God works in mysterious ways.
Yeah right. I rolled my eyes, before glancing at Jemima from my station beside her bed. There was nothing mysterious about her circumstances. It all seemed pretty straight forward to me. She had risked her life to save another’s and here she was now- lying semi-comatose in a hospital bed surrounded by tanks, monitors and tubes, while her husband battled for his life somewhere close by. Why couldn’t God save Mas’ud without endangering Jemima and her family?
A slave may not understand immediately the wisdom behind His divine actions. But if the slave keeps an open and sincere heart, in time they will. The key is to trust in Him.
Humph. Trust. An unequivocal ‘no’ for me. N-E-V-E-R. Not after everything I witnessed last night. And certainly not after everything that happened and WAS still happening in my life.
All things happen for a reason, Muslimah. Besides, you can’t compare your life with Jemima’s….
“Oh just shut up”. I stood up and paced the room, trying to think of something… anything else that’d help me shut that stupid voice in my head up.
I didn’t have to think for too long though, because Hadiza entered the room just then.
“Assalamu alaykum, dear. How are you doing today?” She asked as she embraced me.
“Waalaykumsalam, Hadiza. I’m fine.” I pulled out of the hug and showed her into the seat I had just vacated. “But it isn’t me you should be worried about, it’s her.” I pointed at Jemima.
Hadiza turned her attention to Jemima and exhaled a long, drawn-out sigh. “I know right? How’s she?”
“The doctors are optimistic. The baby’s doing well, and she’s going to be fine.”
“Alhamdulillah. That’s a relief.”
I didn’t see anything to be thankful for, so I decided to change the subject. “Have you heard any news about Abdul? And Mas’ud, how’s he?”
“Mas’ud’s fine. He’s home with Big Mummy. Basheer will be going to the General Hospital later to check on Abdul.”
“That’s good to hear. I hope he’ll be fine. For Jemima’s sake.”
“I hope so too.” She sighed again. “I can’t help but feel like this was all my fault. She was trying to help my baby.”
“No don’t talk like that Hadiza. I’m sure Jemima wouldn’t want that.” I seriously doubted that. Jemima would probably blame Hadiza for all her woes. But Hadiza didn’t know that.
“You’re right, Muslimah. I’ll try not to dwell on it.”
Silence reigned for a few seconds until Hadiza exclaimed and slapped her forehead.
“Subhnallah! I totally forgot about that.” She pointed at the basket by her feet. “I brought you some breakfast and a change of clothes. I know you won’t leave this place until Jemima awakens.”
“Yep, you’re right about that. I don’t have any pressing engagements today anyway so…” My stomach chose to moment to growl loudly. Hadiza giggled. “I guess that’s my cue to eat something.”
The meal looked delicious: Jollof rice with plantain and chicken. I settled in and wolfed down the first meal I’d had since lunch the day before.
A’isha arrived a while later. She had stopped at my place to get me some stuff I might need as well, toiletries, underwear, some books. She also brought some stuff for Jemima.
“Thank you, sweetheart.”
A’isha smiled, but it disappeared right after, replaced by a look so gloomy it made me want to cry. She turned her back to Hadiza and me and went to stand by the window. Now, she had my full attention. I had actually noticed something off about her the moment she walked in earlier but shrugged it off, attributing it to last night’s stress. But now, I wasn’t so sure. I glanced furtively at Hadiza, who also had a worried look on her face. She shrugged and mouthed: ‘I’ll ask her’.
Hadiza joined A’isha by the window and touched her shoulder gently.
“A’isha dear are you okay? You don’t look too good.”
Instead of an answer, A’isha burst into tears. I almost dropped the bag I was holding. A’isha never cried. Something was definitely wrong here. I joined them at the window.
“A’isha what is it? You can talk to us.”
Aisha raised her head, tears trickling down her face. “I’m in serious trouble.”
“What kind of trouble?” Hadiza asked, gently stroking her back.
“I- I think Gaffar has found out… about Maalik.”
Now I dropped the bag I was holding. Hadiza gasped, eyes round as saucers. I opened my mouth to speak but no sound came out.
“Are you sure?” Hadiza asked again
A’isha nodded and launched into the details. How she’d become suspicious because of Gaffar’s strange behaviour and had decided to confront Maalik this morning before coming here. Maalik had confirmed her suspicions.
“Maalik told me Gaffar just showed up at their house unannounced. About three weeks ago, can you imagine?” She sniffed.
“But why didn’t they tell you about it?” I wanted to know
“Gaffar asked them not to. Besides, they felt the issue would best be resolved between both of us. What I don’t understand is: why Gaffar has refused to confront me about it.?”
“He probably wants to hear it from you.” A’isha looked at me incredulously. I shrugged. The truth had to be told. “You know I’ve not been in support of you keeping Maalik a secret from him. But it’s not too late. You can still salvage the situation and just TELL him the truth. He’ll respect you even more for it.”
“And then what?” A’isha asked.
“Then ask for his forgiveness,” Hadiza said softly
A’isha shook her head. “I don’t think he’ll ever forgive me.”
“You won’t know until you try, A’isha.” I took her hand. “Just try.”
A’isha was still shaking her head. She looked unsure.
“You know what you used to tell me when I talked to you about Basheer?”
“Yes, I remember.”
My eyes darted from Hadiza to A’isha. “Am I missing something here? You and Basheer are having problems?”
Hadiza smiled. “Were having problems.” She pointed to the couch on the other side of the room. “We’d better sit. This is going to be a long one.”
So, we sat together on the couch and listened as Hadiza explained what she’d been going through for the past few months, up until yesterday.
“Let me get this straight” I began when she paused. “You went to confront this girl… Shaakirah, and that’s when Zulay took Mas’ud?” Hadiza nodded. “Wow. Basheer must have been really mad.”
“Hmm, he was… but not anymore.”
“What do you mean by- not anymore?” A’isha asked
“We-ll, we kinda settled things last night.” Hadiza winked, smiling mischievously.
A’isha high-fived Hadiza. I just smiled. I was just glad to see A’isha in a better mood. Hopefully, she’d also get to settle her qualms with Gaffar soon enough. I hugged Hadiza.
“I’m happy for you.”
Suddenly, I heard a sound from Jemima’s bed. “Shh, listen, guys. Did you hear that?”
They stopped speaking and we hurried towards the bed. Jemima’s eyes were half-open, and her lips were moving.
“Subhanallah, she’s coming to.” A’isha pronounced. “I’ll go get the doctor.”
As if on cue, Jemima’s eyes flew wide open.
And Jemima is baaack! Y’all excited? I am especially curious to find out what she’ll say to Hadiza.
I hope you all had a joyous and fun-filled Eid. Please remember to drop a like and share too. It means the world to me.
Read Chapter 22