Tuesday 30 April 2019

Flaming Home! (Episode Thirteen)

Anas’s Point of View
The pungent smell of iodoform is wafting the hospital room covered in white. I find the sight of hospitals revolting but surprisingly, I am glad to be here with my wife, to see her get better every day and become healthier and more beautiful. I am sitting beside Najwa, staring at her pale face and wondering if all that had happened was all a dream…that we had almost lost our lives to a person we had trusted. I scowl, remembering the way Barakah had pleaded when her wrists were handcuffed by the police officers.

“Please don’t let them take me. I’m sorry! Please! Najwa, Anas…don’t let them take me!” she had yelped in pain, her face blanching in shock and disbelief.

She had no idea what I had planned before visiting her. She had thought she had everything planned out. She thought she was the smartest. Well, I proved to her that I would do all it takes to protect the one who owns my heart.

I cannot help but chuckle as I remember the way Barakah’s eyes had turned red and swollen within the blink of an eye. She was trembling all over, crying and begging for help. Who would have thought that Barakah has a heart?

‘Well, spending years in a Nigeria prison will teach her a lesson! She would never come close to my family again.’ I mutter between my breaths.

I am glad Najwa is responding faster to treatment. I am glad she is alive and healthy. I thank Allah for making her rescue successful. I thank Allah for keeping her alive despite all that had occurred over the past weeks.

“You should keep thanking God that she was brought in at that very moment…all else, we might be telling a different story.” The doctor had said the night Najwa was rushed to the emergency ward.

Sahadat, dressed in a pink blouse, black pair of trousers with pink veil is pacing back and forth, doing all she can to make sure that her mother feels comfortable. She is adjusting the pillow and moving Najwa’s arms to rest in a better position on the hospital bed. She is cutting a part from her chocolate bar and I know what’s next…she would want her mother to take from it.

“Err…no Sahadat. Your mom is not fit to eat that now. She will eat more of this when she is discharged.” I smile at her.

“Asalamu ‘alaykum.” Yasmin greets as she enters the room. She is holding a large flask and a bag of toiletries. The smell of strawberry wafts the room as she stalks closer, dressed in a navy-blue khimar.

Najwa opens her eyes just at that instant and smiles at her. “Wa’alay…kumu salam. You’re welcome.” She says wearily and with a strangled voice as I assist her in sitting up.

“Ah mom, you’re awake. I want to read this for you.” Sahadat says excitedly as she opens her pink-coloured squared-sized storybook.

Najwa grins broadly. “You read this yesterday. Don’t you have another one?”

Sahadat bites her lower lip for some seconds and stands up. “Okay, I’ll get another one from the car.” She hurries out of the room and we all laugh in relief.

“Sahadat is the best daughter you can have.” Yasmin smiles as she holds Najwa’s hands.

I chuckle in delight. “I agree. You won’t believe it, Najwa… Sahadat was demonstrating how she would have punched Barakah if she was given the chance. That girl looks exactly like you.”

Najwa rolls her eyes and smiles at her sister. “Thank you for taking good care of Sahadat. I could have listened to your warnings. You warned me to never trust Barakah. I, instead, blamed you for being jealous of my life…”

“No, Najwa. I was indeed jealous. Who wouldn’t be jealous of your life? You have a lovely family and a successful career. I was jealous but I still love you very much and I’m also sorry.” Yasmin replies as they hug each other.

“In sha Allah, you’ll find a righteous man that will love you for who you are. Aameen.”

“Aameen,” Yasmin replies as she pulls away from her embrace. “I’ve brought the necessary things that Sahadat would need today. I have to head to my shop now; some customers have been waiting for me. I will be back before sunset, in sha Allah.”

I have just realized that the fat-and-smooth-cheeked Yasmin has some similar features with Najwa. In fact, they have the same shape of lips and nose.

“Okay, sis. Have a great day.” Najwa waves at her.


“Thank you, Anas.” Yasmin nods in appreciation as she leaves the room.

As Yasmin leaves, I gaze at Najwa, grateful once again that I can live to see her face shimmer in delight and happiness. Najwa rolls her eyes as she catches me gazing at her. “Why are you staring at me that way? Give me a mirror!” she orders, rubbing her right palm all over her face.

I laugh mockingly, watching as her face twitch into a frown. “Anas, don’t be ridiculous! Do I look horrible?

“You look beautiful anytime or day. You are always gorgeous, Najwa. That’s why I love you. You make my life beautiful.” I say as Najwa smiles in satisfaction.

“My love, words cannot express my level of appreciation for fighting for me…for risking your life to rescue me. You’re one of a kind and I’m glad to have you as a husband. As for that Barakah…I will teach her a lesson. How dare she tie me up and feed me with rotten grains of leftover rice. And she wants my husband. Imagine oo, she was brazen enough to claim she loves you, Anas! My own husband oo. The love of my life…that’s the person she has her eyes on. I took her as my best friend and sister. I told her everything …all my secrets. Who would have thought that she was the enemy?” Najwa is prattling incessantly.

