Sunday 17 October 2021

Life and Everything in Between (Episode Sixteen) [Unedited]


Sweat dripped down my face as I stared at the busy road and wished that the day would be over. That I had washed the henna off my skin and seen Farouk. That it was night, and I already knew why Farouk wanted to see me eagerly.


The ladies danced in merriment as they looked forward to experiencing one of the glamorous weddings ever. But I couldn’t. My mind was clouded with the thought of Farouk seated in the local restaurant a stone throw from our house, waiting for my arrival.


About fifteen minutes ago, Farouk had sent a text to inform me that he had arrived. And there I was, waiting for the henna to get dried.


“Rafiah,” Rasheedah called my name. “What’s wrong?”


I waved a hand. “Oh. It’s nothing at all.”


“Farouk?” she asked. “Your hands are dried. You can rinse and get going,” she said as she sprang up from the chair and faced her friends.


“We’ll be back. First, I need to prepare Rafiah for her impromptu date,” Rasheedah chuckled as she shoved me into the living room.


“Gosh, Rasheedah. Who said it is a date? He just wants to see me,” I quipped.


Rasheedah stopped in her tracks and glared at me. “Why does he want to see you, then? To talk about writing again? Do you think Farouk would drive down here to talk about writing?” she said in a fit of laughter.


“Whatever. Let me just rinse my hands and feet and get going,” I was saying as we entered the room.


“Oh. Not so fast. Well, rinse them first, and we’ll dress you up,” Rasheedah said.


I ignored Rasheedah as I entered the bathroom to have a thorough bath. I was shocked to see a yellow floral gown on the bed when I stepped out of the bathroom.


“Whoa! Am I wearing that to see Farouk?”


Rasheedah opened her jewelry box and placed a silver bracelet beside the dress. “Of course!”


“I can’t do this, Rasheedah. It would be so obvious that I did it all for him. I’m just going to wear a plain gown. Thanks for your help, though.”


“But, Rafiah…”


“I’m serious,” I said as I wore a grey gown and black hijab. “I’ll see you later,” I waved at her and walked out of the room.


I’m on my way. I’ll see you soon!

-          Rafiah.


I sent a message to Farouk as I stepped out of the compound and crossed to the other side of the road.


Okay. Can’t wait!

-          Farouk.


I arrived at the cheap restaurant about five minutes later, easily spotting the long-limbed man dressed in a black t-shirt and hat. Farouk grinned widely as he whipped his head up and spotted me walking towards where he was sitting.


Asalamu ‘alaykum,” he greeted as he glanced at my henna-decorated hands with appreciative eyes. “It looks lovely.”


Wa’alaykumu salam,” I said with a smile as I took my seat. “Thank you.”


“So, tomorrow’s finally the D-day. How do you feel about tomorrow? I know there would be so much pressure on your family members to make the day perfect.”


“Oh, yes. My mom has been restless for weeks now. I can’t wait for her to have a long sleep when this is over.”


“I know, right? I’m sorry for calling you out at a period I know you’d be very busy. I just needed to see you and let this out once and for all,” he said, and I swiftly studied his face.


Beads of sweat formed on Farouk’s forehead, and his hands quivered. It was obvious that he was very nervous. Farouk Zubair nervous because of me? Wow!


Farouk had fair and clear skin the colour of papaya. His eyes were beautiful and bright. And his lips…


“Rafiah,” Farouk called my name, drifting me back to reality. I muttered ‘AstaghfirLlaah’ and stared at the table.


“I would have waited longer…or suppress my feelings. But, it is not something I want to do. I need to say exactly how I feel before it is too late. Rafiah, I really like you. I’ve been so attracted to you since the first day I set my eyes on you. And I love everything about you. Every single thing. You’re beautiful and smart and talented. You’re so amazing, Rafiah. I know this is fast, but I want to spend the rest of my life with you,” Farouk said.


“I...” I prattled, unable to find the right words to say.


Was this all a dream? Farouk Zubair just proposed to me! He talked about spending the rest of his life with me!

“Please, take your time. I know this is so sudden, and I apologise. Getting a no from you would hurt, but I would get through it,” he forced a smile.


