By Alawiya Abdalla
What am I supposed to do now? Kill myself?? I know £10.000 is a lot of money, but I kinda need it RIGHT NOW! like right about this second.
Why does my dad need explanation?? I always used to ask and he immediately hands it out. Why all the drama now?? I understand why he is so fed up though. I know I have been a user before, but this time I ACTUALLY need the money not to save myself only, but to save them too!
I kick my foot at the wall, and then realize what a bad idea that was when pain seeps through it. I let myself fall on the bed in despair
There are so many things in my head at the moment. I do not know where to begin! I spent the whole night awake, thinking of ways to get myself out of this mess.
I thought about Amber, and I decided that I will support the child if it is mine but I want nothing to do with her. There’s no question there, but I doubt that I am the father
That problem was easy, but what am I going to do about John’s murder? I did it to save that woman for god's sake! Anyone with an ounce of morality would have done that
And the withdrawl symptoms from the things I used to take is killing me as well! Maybe I can just have one cigarette? Just one!
I was lost in self pity and hate when I heard a loud knock on the door
“Who is it?” I asked annoyed because it’s 9:30 in the morning and I was hoping to go back to sleep
“Rise and shine Mr. We have ALOT of things to do” Came Shaimaa’s cheerful reply.
“If you don’t mind Shaimaa, I wanna go back to sleep” I snap at her suddenly
“You do know that I won’t leave until you open the door right?” She insists
“FINE!” I huff and puff all the way to the door.
I open the door and this girl has the biggest smile plastered on her face, like this I am not even lying! And she is also carrying some stuff with her
“Come downstairs” She tells me as she heads downstairs.
“Okaaay?” I reply confused.
I follow her downstairs, and I find her pointing to the sofa opposite her.
“Sit” She says.
I do as I am told, the curiosity getting the best of me I see that she is holding sweets! and I cannot see the rest because she hid it behind her back.
“You must be wondering what this is all about right?” She sees my confused face and guesses right
“You could say that” I tell her normally acting cool
“First of all, I wanna apologize for not giving this whole asking you to give up smoking much thought. But don’t worry I've done my research after praying Fajr today and I went to buy the necessary items with the money my uncle gave me yesterday” She tells me so kindly that I cannot help myself from smiling
“Well for your weed addiction, you can try this thing called EFT a method to break habits. By applying pressure on certain areas of your body whilst thinking about your craving you can reverse this craving for whatever it is you do not want.”
“What does that mean?” I ask her feeling confused.
“Well it means_what I'm trying to say is_OK I have NO IDEA what it means but I was hoping you would understand it better?” She replies embarrassed that she does not know the answer
“I don’t get it either, but don’t worry I used to smoke weed occasionally. Smoking normal cigarettes is my main issue, I'm not gonna lie to you I'm craving it right now” I confess it with shame engulfing me.
“Oh OK. Look what I got from the pharmacy yesterday. It’s a nicotine replacement cigarette looking thing, how amazing” She tells me excitedly
I look at the pretend cigarette and I think to myself, what a ridiculous looking thing! Imagine standing with my friends and they are puffing away and they are like “dude what happened to your puff?” No way! I would rather go cold turkey than look stupid with that thing
But she has such an excited look on her face, I find it difficult to tell her exactly what is on my mind
“That’s great thanks” I say that instead
She hands me the annoying looking cigarette. I hold it and plan to chuck it aside as soon as she is not looking, but she looks like she is waiting for me to try it
She waits excitedly for my reaction, so I have no option but to pretend it was the greatest invention since slice bread
“Oh my god look I can smoke it but no smoke comes out! How great is this!” I say it with a pretend enthusiasm
“Oh I'm so happy it works! Now moving on to the next problem. About the reporters outside, I though long and hard of how to get rid of them” She tries to explain her plans to me.
“You know how they say any publicity is good publicity?” She asks.
“Yeees?” I mimic her voice.
“How about we just go out there and give them what they want! We’ll tell them exactly what happened, but we have to keep mentioning your dad’s shop in as many sentences as possible” She tells me her brilliant plan
“That’s so clever!” I cannot believe I have not thought about this myself.
