Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Making Amends (final part)

You might try your hardest to change for the better , but regardless of this fact, change only comes when Allah deems you are ready for it. Deep down I always knew that I wanted to do what was right, deep down I always knew half the answers but every time I had tried to follow those answers I would only find myself , second guessing myself and not making any progress. These past couple of weeks, making changes didn't feel difficult and for the first time in a really long time , change was welcomed by me, I didn't dread it. I had finally started packing things and looked forward to moving back to my hometown. Even though I was unsure if life would take a turn for the better or worse, I trusted Allah's plans for me and I wasn't bothered by my decision.
Susan and Aminah were arriving by the afternoon train , as I stood at the train station I felt a strange kind of excitement creep over me, the same kind of excitement I used to feel as a little girl when mum would help us plan sleepover parties and I would anxiously wait for my friends to walk through our main door, impatiently waiting for the fun to begin. Having Aminah and Susan over felt like a slumber party too. 10 minutes later, I saw three familiar faces walking towards me, I felt over joyed to see them. Omer had decided to join Aminah and Susan too. I was glad that he came , I needed all the help I could get, dismantling and packing my bachlorette pad that no longer felt like home.
I hugged Aminah and Susan. "Assalamalikum!I am so glad you guys are here finally." I turned to Omer. "Assalamalikum , Jazaka Allah khair for coming." I couldn't stop myself from smiling and surprisingly Omer half- smiled back at me too. Only his was polite and he didn't maintain eye contact and well mine was a huge ear to ear grin , resembling that of a little girl's on Christmas eve...umm sorry I meant Eid eve (If there is such a thing) "Hey , you can smile?" I asked. Hearing that , Omer let our a big laugh and said "yeah and I can laugh too." We all just stood there and shared a laugh and it just felt right. 
As we walked towards the car, Aminah linked her arm in mine and said, "This hijab style really suits you and the color looks so nice Masha'Allah." 
"Oh, Jazakillah. Yeah I decided to wear a little differently today."
"Its great that you decided to wear it again, Alhamdulillah."
I drove everyone home and the drive to the apartment was pleasant and cheerful with Susan sitting in the passenger seat and Amina and Omer in the backseat.
"Awww you have such a cute place! Its a shame you have to sell it." Said Susan wistfully. "Yeah, part of me would never have sold it for the world but what can I say my priorities have changed now, I want to be with my family now."
"Yeah, living alone isn't easy but think of all that you are selling this apartment Nourah!Your freedom!"
I smiled at Susan and replied. "I may be selling my apartment but definetely not my freedom."
"I think having one's own place to live is the mark of an independent woman, that's what made me get my own place when I started working."
I knew Susan was an opinionated person, her views about everything we fixed and she wouldn't change them for anything or anyone. I felt it was best not to argue but what she said got me thinking.
"Oh, Susan are you making an offer for buying this place?" I teased.
"Oh no no no, I just thought you should reconsider moving back to Surrey."
" Trust me, I have had plenty of time to think things over, my mind is made up"
"I guess I better get going now Aminah, Farooq must be waiting for me, I promised I would have lunch with him." Said Omer
"Hey! You can't go yet I made lunch for all of us, atleast have some before you go."I said
"No, no its best I was on my way."
I sensed the hesitation in Omer's voice. I knew why he wasn't comfortable staying at the apartment with us. I went to the kitchen and put some chicken casserole in a plastic box and handed it to him.
"Well, in that case you take this with you and give my salam to your friend Farooq."
"Jazakillah Khair, I will. Aminah may speak to you please."
Aminah and Farooq stepped out of the apartment to talk and I began setting the table for lunch. Lunch was a lavish spread of chicken casserole, baked potatoes and Cesar salad .
"Nourah, you have outdone yourself! Everything tastes so good!" Exclaimed Aminah
"Yes! I agree I wonder whats for dessert." Said Susan
"Aww thanks guys , save room for some apple pie please."
"Nourah , I hope you didn't mind Omer leaving like that, he will be back in the morning Insha'Allah to help out"
The rest of the day was spent talking and laughing in the evening we all went for dinner and after returning home Aminah and Susan looked quite tired and decided to go to bed early. I was not sleepy at all. I had too much on my mind. My mind went back to what Susan had said . and I thought ' was I really giving my freedom away?' I liked to believe wasn't but her reaction had made me second guess myself. I had repeated told myself that moving back to my parents house was the right thing to do but now as I asked myself once again the answer seemed to come with difficultly and it lacked conviction. I began to walk around in the apartment trying to memorize every nook and cranky of the place that was not going to be my home for long.  It was true that I loved the place. Each and every detail of it: the texture of the walls, the wooden floors and that faint smell of cinnomon that would also hit my nose everytime I came home from work. Tears began to flow and I couldn't stop myself. I had tried to be brave about this whole situation telling myself that it was the easist thing because back in Surrey I had a loving family and friend who wished for me to be back and I knew I had their support no matter what , even though I had ignored them in past and on several occasions had behaved rudely towards them. 