“I need to seek ALlaah’s guidance and…talk to Munir,” I said, remembering our last encounter.


How would he feel if we eventually get engaged?


“Yes, Munir. I spoke to him before coming here. I needed to be certain that he had no feelings for you…and that he was fine with it. I wouldn’t want to come in between two friends.”


“Okay. I’ll also talk to him,” I said as I sprang up from the chair. “I need to leave Farouk. There are a couple of tasks to complete. I’ll…see you soon,” I said as I hurried out of the restaurant.


It was three hours later, and I couldn’t wrap my head around what had happened in the small-sized restaurant. I thought that his proposal would be like that of the movies and books- a proposal that would make me squeal in excitement and say ‘yes’ cheerfully. But it wasn’t. I had left someone that had driven a far distance to see me. I had run away like someone scared and uncertain. And I really was.


Rasheedah stared quietly at me as I bawled my eyes out. I didn’t know why I was crying and why I acted that way. But I couldn’t help but cry.


“You’re confused as to why you acted that way, right?” Rasheedah asked as she patted my arm.


“I don’t think I deserve this. I mean, this month has been one of the amazing periods of my life. I met Farouk. I don’t believe I deserve someone who would love me and be there….because I’ve expected it all these years, and it didn’t happen,” I said in tears. “I don’t think anyone can understand how I feel right now. You probably think I’m crazy for crying.”


“No. I don’t think that way. I totally understand. Before I met Khalid, I met a couple of men you’re aware of. I started these relationships with so many expectations. I thought we would end up together, but everything just turned sour. So, I felt Khalid was too good to be true. So I sent him away at first. Then, I realized that I deserve to be loved deeply by someone worthy.” Rasheedah pulled me into a hug, and I cried in her arms.


“I thought I was just crazy. I know Farouk will have his imperfections. But I’m just scared to be with him. How can Rafiah get someone so amazing?”


“You deserve more than Farouk, Rafiah. You are very amazing, and I’m not saying this because you’re my sister, I am…” Rasheedah was saying when Mom barged into the room.


“I need help with the drinks. I’m planning a big wedding, and you are here, idling away. E dide joor!” Mom rolled her eyes as she walked out of the room.


She was so preoccupied with the wedding that she didn’t realise we were both crying. This morning, I had spotted dark circles around her eyes. I hoped she got the chance to rest after the wedding.


Rasheedah and I chuckled as we walked out of the room, and assisted with the packs of drinks. I was returning to the room when I spotted Dad reading through the print copy of the programme of event. I sat quietly beside him and he whipped his head up with a smile.


“How have you been, Rafiah? You’ve been around, but it seems that you haven’t been around,” Dad said as he studied my eyes. “And you look sad and happy at the same time.”


“Well, you’ll start to see more of me when everyone gets less busy tomorrow. Of course, by the time tomorrow, it will be all over,” I smiled at him.


“Do you still want to write full-time?” Dad asked as he put down the wedding programme. “You want to give up your finance career for writing? Do you still want to do that?”


I forced a smile. “Maybe we should talk about this after the wedding?”


“Perfect!” he said with a yawn. “I’m so tired. I need to get some sleep. Good night, Rafiah,” he said as he walked slowly towards his room door.


When I returned to the room, it was filled to the brim with friends and relatives. Laughter rented the air as the ladies talked about their experience courting and getting married. Some also talked about their wedding night experience.


“Your husband has been calling you,” Aisha, one of Rasheedah’s best friends, who has attended the henna party, giggled.


I raised my brows in confusion. “Husband?”


“Farouk Zubair! He has been calling nonstop,” she giggled.


My heart raced fast in excitement as I grabbed my phone and walked out of the room. I sat at the verandah and dialed Farouk’s number, pressing the phone to my left ear and waiting eagerly to hear his deep throaty voice. 

A/N: Hi, everyone! Trust your weekend went well. I updated this episode on the blog because I didn't have time to edit it. I've been pretty busy, but I needed to update an episode this evening.

We'll be having a new episode this week. Till then, bye!

     Don't miss out on the previous episodes:

Episode One

Episode Two

Episodes Three & Four

Episode Five

Episodes Six & Seven

Episode Eight

Episode Nine

Episode Ten

Episode Eleven