“Let’s get this over and done with Inshallah. I feel bad enough already, it’s all my fault they are here in the first place” She explains.
I go back to my room and I change into a more suitable attire, I start to feel nervous and that is when I normally smoke but there is none around sadly
The only thing that it IS here, is the silly looking cigarette that is in my hand
Oh well, desperate times calls for desperate measures. I inhale it and surprisingly it does not feel so bad after all!
Anyway I make my way down and I see that Shaimaa is already at the door.
“Come on, I'm ready” She tells me nervously
We open the front door and the flashes blinds us! We make our way to them and the questions rain on us thick and fast.
“HOW DID YOU MANAGE TO BRING DOWN A THUG WITH JUST A SLIPPER?” One asks.
“IS YOUR NAME REALLY NINJA?” Another wonders.
The questions kept coming, and we answered them the way Shaimaa suggested. I kept making sure that all these reporters knew that Shaimaa is my wife
I was just so proud of her for thinking about this little plan of hers. My admiration for her continues to grow, and a question suddenly dawns on me
Does she feel the same way about me? Or does she see me as some kind of a charity work?? Oh boy! How come I have never thought about that before??
Subhanallah that was so daunting and scary, but Alhamdulilah it is done and dusted I just hope that it works Inshallah.
I am sure they will leave after today, but that is not what I am worried about. I am worried that the whole free publicity thing will not work, and that they may skip the whole mentioning of my uncle’s shop
I have to say with Osman being at my side, it made the interviews and the flashing of the lights a bit bearable. How ironic is it that I am not allowed to fall in love with my own husband! I cannot deny that I am starting to have feelings for him, when he is probably just feeling sorry for me, because of what happened to me
And also Ramadan is going to be here in like five days, and this will be my first time spending it away from Egypt and my family
Ramadan in London is gonna be bleak I am sure, but I will make the most out of it Inshallah
“Shaimaa, I forgot to ask you something” Says Osman standing by the stairway.
“What is it?” I ask intrigued by his sudden seriousness
He seems to be thinking about something, and he does not say anything for like a loong time and I suddenly feel a tiny bit worried!
But before I could ask what is the problem, he starts to speak.
“What are the sweets for?” He asks brightly yet I can see a hint of hesitation.
“Oh. I thought you might get them when you do well with your whole giving up thing, but I decided to keep them for myself instead” I tell him shamelessly
He laughs and then after a moment of thinking, he makes his way outside!
“Where are you going?” I ask him surprised
“I’m getting you a surprise” He tells me, smiling broadly.
“What’s the surprise?” I ask him, thinking I hate it when people do that
“It wouldn’t be a surprise now would it?” He answers me annoyingly
But before he could leave, he bumps into his dad. Osman seems a bit startled to see his dad at this time of day!
“You seem to be coming home early these days?” Osman says it lightly to his dad.
“I want you all gathered at the sofa in 5 minutes” Says uncle Khalifa in a military voice that makes you think, We better do as he says
Osman felt the same way. He retreated to the sofa IMMEDIATELY, and waited for what his dad had to say.
“MAAFAYLE! COME DOWNSTAIRS THIS MINUTE!” He yells his wife’s name? I thought her name was Fifi
She comes downstairs FUMING
“Why are you calling me Maafayle for??” She asks in mortified
“Just sit” He orders her dismissively.
We all sit and wait for this big announcement. What is going on? Maybe he decided to tell them about the illness! Oh goody, that would certainly be the best thing he could do
“Well, you must all be aware that Ramadan is in Five days time Inshallah” He starts the conversation “And I have decided that I’m gonna take you all to Egypt, so we can spend it with my brother”
None of us find the words to express how we truly feel. I look at Osman and Fifi and I can tell their reactions clearly! Osman looks completely confused and speechless.
On the other hand Fifi looks GOB SMACKED and MORTIFIED, her mouth is open so wide that you would think my uncle told her that he is seeing another woman!
“HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND?? I’m not going there!” She replies defensively at my uncle’s suggestion.
