as I pull away. In my rear view mirror I see her wave back.

2 women1 2 women 3  easel


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