Friday, 12 April 2013

The Answered Call

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Assalamu'alaikum, y'all!!

Alhamdulillah, I've finished this latest writing project of mine.  I had to finish this one in a week or less cause I wanted to make time to write and finish Chapter 3 of my UK series.  That said, this story that I wrote based on what I read on Facebook, has nothing to do with my UK Tales series nor any of the previous ones.  Criticism is always welcomed but do keep it light and "professional".  No need to make bad blood here.  Also, you guys can read this piece and also some of the few others I made in the "My Own Self-Made Stories" label right here in my blog or you can read it in my Notes in Facebook for those who are friends with me in it.

So here you go, guys.  My latest piece, "The Answered Call".

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          I never wanted to get married.  Okay, that’s a lie.  I do but at least not right now.  Much less an arranged marriage.  I thought of finding my own lady.  A person who’s outgoing, spirited, chirpy but elegant and graceful.  Apparently, my parents had other plans for me.  There’s this daughter of a friends of theirs.  I met the girl once and I merely glanced at her.  I didn't even say anything to her.  But no, my parents thought we were a “perfect match”.  A “match made in heaven”.  It sounded like a really cheesy movie or novel.

          I remember it like it was just yesterday.  I guess it was just luck that I got a job offer even before graduating college.  A few months after finishing graduation and getting my degree, I had more job offers than I had interviews.  Of course, at the time I was living with my parents.  It was still too early to find one anyway but I was planning to find one for sure when my financials steadied.  Back then, it was just me, my little brother, Umar, and my parents.  I got home seeing my family in the living room.  The T.V was on but their eyes weren’t locked on it.  What do you expect when you got parents with smartphones and a little brother who fiddles with his iPad?  I didn’t think they notice me when I walked in.  I walked and stood in front of them.  I was in between them and the T.V.  Just to make sure they were still in reality, I switched the T.V off.  Sure enough, it knocked them out of their technological daze.

“Hey, I was watching that!” my dad said.

“WE were watching that?” my mom joined in.

“Why did you do that for?” Umar had his say too.

          It’s funny what technology can do to people right now.  It’s a wonder they even noticed I turned the T.V off.

“Assalamu’alaikum.  I just got back from work.  Would've been nice if any of you noticed I walked in you know,” I said with a smirk.

          They chuckled and went to their gadgets again.  Wow, I thought.  All this technology can be helpful and all but it could also be our downfall one day.  I mean have you seen “The Terminator”?

          Anyway, I went to the kitchen to get a glass of water.  I sat at the dining table.  Apparently they switched the T.V back on.  Whether or not their eyes are on it, I had no idea.  My body was aching from work and working out at the gym.  I smelled my mom’s cooking on the stove.  I took a whiff.  Nothing beats a mom’s cooking, I thought.  I took off the loosened tie from my neck and took a few sips from my glass before reading the newspaper on the table.  After a few pages from the newspaper, my mom came into the kitchen.  I had a bad feeling because at the time I knew she wanted to talk to me about something.  I had an idea what she wanted to talk about.  She came and sat opposite of me at our round dining table.

“So, Iman, are you ready?  Because it doesn't seem like you are,” my mom said.

          I cursed under my breath.  I knew it.

“Honestly? I don’t know.  Mom, I don’t even actually know her.  I met her once.  Just once,” I replied.

“I know you have other plans but it’s not like you’re seeing anybody right now, right?”

“Well, no,” she cornered me.  I hate it when that happens.

"Then?  You know, a lot of arranged marriages work," I had no idea where she got that from.

I leaned in front like an evil villain.  "Really now?  Pray tell, where did you get that info, mummy dearest?"

"Don't you use that sly tone with me, Iman.  Ever heard of the phrase "mother knows best"?"

She got me again.  Mom: Two, dos, deux.  Me: Zero, nada, zip.  She has that effect on people.  Not just me.  I was silenced.  No comeback.

"I thought so.  Iman, 'Aqilah's a nice girl from a very good family.  True, you've met her just once but she'll grow on you.  Your dad and I wouldn't be doing this if we know it's the best choice.  Plus, you're almost 27.  I thought you said you wanted to get married at 25."

And the contest ended there.  Mom: Three, tres, trois.  Me: Zero, nada, zip.

"Okay, mom.  I get your point.  Fine, I'll grow through with but I'm not saying I'll like it.  She's not even that pretty," I protested.