“You can choose to stay but I’ll make sure you’re completely left out of my will” He threatens her
“What has gotten into you lately?? You wake up at the middle of the night confused, you get so short with me? And now this? I don’t understand any of it! Is this some kind of a middle life crisis?” She smooths down her tone to avoid his wrath.
“You and your son have no idea what’s going on with me. All you care about is how much money I bring to this house, That’s gonna change from now on. Make yourselves ready in two days time. I took your passports to obtain Visas, I don’t want any arguments from either of you right now” He looks at Osman and Fifi with a mixture of anger and sorrow in his eyes.
“I don’t care about anything. I’m not going” Declares Fifi defiantly.
“My brother had an accident and I never even called! You are coming with me, or consider yourself divorced” He issues her with a very chilling ultimatum.
“This is madness!” Was all she could say, because she can see that my uncle was serious.
Uncle Khalifa leaves us all stunned by his revelation. Osman just sits there quietly absorbing this information, he does not appear to be angry or mortified! Fifi on the other hand is fuming, you could actually see smoke coming out of her ears! OK that bit was not true
I cannot begin to tell you what I am feeling right now! This whole thing is so sudden! It is mad! We cannot leave in two days time and be in Egypt in time for Ramadan?! Can we?
Well if the author thinks she can make my uncle obtain a visa in two days time when it normally takes at least 15 days, then who are we to argue ey
My sweet Egypt and family, HERE I COOOMEEEE INSHALLAH
Two days later__
I should have told my dad about the whole John thing, but I did what Osman does best and that is being in denial. Burying my head in the sand as the saying goes
I actually cannot believe that we have touched down in Egypt, and we are on our way to my uncle’s house already! What was I thinking!
I did not get any text messages from Kevin or Amber. Of course I did not, because the deadline is tomorrow! I shudder thinking about what they might do if they knew I ran away
I think I need to send them a quick message, explaining that I am in Egypt and that I will get them the money in a months time!
Of course that is a complete and utter lie, because I doubt that my dad will be so generous but it will buy me some time until I figure out what to do!!
I have to say Egypt is still the same way as it was the last time I visited it. AIR FULL OF POLLUTION MAN!! it just hits you as soon as you enter the airport, it just does!! A whole month of this and I am dead FOR SURE!
My mum’s reaction is the same as mine, she keeps shooing SOMETHING I just cannot figure out what it is
On the other hand Shaimaa and my dad seem close to tears as they walk towards the exit. Shaimaa seems so happy that I hide my urge to put my hand on my mouth
My dad has informed my uncle that we are coming, and he sent us his wife’s sister son to pick us up from the airport. His name is Hossam, and he is quite tall with sharp features and looks around our age. He also wears glasses, and has a beard and wears one of those short trousers that “brothers” wear when they practice their deen properly.
In other words he is Mr I am too serious for my own liking. And I swear to god I saw him look at me in disgust, even though he hid it well with a fake smile like this
You see I have a rule, if someone is not showing you their teeth when they are smiling then they are being fake. I know what a genius innit
I also did not like the look he gave Shaimaa MY WIFE YEAH? I swear he looks at her as if he likes her or something! Yeah I know they are cousins, but I know that look even though he does not look at her directly I kept seeing him giving her glimpses
OI OI OI MATE, Step away yeah!! Well I did not actually say it out loud, but I think I need to have a word with Mr serious and warn him to back off
On the car ride__
“So Hossam, what do you do?” Asks my dad polietly.
“I’m currently in the Faculty of Medicine uncle, I just finished my second year Alhamdulilah” He says proudly, oooooh I study medicine! I bet my dad will say MASHALLAH SON YOUR DAD MUST BE SO PROUD! 3 2 1
“Mashallah son your dad must be so proud” Says my dad, TOLD YA!
So Mr Hossam and my dad continue talking, and I try to block the fact that my dad will always find me a disappointment that he is stuck with!
I look out of the window, and I see the streets are decorated everywhere. I have not seen that on the last visit I came here, they look so amazing!