“Najwa…” I am saying as her phone starts to ring. I pick it from the shelf to check the caller. It is Mrs. Bola calling.

“Who’s that?” Najwa furrows her eyebrows.

“It’s Mrs. Bola.”

“Don’t pick…”

“No, I will.” I insist as I stand up and walk towards the door, nodding and replying swiftly to the caller at the other end. Najwa gives me a death stare as I am talking to her. I hang up and return the phone, taking my position beside Najwa. “She wants you to resume as soon as you are discharged and have rested enough. Mrs. Bola apologises for misjudgment.”

Ahbeegiii! Mrs. Bola doesn’t like me. She would be glad if I do not return. Moreover, they have to beg me well enough before I can return to that place.” Najwa is yelling and I can see her throat strain in discomfort. I urge her to sit well while she remains calm. “You shouldn’t trust the wrong person and make decisions because of personal sentiments. That job will assist your career and you will resume work. Barakah is in the cell now. Your fans are eagerly waiting for your return and your office is calling you. You just need to leave this antiseptic-stricken hospital and continue your wonderful life from where you stopped. I miss us, Najwa and I want us to return as a happy family like we used to be before all these started.” I kiss her on the forehead.

Najwa smiles appreciatively. “Yes, Anas. I can’t wait to return home.”
Mahmud’s living room is a medium-sized, simply-furnished room comprising of two sets of sofas, a table, a TV set, and a brown rug lay on the floor. His children, Zulaihat and Ameer are flopping on the couch and playing in excitement. His wife, Sherifah comes out with a tray of orange juice and pieces of crackers. She serves the tray on the stood beside me. “Mahmud is having his bath. He will join you soon. Do you want anything else?”

“No. I’m very fine with this. Thank you very much.”

“Okay,” Sherifah smiles shyly and starts to walk away. She stops for a moment and turns towards my direction. “I’m happy Najwa was rescued and I’m sorry about your loss of job.”

“Alhamdulillah Mama Zulaihat. Allah has a reason for everything.” I give an encouraging smile as she returns to the kitchen.

The truth is that, I need money. Najwa will soon be discharged from the hospital and I need to settle the hospital bill.

“Anas. It’s been a while bro!” Mahmud says as he walks into the living room, cleaning the sod in his ear with the tip of his towel.

“I need your assistance pal.”

“Okay, let’s talk in the dining room.”

“Najwa must not know about this. I know she has the money but I’m her husband and it is my duty to take care of her.” I remark, sipping from the cold juice and swallowing hard.

“I understand. I’ll give you the money. You can pay back whenever you’re financially buoyant.”

“Oh, thank you so much. I’m really grateful!”

“You shouldn’t be. What are friends for? Anas, what path do you plan on taking now? Do you want to keep searching for a new job or you want to start a small business?”

I rake my uncombed hair and wince. “These past few weeks haven’t been nice at all. But now that Najwa is safe, I’ll start exploring new opportunities and see which would pay. I regret not saving up for a moment like this but I’ve learnt my lesson. I was trying hard to compete with Najwa and I spent most of my earnings on frivolities. I’ve learnt the hard way, Mahmud.”

“It’s never too late. You have an amazing family and that’s what matters.”

I nod in agreement. I have a lovely family. I have Najwa and Sahadat, and I love them with all of my heart.

They say prostrating to your Creator is an ideal way to re-connect with Him, pour of your emotions, seek His forgiveness and mercy, request for your needs and thank Him for his uncountable blessings. Yes, sujud is a great way to reconnect with Allah and this is what I’ve been doing since we all returned home…since Najwa has been discharged from the hospital.       
This particular night, tears are streaming down my face uncontrollably. I’m reflecting on the things we take for granted; the blessings in our lives that we do not appreciate. My lips are busy muttering praises to my Creator and my face is a flood of tears.

I remain in this position for the next thirty minutes until I am tired and exhausted. Whipping my head up, dabbing at my eyes and gasping for breath, I spot Najwa sitting beside me. With a quick whisk, she hugs me tightly and we remain there for a long time; arms in arms, Najwa’s warm breaths from her nostrils and her long eyelashes tickling my neck, the sound of her heartbeat on my chest…I want us to remain this way forever…I want Najwa beside me every time…

My heart plummets. I can feel a soft arm surrounding my shoulder. It is Sahadat and she has wrapped her arms around me. “This hug is incomplete without me, mom and dad.” She grins happily.

“Yes, my baby. It is incomplete without you.” Najwa strokes her cheeks.

“Mom and dad, no more quarrels?”

“No more quarrels.” Najwa and I reply in unison.

A/N: We have one episode to go!!!❤๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’œ

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  1. Alhamdulilah robil Alamin ...jazakumullah khayran๐Ÿ˜—๐Ÿ˜