Chapter 1: Chapter 1 Uniquely Yours
"Would you like a glass of water?" Hania inquired politely.
Her gaze sought my face and when I nodded; accepting the glass with my right hand, I captured the sides of her mouth turn up into a warm smile, that immediately made me feel at ease.
She explained to me every appalling detail about how they found me, up until now and how I only regained consciousness just over three weeks ago from a horrific incident that left me with unpleasant and worrisome injuries, which still showed on parts of my scared body. I wrenched painfully when I tried to move my left hand but it was of no surprise because Hania's family doctor had previously informed me it would continue to hurt inordinately for a long time, due to the incident.
"Ahlam! Are you okay?" Hania asked worryingly
"Would you like me to get anything for you for the pain?" She asked overly concerned.
"No, no, it's okay Hania, but thank you. l took something for the pain not long along but I guess it hasn't start targeting the pain yet" I responded pessimistically.
"Look Ahlam…" Hania said sympathetically, as she placed her hand on my left thigh and took a seat by me on the deep blue velvet sofa, "since you've been with us, my parents and I have absolutely and undeniably grown very fond of you. Whether you accept us or not, you're not getting rid of us any time soon. You've now become part of our family Ahlam and I promise you; we'll do our upmost in supporting you in regaining your wellbeing… you're not alone. Whenever you need us, we're right here, remember that okay?"
With glazed eyes on the verge of crying, I stared at her innocent face with the highest rank of gratitude and thanked Allah for placing me in such a wonderful and loving family Masha'Allah (God has willed it)
"Now sleep, you need to rest…. Oh! By the way" she suddenly chirped; returning back to her happy self.
"We have a guest returning home tomorrow who has been away for five whole years, leaving us with so much to do around the house!" As she said this, she studied my reaction carefully that left me suspiciously raising my brows in confusion. Not pursuing the matter further, she just smiled not giving anything away.
"Erm… it's a guy if you are wondering" she added, trying to keep her tone light, whilst studying her nails. Knowing full well the question was running through my mind.
My hands began to shake with fear as I recalled my past and what occurred. Guys were untrustworthy, they always pursue and harass girls but was it really fair of me to say all guys were the same?
"Hey! Hey! It's okay… take a long breath and release, and again. That's it. Calm down. Breath in and out and relax" Hania tried to calm me down while I just closed my eyes. I didn't even realise tears were falling until I felt her finger tips wiping them away.
I miss my family. I miss my parents. I miss my brother. Why did Allah have to take them from me? Why was I saved? Who saved me from that traumatic accident?
"Hania, please tell him to stay away from me… please" I begged
"I will do my best to lower my gaze from him, I will even try never to come face to face with him but I know this will be hard with us all living under one roof but I beg of you Hania, please help me with this request" I pleaded, and she agreed with a dubious smile.
Hania knew deep down it was a request she regretfully wouldn't be able to keep because she knew her brother. She knew of his loving and caring nature and most definitely of his charm. When two people are alone in a room; a guy and a girl, the shaytan (the devil or evil spirit) will always be the third one causing mischief.
Changing the subject, which I can only presume was to calm me down, she asked with interest "tell me about yourself Ahlam. How were you and your family before everything happened?"
After a long spell of hesitation, I looked down at my hands and quietly aired out everything I remembered about my family up to that fatal day. It took a lot out of me and I had to take a moment to stop the tears from returning but when I did, I brought up happier memories.
"Parenting is not easy Hania but one of the things I was so proud of my parents for were how they encouraged me to always be kind and friendly to others. To always put myself in their shoes so to say because you never know what others have been through. My mother raised me never to exclude a member of family… even if it meant the littlest child." With a faint smile, I added "It was always a huge rule in our family that no one should feel left out or made fun of anywhere, including school and work. They used to always be the first in line to support friends during hard times…" taking a second, I looked up at Hania "I first experienced this when I was around five years old. I was so moved by their gesture that I started to cry in the hallway, I remember thinking, how thoughtful and how inspiring it was to move through the world helping others."
I began to feel my eyes becoming tearful again, which Hania noticed and immediately comforted me by giving me a warm sisterly hug and I leaned it her gladly. I knew there and then that I was going to love this girl. That without a doubt, we were going to become very close indeed.
"My mother; like many other mothers was a loving and caring soul Hania and oh! how she loved to cook. She was certainly the anchor of our home and the driving force for our family. My father was the discipline one in the household but not in a cruel way but religiously. He loved his family very much and used to hold himself responsible for his family's well-being. His hobby was gardening, he spent so much time out there and our garden was always kept so beautiful Masha'Allah." (What God has willed)
"I have a lot of respect for my parents Hania but my inspiration was my dad. He did a lot for us all and everyone he knew. My brother, he… he was such a wonderful be… being… I'm sorry Hania, I can't go on. I miss them all so very much" removing myself from Hania's hug, I sobbed deeply into my opened hands.