When we came to where my uncle lives, I was mesmerised with all the decorations
I feel like a kid as I raise my head to see the lights hanging from every flat. They from like a zigzag line forming all through the flats, I also see giant lanterns hanging through them somehow.
I stand there open mouthed, and I don’t notice everyone getting their suitcases out of the car. When I come off my trance, I see Shaimaa carrying a suitcase
“Whoaaaa, give me that you” I tell her jokingly, and taking the suitcase from her.
She laughs and then I see Hossam shooting me evils!!! Well, I would hold my wife’s hand just to annoy him but we all know Shaimaa’s slippers story do we not?!!
“Osman, Ramadan is tomorrow Inshallah! Can you feel it around you? Can you hear it?” She asks me as we make our way to her dad’s flat.
I can indeed feel it, and hear the songs coming from every house and shop.
“They’re all Ramadan songs, they are all saying welcome Ramadan we’ve missed you” She explains enthusiastically
“It looks wonderful I have to admit” I manage to reply as I feel my whole being sweeping away with happiness.
Ramadan comes and goes in London as if it’s nothing! But in Egypt, it’s a wonderful month from the looks of things
No wonder my dad insisted to bring us here! And talking about my dad, I see him and Hossam and my mum enter the building leading to my uncle’s flat.
I was still looking around, when I noticed Shaimaa’s still frame
She’s looking at this guy and I can see her shaking from where I was. The guy blows kisses at her and winks before he says something to his friends, and then they all start laughing out loud.
WHAT THE HELL!!! I try to go and warn him to never EVER chirps my wife AGAIN, when I see Shaimaa putting her hand on the wall to steady herself
“Who’s the jerk?” I ask her concern sweeping my mind.
“That was him Osman. It was him” She replies with a voice barely a whisper.
Of course I know what she meant by “him” I feel my anger coming to the surface the way it came when I killed John and it scares me!!
I calm myself before I tell her
“Shaimaa. I promise you that guy will pay one of these days, but right now, we need to go up to your mum and dad who desperately miss their daughter OK?” I promise her this, and the things I have planned for this guy is way too evil to reveal just yet!
She gets her composure back, and we go to her mum and dad’s flat. I do intend to make this person pay for her suffering though, of that I am deadly serious.
We arrived in Egypt, and I feel like home already. Ya Allah! It has been sooo long since I actually came to stay here. If I could choose a place to die, it would be here but a person does not choose where he/she dies.
We were dropped at my brother’s house by a strapping young man called Hossam. Mashallah, the boy is driven unlike my son
Right now, standing outside my brother’s flat I forget all my worries regarding Osman. All I feel is anxiety, and I also feel like bursting out crying already and I have not even seen him yet
Last time I visited my brother, my intentions were purely financial. I felt sorrow when I saw him in a wheelchair, but nothing compared to what I am feeling right now.
Since my diagnosis, I am feeling more emotional and confused a lot of the times. I just want to make amends with my brother before a big stroke hits me, and robs me of my life and my memory.
I wanna tell him everything. I wanna explain the feeling of resentment and jealousy I felt towards him all these years, I never really gave him a reason of why I hated him.
But I do not hate him now, illness wakes you up from your pathetic worldly issues. It makes you realize what is important and what is not.
After what seemed like years, the door opens to reveal a very kind man whose features tell the suffering he endures everyday
I bend down and I hug him fiercely, and I start crying. I do not care who is watching or who thinks this is weird, I never really looked at him before.
My big brother who scarified his place in University to give me a chance, is unable to walk. He is stuck in a wheelchair like a prisoner, I cannot explain what I am feeling right now.
I let go of the embrace, and I can see tears on his eyes too. His wife Sarah looks like she burst out crying from the scene, the only person finding this whole thing annoying is my wife Fifi
She looks so impatient and disgusted when she looks inside the flat! I just ignore her because I am not here to please her anymore.
I am here to rest my past, I am here to bury my hate and resentment that I have carried all these years. And I am not going to waste a second to do it, as soon as the hellos are gone and dusted I will speak to my brother. I cannot afford to waste another second, who knows how long I have got till this disease claims my brain forever.
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