Now as I sat there in the dimly lit living room thinking I wasn't sure if it all my friends and family would be so welcoming as I had originally thought. I mean I had been pretty mean to them in the past. They had every reason to hold a grudge against me and push me away. I remembered the night I had read Aminah's letters to me: filled with burning accusation, hurt feelings and saddness. She had needed me and I had not been there for her. I wondered if she had really forgiven me.
Just then I felt someone place a hand on my shoulder. I looked up to see Aminah's kind face stare back at me. "Have you been crying Nourah?" She asked worriedly. "Oh no no umm its just..." I tried to wipe the tear away and give an explanation but nothing came to mind and more tears fell. 
"Whats wrong ? You can tell me?" she said sitting down next me and wiping my tears with a tissue.
"What if Susan is right? What if I am giving away my freedom by moving back to Surrey?" 
"Freedom is a state of mind I feel, no one , not even one's parents can take it away , unless you want them to, Nourah."
"But what if I let them?"
"I don't think that will happen because you have always been the strong- headed one in the family and besides mum and dad are really looking forward to having you back. They really miss you."
"I'm scared , I mean I thought I had everything sorted out in my head but I don't there is so much packing left  oh whats going to happen to all this stuff I have but don't need anymore? What if you are wrong and no one wants me to be back and I don't find a decent job and and" 
"Shhh... Just relax and take deep breaths. We don't have to figure out everything in one go. You have made some difficult choices and with Allah's help you were able to make them so don't second guess yourself just keep praying to Allah, He is the best of Planners trust His Plan for you. " Aminah said , gently rubbing my back.
I tried to take deep breaths and clear my mind , Aminah was right.
"Nourah, people will talk and continue to express their opinion even where it is not needed. You cannot let what others think of you and your decisions define your life. Because what may be the right thing for them may not be right for us and more so because we are Muslims our sense of right and wrong should only be defined by the Quran and Sunnah not popular opinion held by the people."
"Yeah, you're right...I don't what came over me I just.."
"No need to explain yourself its perfectly normal to feel the way you do, its okay." Aminah hugged me. I hugged her back .
"Aminah, there is something I have been meaning to talk to you about."
"I read the letters you wrote to me , last time I came to your apartment. And I know that no amount of words can suffice as an apology for how I treated you, I feel so bad for not being there for you when you needed me the most. I just hope that you can forgive me."
I expected Aminah to upset at me for reading the letters but she wasn't. Instead her eyes welled up and she gave me a weak smile and said, "I forgive you Nourah, I wrote them to just let out my frustration, I never meant any harm by them .It was so difficult to talk to you and you were never interested in helping me or talking to me. Getting married to Omer has been the most difficult and the most life changing experience of my life. All my life I relied on you the most for advice, for support and as someone to listen to my problems and complains.I felt life was moving at such a fast pace and I thought I needed you, to me your aloofness was like a punishment. As time went by and I kept writing to you I realized that all that time that I thought I needed you , I really didn't I just wanted you there and what I really needed was Allah's help and slowly and gradually I learned to rely on Him more and trust my own capabilities knowing that Allah would always be there to help me. Then with time I truly was able to forgive you. Let the past stay in the past Nourah."
I hugged Aminah , and there was nothing more to say I knew the past with all its misunderstandings and regrets and been well and truly buried in the past and I was determined to move on with my life.
The next week went by fast and all 4 of us were busy packing , sorting and cleaning. I was grateful for all the help and before I knew it I was heading back to Surrey. I didn't know what lay in store for me but i was certain of one thing Allah is the best of Planners. I felt a surge of gratitude towards Him for allowing me to repent and turn back to Him. For making difficult choices easy for me and above all reuniting me with my family after a long time . It was just the distance of our homes that had me so far apart from them it was also my unwillingness to connect with emotionally that made matters worse. I was glad I was well on my way to making amends and my prospects looked bright ,Alhamdulillah

1 comment:

  1. I loved this story masha'Allah. Well written and it kept me gripped until the end. I'm glad that Nourah reconnected with Islam and made amends with Aminah. xxx