"I'm so sorry Ahlam, I should never have asked about your family. Please forgive me" she said, slipping her arm over my shoulder.
"There's nothing to forgive Hania. I can fully appreciate you want to know me a little better but I'm sorry, the memories are just too fresh in my mind to share with anyone, please understand?" I spoke.
"I understand Ahlam" she said as she propped her head on my shoulder "and I pray to Allah that I will never experience what you've been through. My family is so precious to me and I know without a doubt that I'd be totally lost without them in my life. Without their presence close by would cause an unbearable turmoil to me... I'm really sorry Ahlam for bringing up painful memories for you, I truly am."
Tilting my head onto hers, I said "I pray that you'll never get to experience what I've been through too Hania; you or any other member of your family and friends. Promise me what I've just shared to you stays between us? I'm not quite ready for anyone to know of my personal life yet?"
"Also, please also try and keep your brother away from me?" which she solemnly agreed.
In the last three weeks, since I regained consciousness, I've nurtured a lot of love and affection towards Hania's parents. Although they don't know much about my past yet, it never once clouded their judgement of me. They have always shown me the exact same love they've shown their daughter, I'm just not ready, or able to share details about my past with them or anyone yet - except Hania, she looked different. Trustworthy. Someone I knew I could trust wholeheartedly.
Once I was left alone, I stood up from the comfort of the sofa and tugged back my long sleeves and stared down at my fully exposed bruised arms; from the elbows to my hands. This was the reason that whatever the temperature was outside, I always wore long sleeves.
I stared at myself in the mirror, my once lively blue eyes, which used to shine like our beautiful sun and was as clear as a cloudless sky, is now swollen from endless crying; pale, blank and lifeless. My cheekbones were sore and swollen from the insides and my smile that never reaches my eyes anymore, disappeared the day of the unforgettable accident. I traced every part of my face with my fingertips and suddenly felt insecure and nervous. I was no longer beautiful, I was just a normal face in the crowd looking back at me from the reflection in the mirror. How can this family claim me to be a member of their family? How could they possible bear to see me on a daily basis?
Ya Allah why is my heart filled with so much negativity? People are going through so much worse yet they are strong willed. Why do I feel so weak compared to them?
"Because you have stopped praying" A voice startled me. I turned around, but there was no one there. It was all in my head.
I stared at the janamaz (prayer mat) and with trembling hands, I did what I hadn't done since the accident, I went and did ablution and prayed two Rakats of Namaz (performance of prayer) thanking Allah for giving me a new lease of life and for giving me such a loving new family.
I prayed for sabr (endurance and patience) and for those whose loved ones have passed away. I prayed for the protection of the family who have kindly taken me under their wing and accepted me into their lives to always stay blessed with happiness and good health. And I prayed for myself and others who are suffering, plenty of potency to carry on with our everyday tasks. Ameen. I felt relieved once my prayer was completed and checked the time; showing 11 pm.
Folding away my janamaz, I laid it neatly in the night-stand drawer and turned to my comfy king-size bed that was beckoning me over. There was no denying how much of a good night's sleep I've had in this bed. With a deluxe mattress fit for royalty and a duvet so soft and fluffy and pillows so overwhelming that I felt like I was on cloud nine. This family has certainly gone all out in ensuring even my bed provides me the positive impact I needed with the healing process of my wellbeing.
Silently praising Hania for her commitment in supporting me with her daily supervision and assistance during my morning and night-time routines, I slithered in underneath the soft duvet and laid my body on the cool and pure cotton Egyptian sheets and couldn't help releasing a tiny moan of blissfulness; the softness against my skin was unbelievable. As I reached out to pull the duvet over me fully, I unexpectedly put too much movement into my left hand that caused me to shriek out in pain and tears to form in my eyes. Reaching out for my prescribed ointment on the nightstand, I gently rubbed it into my hand but just the simplest touch pained me.
"Ya Allah! My dreams of raising my own family, with a guy who loves me has now turned unrealistic. I'm no good to anyone anymore"
Staring up at the ceiling, I thought of what might occur tomorrow and ways to avoid Hania's brother, while at the same time wondered what his personality might be like or what he looked like. He must have a lot of stories to tell being away from his family for six whole years?
Somewhere in my musings, I finally fell asleep and have some respite from my aches and pain.
Stop complaining and living like life is a race, everything will happen at right time, whether you need a job, you want to get married, or anything else just have patience and faith, just go with the flow, you are on your path, no one is winning and no one is behind.