Sunday 7 November 2021

Life and Everything in Between (Episode Eighteen)


Growing up, I loathed every part of my body. I would stare at myself in the mirror and complain about my body features. But, Rasheedah had always been the prettier sister- the one that turned heads when we walked into a gathering.


Everyone chose her over me. It affected my esteem so much that I believed no one would be interested in a lady with stubby legs and a large nose years later. But then, I met Ridwan, a tall and brown-skinned man with a great sense of humour. After that, I thought I had found the one who would love me despite my imperfections.


But I was wrong. The moment Ridwan set eyes on Rasheedah, he compared her looks with mine. And that was what ended our short-lived relationship.


Then I decided to love myself and appreciate how ALlaah Has perfectly molded me in the best form. So I started to see myself as being beautiful and worthy of love.


And I couldn’t change anything. Rasheedah would always be the charming sister who stole hearts with her looks and vibrancy. And that wouldn’t stop me from loving her.


As I sat on sofa and watched as everyone looked despondent and hopeless, I remembered my last encounter with Rasheedah.


It was the previous night when I sat at the verandah and thought about my future with Farouk. Munir and I had just finished chatting when someone hugged me from behind. I had whipped my head up to see Rasheedah grinning at me.


“How did it go?” she said with a smirk.


“I really like Farouk,” I smiled as I lowered my eyes.


Rasheedah chuckled as she joined me on the wooden chair. “Yes, you do. And you’d make a perfect couple. I am looking forward to seeing our celebrity-in-law tomorrow,” she said as she sighed deeply and stared at the sky. “I am nervous and excited about my wedding…”


“Rafiah,” Dad called, and I drifted back to reality.


“Yes?” I said as I stared at Dad.


His eyes were red and swollen, and it broke my heart to see him that way. He was supposed to be smiling joyously because of his daughter’s wedding. Instead, he was trying to wrap his head around his daughter’s sudden disappearance.


“Let’s talk in private,” he said as he started walking towards his room.


I tailed him, and we entered the room and closed the door behind us.


“I am trying to stay calm…but I’m terrified. These kidnappers are up to no good. They are not ready to negotiate with us. They captured her, on her wedding day, for a purpose,” Dad said as he watched me with curious eyes. “I have informed the police. They would be coming later this morning, but I don’t trust that they will find Rasheedah and apprehend the kidnappers. I believe this has something to do with the letter that was sent weeks ago.”


“Yes, I believe so. I honestly wasn’t convinced with what Khalid’s parents said,” I stated, and he nodded in agreement.


“Me too.”


“Capturing Rasheedah on her wedding day is intentional. These people know what they’re doing. I promise to get to the root of this. I will find these criminals…” I was saying when a sharp cry disrupted me.


Dad and I hurried to the living room to see Mom pouncing on Aunt Idayah, one of my paternal aunts. Dad broke into their middle and shoved Mom away. “What happened? Why are you beating her?”


“Aunt Idayah said that Rasheedah might have been killed. That we can’t be too sure she was kidnapped,” Zainab explained.


“Imagine what came out of your sister’s mouth, ehn? What is this? I’m tired,” Mom sighed loudly as she lowered her head and walked out of the living room.


With tears streaming down my face, I held her hands and assisted her to the room. “Thank you, Rafiah. I don’t know what to say…or think…it feels like I’m losing my mind. Am I okay?” Mom prattled in tears as she rested on the pillow.


“Yes, it is perfectly normal. We all feel the same way. And I’m sorry this is happening.”


“I need to try and sleep. Maybe when I wake up, Rasheedah will be sitting beside me on this bed, tapping my arm and urging me to dress up for her wedding,” she cried loudly.


“Rasheedah will be home soon. I believe that,” I said as I placed a hand over her face.


“Okay. You can go now. I need to find sleep,” Mom closed her eyes, and I silently walked out of the room and sat at the verandah, staring at the road ahead and searching for any tall and fair-complexioned lady.


Maybe this was a prank. Rasheedah could be at the wedding venue waiting eagerly for her family members…or perhaps this was all a dream. My phone chimed with a notification, and I swiftly picked it up to see if it was from Rasheedah.


Hey. Can we talk?

-          Farouk.

I guess so.

-          Rafiah.

Farouk’s call came in immediately, and I picked at the first ring. “Asalamu ‘alaykum, Rafiah. How are you holding up?”


I let out deep breaths and stared at the ceiling. “Wa’alaykumu salam. I don’t know…so confused.”


“I’m so sorry. How are your parents?”


“As confused as I am. I just hope that Rasheedah is safe wherever she is,” I said with a scrunched-up face, recalling the letters of threats we’d received over the past few weeks.


“I’m already on your street. Can you come downstairs?”


“Yes,” I replied.


A few minutes later, I was seated beside Farouk in his black Toyota Corolla, bawling my eyes out as Farouk watched me with pitiful eyes.


“Let it all out. Just…let it out.  I am really sorry, Rafiah. And I promise to assist you in finding your sister,” he said.


I grabbed the handkerchief he handed to me and cleaned my wet eyes. “Thank you, Farouk.”


“It’s my pleasure. And I got you this,” Farouk said, bringing up a huge flask from a red bag. “You must be famished. Who would be able to eat after learning of their sister’s disappearance? I know you have no appetite or desire to taste anything, but you need to fill your stomach. You can’t find your sister looking starved and malnourished,” he chuckled as I opened the flash and gasped in surprise.


The flask contained steamy spaghetti with smoked fish and scrambled eggs. “How can I eat this alone? Thank you so much, Farouk.”


“It’s nothing. Now eat,” Farouk ordered, and I grabbed a fork and started to devour the food.


“Oh, wow. This is so delicious. Did you prepare it?”


Farouk smiled. “I did. Do you love it?”


I joj jsss,” I said incoherent words with a mouth full of spaghetti. I laughed hard as I swallowed and responded correctly. “I love it!”


Farouk laughed as he glanced at me. “We need to find out who did this? What do they stand to gain from capturing Rasheedah on her wedding day?”


“Khalid’s parents talked about a rival who was desperate to win the election,” I explained.


“But why would this rival be after the fiancée of his opponent’s son? It doesn’t make sense. It has to be someone who doesn’t want this wedding to hold,” Farouk placed a hand over his head as he stared at the red bag, deep in thought.


“Rasheedah had once talked about Khalid’s ex, Mutmainah Mahmud. She’s a popular Instagram influencer, and her father is also a notable politician. From what I heard, Khalid called off their engagement, and it took a while for Mutmainah to get over it. However, Rasheedah believed Mutmainah still wants Khalid.”


Farouk bobbed his head. “That should be our first suspect. Let’s find out everything about Mutmainah. We’ll do some stalking,” Farouk grinned at me and laughed loudly.


“What?” I glared at him.


“You have dry mucus on your face. There!” he pointed at my left cheek.


“Oh my gosh!” I muttered in disbelief as I cleaned my face with the handkerchief and joined him.


We spent the next few minutes laughing our lungs out because we knew the worst was yet to come. Rasheedah was still missing, and we’d find her by all means possible.


on'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



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