I had to look up before realising my mother was talking to me. Alhamdulillah ,against all odds. She had made it. I was grateful but also resentful.
Grateful because when she was discharged,I could leave Hanafa’s house. I would not call her Aunty anymore,at least not in my mind. She was now an enemy to me. I didn’t have to look at Zuhairah and experience the loss of my childish love and the onset of hate.
I thought I was the center of my father’s world. His only child. To learn that there was another… it broke me.
Zuhairah screamed in pain after I bit her and her mother looked like she was really angry but she didnt say anything to me.
How could he do this? How? My gold tinged memories of him took on a black,ugly hue that kept filling my little heart,with the ugliness of anger.
“yes Ammi?” I inched nearer to the bed.
“Call Chachi.” She whispered hoarsely
The doctor said she might never speak properly again because of the pressure on her throat.
Not that she spoke much again. She was withdrawing once again behind her wall of silence. Spending hours staring out of the window.
I went to find Chachi who had come to the farm to look after us because Ammi could not travel. She was reading Salaah and I remembered I had not prayed as yet.
A flash of my father coming out of the bathroom,his limbs wet from wudhu,struck me and I shoved it aside. Determined not to think of him.
I would not even read for him.
But I would still pray Salaah as he taught me because I did not want to burn for 70 years in Jahannum for a missed prayer.
“Chachi. Start packing. We are going home.”
“But Seema beti, you can’t travel as yet”
“I’m telling you to pack,suno! I have a feeling something is about to happen… a strong feeling. Johara…leave the room… Go I want to talk to Chahchi. ”
And once again, with tears pooling in my eyes,just like my whole life long,my mother shut her door on my face.