My mom smiled. She got up, saying ,"Looks aren't everything, you know?"

          With that, she left the kitchen and our conversation ended just like that.  There were a few months before the akad nikah.  I thought about what my mom said.  I didn't know whether to deny it or just go with the flow.

          Eventually, I went with the wind.  The day came and I gotta say the reception went really well.  Both my side of the family and 'Aqilah's.  Despite us getting married, it still felt pretty awkward linking arms and having her hugging my arm while we walked around the hall meeting everyone.  She did look happy though but I was still uncomfortable.  I didn't actually know her anyway.  Everybody congratulated us.  Our friends, family.  A friend of mine said that he thought I'd be the last person in our clique to get married.  Well, "challenge completed".

          After the reception and the photography session at the lake, we went home.  My house was still full of my relatives.  Some good friends of mine stayed back, too.  'Aqilah and I went to the kitchen.  There was a lot of leftovers from the wedding so my parents gave my friends some of it.  I was tired.  All the emotions started jumbling up and I didn't want to ruin the mood.  I still asked to help ,"That's a lot of food.  Need some help to pack them all?  Maybe give it to Aunt Halimah or something?"

"You look tired.  It's okay.  You go rest.  Maybe spend time with 'Aqilah," my dad said.

"Uh, if you don't mind, I'd like to help out," my wife smiled at me.

"Sure.  I'm a little beat.  I'll see you upstairs okay?" I told her.

          I got up to our room, got changed and did my prayers.  I didn't go back downstairs to see any of them.  That might be considered as rude in my part but like I said, I was really tired.  I sat at the foot of the bed.  I felt glad but confused at the same time.  Yes, I was finally married but I have all these emotions jumbled up in my head.  I couldn't say that I love her yet.  Do I love her?  Will I love her?  I had no idea to be honest.  She's not even that attractive.  Some people thought I was shallow for thinking that but hey, what I thought should count.  I was the one getting married.  Not them.  I laid on the bed.  The pillow was being really friendly.  I felt like I was on a really fluffy cloud.  There's also this one thing that my mom told me before I got married.  'Aqilah usually wakes up and do prayers in the middle of the night around 3 or 4 in the morning.  I told my mom that I wouldn't mind.  Maybe not every night though.  Once in a while is fine.  After all these thoughts rummaged my head, my eyes felt heavy and my sight was getting blurry.  I finally gave in and let go of all consciousness.

          Sure enough, I woke up at night with 'Aqilah shaking my shoulder.  Her voice sounded faint but it got clearer when I was fully awake.

"I'm sorry for waking you up but can you please be my Imam for tahajjud prayers?  I know I'm not really the first thing you'd want to see right now but can you please pray with me?" she told me.

          One thing's for sure though.  I was tired and yeah, I forgot I was married.  How was that possible you ask?  I have no idea.  So I woke up and did the tahajjud prayers with my newly wedded wife.  After giving the salam, I felt different.  I felt a kind of joy.  A new-found happiness.  It felt a little bit odd.  After reciting du'a, I turn to salam 'Aqilah.

Staggering.....

Her face shone with such radiance.  She literally took my breath away.  Those flecks of light in her brown eyes.  My heart stopped for a second.  And then it was beating so fast, I was scared she might hear it.  I was somewhat stunned to see how amazingly beautiful this woman who I can call my wife was.  I held out my hand for salam.  She kissed my hand like any wife would.  With both of my hands, I took hers and looked straight into her eyes.  It was like staring into a brightly lit abyss that was trying to tell me all this time.  It finally hit me that I'll never be alone.

"I don't mind waking up to see your face every single day of my life, dear," I said before kissing her forehead.  It was only a few moments after that I knew she was praying to Him that I'll accept her as who she was and hoping that she was beautiful through my eyes.  It worked.  I'm not a religious person but there is a verse in the al-Quran which is....


"Call upon Me; I will respond to you."
[Surah Ghafir,40 : (Aayah 60)]

He answered her call.  I praised the Lord for opening my eyes and lending me His light in this world.  A light that is my wife.

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Well that's it guys!  Haha!! I really...REALLY hope you guys like it.  Comments and views are always appreciated for those who read it here (if any).  Mind your language though.  Aye?

See you guys on the flip side!!


P.S: It's not wrong to be a hopeless romantic ;-)