12. Picture Perfect

Please think of 3 of the favours Allah has given you and say Alhamdulillah 3 times.

I spun around surveying the tiny room. Okay not so tiny but still, it was nothing compared to my lovely spacious room back home. Not that it mattered, I currently hated Papa. How could he kick me out of my own home. Which father is so heartless?

I’d tried everything short of throwing a tantrum, I’d even cried. Papa didn’t budge though, his steely determined eyes boring through me as he murmured, “It’s for your own good sweetheart,” just about broke my heart. Own good my foot! He just wanted to get rid of me. Everyone gets tired of me after a while and they all seem just too happy to get rid of me. Not that it mattered, I’m sure ‘Matron’ will get sick and tired of me soon enough. I’ll just have to do my part to speed up the process. I plopped face down on the bed, the events of the last 2 days running through my mind.

**

I groaned as I woke up, what had I been doing last night? I felt terrible. But more importantly where was I? I glanced about before bolting upright. Exactly where was I? What happened last night?

I groaned, why did I have this horrid feeling that I’d managed to get myself into some serious crap? All I could remember was enjoying myself at Parkers party and then…. Nothing! It was obviously morning and I was clearly in a bed so how had I gotten here?

“Okay Haalah, focus!” I commanded myself. Okay, there was no one else in the room with me, Alhamdulillah. I was fully clothed as well, albeit in my previous days clothes so Alhamdulillah for that.

‘If I just continue saying Alhamdulillah for each positive aspect I find I’ll hopefully find more. I mean it did come in the Quraan or something that if you’re grateful Allah will give you more, right?” I mused.

I exited the room, determined to find out exactly where I was but didn’t even go three steps before turning back on my heels and gasping inaudibly while scurrying back into the room I came from. What the…

I bent so my eye was level with the keyhole of the door and just stared. I was so glad they hadn’t heard me so I could observe them well. My heart was definitely racing. Today was just a weird day though. I felt like I’d been tossed into some alternate universe where things had changed drastically. I felt surprisingly calm though, probably because ‘matron’ was in sight. Even though she was so nosy, her presence still comforted me. I mean if she were here then I can’t be anywhere bad right?

But the sight through the keyhole still surprised me. Matron hugging some guy? It was downright weird. It was definitely not her brother nor uncle because I remember her complaining about having none. That only left 2 options, father or…husband. Both were equally absurd. The former because the guy next to her was way too young to be her father and the latter because… Well, surely I’d have heard if she’d gotten married. I zoned in on the guy. He looked to be in his early twenties so definitely younger than her and was dressed casually. My gossip radar was flying sky-high.

What I was sure of however, was that Apa Aaisha would never be alone with a strange man. Even when I was in her Madrassah, she’d stressed so much on the laws of niqaab so there was no way that she’d violate them. I was still puzzling over who he could be when a small child, who looked around 5 years old marched in by them. Grabbing onto the guy’s hand, she spoke, “C’mon I’m ready. Assalaamu Alaikum Ummi, see you later.”

I intook a sharp breathe, ‘Ummi’? Woah! I was really in the dark. Since she looked to be about 5, Apa Aaisha’d probably gotten married just after I left and had a baby soon after. This was a real shock to my system.

I heard the sounds of them leaving the yard then of footsteps approaching the room. I jumped back into bed and yanked the covers up, seconds before the door opened.

What happened after that was a bit of a blur as I ate breakfast and went back home. I still didn’t get any answers to my 101 questions. Seriously, what the heck was going on.

We pulled into my driveway at 6:58 AM just minutes before Papa left for work. He looked from me to Apa Aaisha and back to me. “Where are you coming from Haalah?”

Apa Aaisha stepped foward then, “That’s exactly what I wanted to speak to you about.” She turned to me,”Haalah why don’t you go shower and change.”

I sulked, ‘Oh so now just because the housekeeper was around so she wouldn’t be alone with Papa she wanted to send me to my room?’. Well I needed answers so I wasn’t going to just give in like that. I crept around the couch and glanced skeptically at the small niche in the corner. I’d sat there plenty of times as a kid when I wanted to eavesdrop. The only problem was, would I still fit?

With my tall height, that niche looked incredibly small. “Oh well, I have nothing to lose,” I murmured inaudibly as I lowered myself into it.

I sat as still as I could, with all my limbs squashed into an extremely uncomfortable position. Matron was yapping on for herself, about me having too much freedom. I shifted slightly to stop my legs from going to sleep. Oww! My limbs were going to be killing me tomorrow for sure.

What Apa Aaisha said at that moment made me freeze.

“I know it may have not been the best thing to do but I took the liberty to have Haalah tested for drugs. She tested positive but..” I clenched my muscles tight. It took all my willpower not to jump up and defend myself. “But not just for any drug, for roofies. It’s clear that she can’t be left to her own devices and cannot be trusted to look after herself. You need to start taking more interest in her life and keeping better tabs on her.” My head was spinning. Any other time I’d be fuming at her forwardness but now I was too busy trying to digest the bombshell she’d just thrown at me. ‘Roofies?’ She wasn’t serious right?

“But I really don’t know how she managed that. I even checked on her this morning and she was there in her bed.” Papa replied feebly. I cringed, I really loved and hated how gullible Papa was. Loved it because then I could get away with stuff easily. Hated it because his innate trustfulness just piled on the guilt heavier.

Losing track of my surroundings I muttered in a voice riddled with affection and guilt, “Papa!”

I was brought back to earth by matron scolding, “Haalah! What is wrong with you? You are eavesdropping!  Why are you acting like a two year old?  Get out of there before you injure yourself! I really wonder what goes through that head of yours sometimes. Mind explaining to us how you were in two places at once?”

I just looked from papa to matron and back to papa unsure what to do or say.

“Fine!  Don’t answer, I’ll just find out by myself.” Matron spun around and marched up to my room before I could stop her. I closed my eyes and braved myself for the storm that was about to come.

“Mr Adams, why don’t you come up here and see for yourself how cunning that daughter of yours is. You really need to open your eyes and see what’s going on right under your nose. Haalah cannot be trusted with you as you are far too gullible.”

I wished the ground could swallow me as Papa stared at my artful arrangement of pillows with the perfectly placed wig – which I’d had specially made to match my own hair – perched at the top.

Papa seemed to just deflate then and when matron suggested that I go stay with her where I’d be under proper supervision, he readily agreed. I pleaded and pleaded but he simply ignored it.

It hurt. Really it hurt so much. He clearly didn’t care. He wouldn’t ignore me if he loved me. But then again everyone ignored me. Not that I cared. Seriously I don’t. I don’t need anyone to love me. Love is superficial and for dreamers and romantics only.

I don’t need it. I bit down hard on my lower lip in effort to keep these disturbing thoughts away.

But even as I packed and went over to ‘matron’s’ stupid house, the one incessant thought continued to plague me, try as I might I couldn’t suppress it. ‘You’ve caused it now Haals, you broke Papa’s trust and apparently with it his love. There’s no one left who loves you.”

 
The more grateful you are for the bounties of Allah the more He will increase them for you. 

Suspicion is a very big sin so never make assumptions and jump to conclusions. 

Never be alone with a strange Non Mahram male.

Parents open your eyes and see what’s going on right in front of you. Children are extremely cunning and intelligent and can outsmart you quite easily.

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