Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Life and Everything in Between (Episode Eight)

 


RE: Can You Become My Mentor?

Hello Rafiah,

I’ve read your mail, and it has left me wondering. Are those the reasons you want me to become your mentor? I hope you know how busy my schedule is.

I want a tangible reason. I need to know why I should sacrifice time out of my busy schedule to mentor you.

And please, don’t bring up knowing my brother again. It wouldn’t work.

Regards,

Farouk Zubair.

 

RE: Can You Become My Mentor?

Hello Mr. Zubair,

Trust this meets you well.

I kindly apologize if I didn’t give valid reasons for requesting that you become my mentor. I, however, believe that these reasons are tangible.

As someone who spent four years acquiring my first degree in Accounting and working as an accountant for over three years, I think it is understandable to become scared of choosing a new career path.

It is a great challenge, but I am willing to do what it takes. I know I might regret this decision in the nearest future. But it would be worth the risk, wouldn’t it?

I kindly anticipate a response from you.

Best regards,

Rafiah Hassan.

 

RE: Can You Become My Mentor?

You’re saying stories, Rafiah. Yes, you’re a writer…but can you get to the point?

Regards,

Farouk Zubair.

 

RE: Can You Become My Mentor?

What other points are you expecting?! I’ve explained all I need to do.

 

RE: Can You Become My Mentor?

I’m surprised I have the time to respond to your emails today. When you’re ready to communicate effectively, reply to this mail.

Have a nice day!

Regards,

Farouk Zubair.

 

RE: Can You Become My Mentor?

You know what? I’m not interested in you being my mentor. You’re just a proud and self-centred man. You’ll lose friends if you continue this way.

Your brother is so unlike you. Have a nice day!

Regards,

Rafiah Hassan.

I gave a deep burst of air as I closed my Gmail and stared at the blank screen, anger seeping inside of me.  I wished that I hadn’t sent the first mail…I wished that I hadn’t listened to Munir.

 

I knew he had warned me about his celebrity brother, but I’d expected more. I didn’t realize Farouk Zubair would be so proud and inconsiderate. Tears stung my eyes as I opened the excel sheet I was working on. The screen appeared foggy, and I couldn’t concentrate on what I had been doing before I started sending the emails. I couldn’t take it anymore. I needed a quiet area to pour my feelings away.

 

As I stood up from the seat and started to walk towards the restroom, I noticed Munir walking towards me with an empty mug. He looked handsome as always, dressed in a crisp white shirt and gray trousers. However, this time, my heart didn’t beat faster. It was filled with anger and resentment.

 

“Whoa! Everything okay?” he asked with curious eyes.

 

“Yes,” I replied brusquely without meeting his eyes.

 

I hurried out of his sight and entered the restroom, watching my swollen eyes in the mirror and rinsing my face with water.

 

Recalling my conversation with Dad a few days ago, I wondered if I had made the wrong choice by heeding Munir’s advice. Maybe Dad was right. I might actually have made the right decision by choosing accountancy as a career. Perhaps writing was not for me.

 

I was cleaning my damp face with a tissue when Najeebah entered the restroom. She gasped in surprise upon catching sight of me. She immediately gained composure and smiled at me.

 

“Hi!” she greeted

 

“Hello,” I smiled in return. 

 

“Err…I didn’t know you were in here,” she said nervously as she played with the hem of your emerald blouse.

 

As I glanced up at her, I caught sight of the sparkling ring on her third finger. “It’s a public toilet, Najeebah. I do not own here,” I said with a chuckle.

 

Najeebah was a petite and dark-skinned girl. She worked in the same department as Tolu. So, I wasn’t surprised that they both met and fell in love.

 

“Yes, that’s true. I’m just nervous,” Najeebah smiled anxiously as she walked towards me. “I don’t know…how to say this. You know, I always feel terrible and guilty whenever I remember what happened between you and Tolu. I had no intention of…”

 

I held her hands. “It’s fine. It’s very much okay. Tolu and I had broken up long before you started a relationship.”

 

“I still feel guilty. I’m sorry, Rafiah. I’ve never had the chance to say so. I guess apologizing will let this feeling of guilt off my chest.”

 

“If that’s what you want, then I accept your apology,” I smiled at her.

 

“Thank you so much, Rafiah. This means a lot to me,” she stated as she started to walk towards the bathroom. She stopped in her tracks, and her lips curled up in an amusing smile. “By the way, news has been spreading around the office…about you and Munir.”

 

“Oh, it’s nothing,” I said shyly.

 

“Okay,” she gave a knowing smile before entering the bathroom.

 

I recalled the awkward emails I’d exchanged with Farouk and wondered if things could ever remain the same between Munir and me. He meant good by introducing me to his brother…but Farouk Zubair ridiculed me.

***

 

Is everything okay?

-          Munir

 

A message popped up. I picked up my phone and started to type a response.

 

Everything is fine.

-          Rafiah.

 

How is work going? Would you love to accompany me to the new restaurant?

-          Munir.

 

No, thanks. I brought lunch from home.

-          Rafiah.

 

Sure everything is okay?

-          Munir.

 

Yes.

-          Rafiah

 

Anything you want to tell me? I promise to take it as it is.

-          Munir.

 

I’m fine!

-          Rafiah

 

I clicked the send button and dropped my phone with a loud thud. As I whipped my head up to continue with my work, I caught sight of a person standing in front of me. I shrieked in surprise when I saw Munir.

 

“What…”

 

“Can you spare me a minute? We need to talk.”

 

“Okay,” I shrugged as I tailed him to the reception, ignoring the stares from colleagues.

 

Munir gestured that I sit down, and I followed suit. “What is wrong? Does it have to do with your family?”

 

“No.”

 

“Then, what is it? Have I done something wrong? Tell me, and I’d apologize.”

 

Guilt crept up my face as I watched his sad eyes. Munir wasn’t at fault, and he didn’t deserve to be treated that way. His brother was.

 

“It’s about your brother?”

 

Munir wore a deep frown as he widened his eyes in surprise. “What about him?”

 

“I sent him a mail, and…he responded in rudely. I still haven’t gotten over what he wrote to me,” I said as I opened the mails and gave him my phone.

 

Munir’s brows furrowed with a frown as he skimmed through the messages. “This is…this is absurd. It’s unlike Farouk.”

 

“It’s fine. No rule makes it compulsory to become one’s mentor,” I gave a half-laugh.

 

“I’m sorry, Rafiah. I promise to talk to him when I get home. He must apologize for addressing you this way,” Munir was saying when my phone started to ring.

 

I checked the Caller ID and was surprised to see my Dad calling me. “Excuse me,” I muttered as I picked the call. “Asalamu ‘alaykum, Dad.”

 

“Wa’alaykumu salam. We’re calling off the wedding. We just spoke to Khalid’s parents. We’ve given them an ultimatum. If they do not provide explanations before the end of today, then we’re calling off the wedding!”


Don't miss out on the previous episodes:


Episode One


Episode Two


Episodes Three & Four


Episode Five


Episodes Six & Seven

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