“I don’t know where they have hidden This man. Some people say he is kidnapped, others say he might be attacked by gangs and killed or something. The last time he was seen in when he went out for fajr prayer, in his favorite white kanzu and new shoes. It was strange that he put on new shoes to the masjid. It was strange that he dressed up for fajr prayer. He mostly does for jumuah. The strangest part is that he left his phone home. He left everything. It cannot even be an accident because he looked like he was going somewhere after that. But he has never come back. It’s been a week now and his family has lost hope. Everyone has lost hope but I haven’t. I will pray for my Ali till the day he will come back.” Raya cried as she spoke through the phone. Mona felt very pity for her. She knew that Raya was going through a heartbreak. She knew that her friend had very high expectations of that guy but they had never talked. She was sure the guy knew nothing about Raya. Raya was hurting from within and talked with too much passion affection. Poor girl was in love. She had never seen her this way. All this was just contradicting what Raya had always been standing for, three months ago.
When she came back from school she had changed, she started wearing jilbab out of nowhere. A few weeks later she has niqab on. A few weeks later, Raya does not shake hands with men. Eventually, she started giving fatwa about everything happening around. It was all for the better though few people felt she was exaggerating. Nevertheless, she never looked like a girl who would start having affection from men out of nowhere before marriage. She was the ideal haraam police. Now, Raya is two-faced. She is a haramy and a lady in love with a guy who is now nowhere to be found. She came home and always mentioned Ali in her statements. This was now an obsession. “what if he has run away on a mission?” Mona asked.
Raya got shocked. “what do you mean?”
“shhhhhh” Raya interrupted by shutting her up. She stood by her point that Ali could not do that. Mona had to kill off that story and change the topic since everyone had forgotten about it. Ali is counted dead, “inna liLlahy wa inna ilayhi rajiun” all they could do was pray for him.
ONE MONTH LATER
“Heyy Mo, I’m bored at work I need to go home during lunch hour”.
Raya was at an industrial attachment for three months of the school holiday. She loved the place and had never gotten bored there. It was near the beach and also near a safe space where all her friends met. She could go there and chill or catch up with people. Why did she even text Mona? It sounded strange.
“Hey Raya, we can catch up, let me come over. What’s up?”
“No, don’t stress, I just want to go home I’m not feeling well”
“fine, I can take you home”
“No no, you don’t know my home. We relocated”
This one was a red alarm! It didn’t make sense at all. They can never relocate from a family house, and even if they did, she would’ve told her earlier.
“Where to? When? Relocated with who?”
“To ferry. Just here in the sea. With my whole family”
“What?! What are you saying? In the sea with which family? Your mum, auntie, and sister?”
“No, my other family. You don’t know them. They are calling me”
“okay, just wait for me there I’m coming for you. I’ll take you home.
“You can’t, you don’t have a car. Duke will take me. He promised”
Duke was the director-general of that company. He was everyone’s friend but he didn’t know Raya that much, to give her a ride home. He didn’t know where Raya stayed.
Mona rushed to Raya’s working place and on her way she gets a call from Duke. “Heyy, your friend just collapsed. Is she sick? Does she have any special needs or what’s up? Should we take her to the hospital? She is crying. Where are you? Can you get here?”
She got there in no minute and found her dear friend sitting at the director’s chair, in his office. Crying. She asked her what was up and Raya kept on saying her family is calling her in the sea. She was not well. She suddenly stopped crying and started waking up to pray. As she bent down for sujud, she fell down and slept. She fainted. Friends and coworkers gathered in to give her first aid, one of them decided to bring a glass of water and recite some Sarah’s from the Quran till she woke up. She drank the water and sat up. She didn’t know what had happened to her but she was sure she didn’t want to go back to that university.
It is either whatever is attacking her was in that school, or whatever is attacking her was an enemy of her education level. She complained a lot about it but gladly, she was just going back for graduation. She was done with classes but before the actual date really reached, Raya had fallen down several times at her workplace all her coworkers knew about her. She decided to take some time off from that area, of course for people to forget all that, also to avoid people pitying her. Graduated from university, and one day she met Mona and went like, “by the way love, I’m getting married”
“to who? Since when? Love I’m so happy for you but I’m also not sure how to react. You’ve never had a boyfriend. You’ve actually never told me anything about this guy but you sound serious. At least for the fifteen years, I’ve known you, this one sounds real. Maybe it’s just a new guy. Tell me more, I promise I won’t judge you”
“it’s this month. 23rd”
TO BE CONTINUED…