CHAPTER 22 (continued)

Posted: August 12, 2014 in Uncategorized
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“SO can I see them now?” Yusuf pleads again. He is trying his luck again. He has nagged me all day yesterday after my interview, but I was firm. I wanted to wait for the response from the art school first. “I wont tell anybody” he says playfully.

“Suhail, Just tell her to show us the sketch” he says looking for backup from my brother as he walks into the room. “Eish!” he responds , his hands up in surrender. “Im not getting involved in these lovers quarrels” he teases. Yusuf finds him amusing . “Lover squarrels?” I ask sarcastically and I grab the opportunity to change the subject. “So how IS Rahima?” I ask him. I am delighted that he got back in touch with the lovely Rahima. She found out about his rehab and has been so supportive. She has been over to the house many times and it is clear that they are both very taken with each other. Suhail responds with a blush, “She is ok” he says. I am glad that he seems to be finding his feet and has been an asset in our home, spending time with the kids and even cooking and cleaning.

“How was the interview?” Waseem asks and I am glad that my tactic to change the subject worked. I realize that I had been so caught up in my drawings I had even forgotten that he had started job hunting. “There were three other people interviewing for the same position. I think it went well. They were impressed with my CV and said that I may be better suited for a different position that they haven’t yet advertised. I meet them on Monday again.”

“wow, so you really charmed them?” I teased.

He looked at me and smiled, “It IS what I do best”, he said playfully.

“Hmm, Should I be worried” came a voice from behind him. It was Rahima, smiling cheekily at him as he turned around surprised.

“I thought I told you to stay in the car” he turned to her and said accusingly as she snuck her hand into his and shrugged innocently. It was clear that they were so good together.

“Assalamu Alaikum” she said to Yusuf and I and we stood there amused at this couple clearly in love.

“Wa Alaikum Salaam” I replied immediately. “Why are you hiding her from us Suhail?”

Suhail shifts his weight and then looks down anxiously. I wonder what has got him so nervous. My old self would have waited for Yusuf too take the lead, but just as he is about to speak, I pounced, “What’s the matter, Suhail?” I ask him and meet his gaze. His forehead begins to shine with dampness as sweat starts to seep through his pores.

“I ..er ..wanted to talk to you guys” he say now clearly nervous.

“Sit down” I tell them both as I do the same pulling Yusuf next to me like a marrionette. “You can tell me anything, you know that”, I say to him. Rahima seems calm but says nothing.

Suhail frees his hands from Rahima’s grip and sits forward in his chair. Yusuf does the same and before he can speak, I put my hand on his leg silencing him. “Let him speak”, I say.

Yusuf has seemed to adjust very well to this new confident me, and even seems relieved that he doesn’t need to mediate this conversation.

“I am so grateful for everything that you have done for me” Suhail begins shakily. “Its sometimes hard for me to say but it has really meant a lot to me.” he stops and swallows hard. “I know now that I never dealt well with the loss of our father but I also know that Yusuf has been such a good role model for me.” He looks at Yusuf kindly and says to him directly, “If it wasn’t for you swaer (brother in law) I don’t know what would have happened …” his voice trails off. Rahima reaches to hold his hand again. I really like this girl, I think.

“You don’t have to mention it, Suhail, You like a brother to me” Yusuf says.

“I know I put your marriage through strain” , he continues looking at Yusuf. I think Yusuf may have told him about my suspicions with the drugs he brought home all those months ago.

“hey” I say softly. “you are my brother, there is no need for long speeches. I’m sure you will be there for us if we ever needed you, and if there is anything that you need, we are only too happy to help you out.”

He nodded and a large smile grows on his face. “I was hoping you would say that”, he says and chuckles mysteriously.

“Suhail!!” I say now sharply, realizing the whole speech was an intro for something else. “Spit it out, or else …I..er…” I can’t think of an appropriate threat. Everything I use on the children doesn’t cut it.

He finds me funny and even Rahima giggles a bit. I roll my eyes at them.

“Okay” suhail says. “You know how you are always telling me to settle down? Find a nice girl and get married” he mimics my voice. “I DO not sound like that” I protest but I am well aware of what he is trying to say. I try to hide my excitement.

“well, I decided to take your advice” he announces.

“OOOOooh “ I gasp but allow him to continue. “Insha Allah”, his tone has become more serious now , “I want to you both to come with me to Rahima’s parents house and make things official” he says squeezing her hand.

My inner Chachima is elated and dances around the room. “Of course” I say as I get up to embrace my brother. Rahima is the perfect woman for him and I tell her that. There are hugs and kisses between me and everybody while Yusuf also goes in for a manly shake and shoulder to shoulder brother hug. Rahima and I laugh at them. “Elizabeth!” I scream, and shout out the happy news when she arrives. She ululates and then stops suddenly, “Hawu, who will help me with the dishes now?” she asks and she begins to sing a isiZulu song. The children run down the stairs after hearing all the commotion and I tell them the good news.

I look at Rahima and ask , “Have you spoken to your parents yet?”

“Yes” she says. “they are waiting for your call.

“Waseem?” I asked, looking at Suhail. “I told him to come over. He should be here any minute” he looks at his watch and nods, “You do the honours” he says with a wink.

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