بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيم
“Saadiq!” I yelled the moment I picked up the phone.
“Assalamualaykum, lil sis, you’re very excited, what’s the occasion?”
“Waalaykum salaam. Of course I am! I just came out of prison!” I said.
He laughed. “I forgot, you started school this week. How was it?”
“Oh it was awesome, if you call being stared at or being given homework on the first day nice!” I answered sarcastically.
“Stared at?” he asked, “What was the reason?”
I gulped, I hadn’t told my own brother about my niqaab, well this was the first time I was speaking to him, after he left for China anyway. “Errrm, my niqaab.” I said slowly.
“Wow!” he said after a stunned silence. “Good girl.”
“But I’m always a good girl.” I said.
“You want me to start?” he asked, ” What about the time when…….”
There was no way I was letting him go down memory lane about all the naughty things I used to do as a kid. Given the six-year age gap between us, there was alot of things he remembered of me as a child.
“Hey Saadiq,” I cut him off, “Guess what? I have a pen pal from China.”
“Whew, that’s great, now that someone finally realized that letters actually reach China as well as messages, I’ll be waiting for some. Now where’s my Mère?”
“Get a letter from me?? No ways! As for Mère you’ll have to wait she’s busy getting ready, we going out for dinner.”
“Yeah, you just made me feel even more homesick.” he groaned.
“And you know what?” I added in, “It’s a family dinner!”
“Rub it in more,” he groaned, “but seriously, where are y’all going?”
“Aunty Aaliyah.” I answered mentally dreading what I knew would follow that. “Invited us to some posh restaurant.” I finished, holding my breath. And just what I expected came next.
“Saadiqah,” he said seriously, ” be careful, please listen to mummy and papa and don’t go overboard. Please don’t go against their wishes and disappoint them, you know they don’t like Aunty Aaliyah’s ways.”
“Yeah.” I said rolling my eyes. I was only too glad to make salaam and give Mère the phone.
My father was totally different from his family, while they were extremely modern, my father was a bit more deeni inclined. Since he was the only one in his family who was deeni inclined they sometimes ridiculed him or called him holy. My father however always brushed it aside and looked for the good in them, never bothering what they said about him, thus we still saw them a lot for the sake of family ties.
When we were visiting I would often be with my cousins, who were like their parents. Thus I often did as they were doing, not bothering about my parents rules and regulations. Little did I realize that they were only concerned for my Aakhira.
Saadiq knew that I would follow their ways once in a while when I was with them and though he never told my parents, he encouraged me to stop and obey my parents but I didn’t always listen.
Two hours later, after we had eaten, my parents made an excuse to leave early before dessert, my daadi however insisted that I stay. I sat quietly avoiding eye contact with either my parents or my daadi lest they beg me to speak up and say what I wanted. My daadi finally won and she announced that I would stay and she would drop me off home later.
Mentally dancing with glee, I waved to my parents and demurely nodded to their commands to be good.
As soon as they were gone I turned around, time to have fun!