Chapter 1. Coffee

This story was written (and also takes place) in 2010. It’s a total of 22 chapters and it’s been without a title for 8 years! I hope it adds joy to your Thursdays.. Enjoy..

                                                                       Chapter 1                                                                         Coffee

The low sound of chatter was echoing around the place, adding a rhythm to the jazz music that was softly playing. Ring tones and chat notifications were heard from one corner to the other.  The guy behind the counter was screaming numbers and calling for customers to pick up their orders. His navy blue uniform was stained with tiny drops of coffee. This place was known for its rich coffee aroma that had the ability to pull anyone who’s passing by, with no intention to have coffee, to come in. And the atmosphere was never complete without the girl with the black-framed eyeglasses who sat in the corner almost every evening with a book.

Her head was buried in her book when she heard the noise of high heels knocking on the wooden floor. Without looking up, she knew who it was.

“Yara! Enough reading” said the girl and pulled the book! “Jane Austin? Who’s that? Anyway..”. she placed the book on the table “look at me! Notice something different?”

“Oh let me guess..you dyed your hair..AGAIN” said Yara sarcastically. “Next time you think of closing a book, remember to use this thing!” she held up a book mark.

“Hello ladies” said a feminine third voice.

“Nadiaaaaaa, here you are! Save me from your boring friend.” Said Dalal fixing her freshly dyed hair.

“What’s it about this time?” Asked Nadia as she sat down, trying to hold a laugh.

“Jane Austin” Said Yara shaking her head.

“Honestly Nadia do you know who Jane Austin is?” asked Dalal with a disgusted look on her face.

“Yes, and I like your hair” Said Nadia sweetly.

“Thank you very much” said Dalal and stared at Yara, “See?? Now this is someone who appreciates beauty. And she’s getting a free coffee for that” she got up and headed to the counter.

“What’s going on? You only read Jane Austin when you’re down”.

“Nothing.” Said Yara with an absent mind.

“You know that you can’t hide anything from your life time best friend. Tell me.”

“Nothing new. It’s my mum”

“Adventures of Auntie Sajida. What did she do?” asked Nadia intrigued.

 “She’s been too depressed lately”

“But this was the case since your father passed away”

“Yes. But it’s getting worse with time. She’s not getting any better.”

“What makes you think that?” asked Nadia worried.

“She’s glued in front of the TV all the time. All she cares about are Samar and Muhanned from the dubbed Turkish Series she’s obsessed about. She yells when her tea is cold and threatens to leave the house when we run out of slice bread! That’s not normal!”

“Al-Ashq Al- Mamnoo’a? That is something that would attract her!” giggled Nadia. “But don’t be so worried. She’s the strongest woman I’ve ever met and she will find her way just like she always did”

“I hope so. Change the subject. Dalal is coming!”

“You won’t believe who just walked in!! Remember Osama?? The hunk in Accounting class?” said Dalal excitedly as she placed a tray on the table.

“You still get excited over those people? It’s been six years since we graduated from University!” said Yara.

“You stick to your Jane Austin! Nadia, OSAMA IS HERE!”

“Aaah, Osama. He was the only reason we attended Accounting” said Nadia in a dreamy tone.

“And the married woman speaks of her old crush” teased Yara, finally breaking her serious mood.

“He was every girl’s crush!!” said Nadia justifying herself.

“I can barely remember his face” said Yara squinting her eyes and discreetly looking around.

“He’s single by the way” said Dalal taking a sip of coffee.

“Single? He got married a long time ago! Remember?” said Nadia approaching her cup.

“It didn’t last for long” winked Dalal.

“Really? I didn’t know he was divorced!” said Nadia shocked.

“Well, he is divorced and you have lost your chance.” teased Yara.

“I’m going to search for his Twitter account tonight” said Dalal excited while Yara and Nadia laughed loudly.

“Please don’t stalk the guy” begged Nadia.

“Anyway. I’m planning a trip to Paris next month and I need a companion” said Yara.

“I’m so in” screamed Dalal excited.

“What about work? I thought that you ran out of leave days!” said Yara.

“I did. But unpaid leave is always an option” said Dalal with a huge smile.

“Nadia? Will you come?” asked Yara.

“Why Paris?” wondered Nadia.

“Photo shoot. What else!” said Yara.

“I’d love to. But I’ll have to check with Manaf first” said Nadia.

“Oh come on. Hubby can survive without you for few days. And he’ll be out of town anyway” said Dalal.

“Yeah, please talk to him. If I go alone with Dalool one of us will end up killing the other”

“Definitely!” confirmed Dalal.

“And you really need a getaway. Maybe you’ll get inspired and figure out what to do with your useless life” said Yara.

“Just because I quit my job doesn’t mean I’m useless” said Nadia offended.

“She’s married give her some credit” said Dalal.

“It’s not enough. You really need to do something before you end up as a Desperate Housewife.” Said Yara.

“Ok ok. I’ll talk to him tonight” said Nadia.

 

***

Yara reached her house to find her mother sitting in her usual spot, cross-legged on the sofa right in front of  TV. A tray with a floral cup and a pink thermos was placed on a small table next to her.

“Did you have dinner?” asked Yara as she passed by the living room. Her mother ignored the question. Nothing existed for her except for the Turkish episode that was loudly playing on TV. “I’m going to Paris” said Yara in a louder tone.
The mother let out a sarcastic laugh but didn’t comment.

“Mama, I’m talking.” Said Yara starting to lose her temper.

“And how will you pay for it? With the fortune that your dad had left for us?”

“I don’t need a fortune. I have to keep the studio running. I need good photos to sell!”

“This useless business of yours will shut down sooner or later. And the three of us will end up living on the streets!”

“Where is Tamara? I haven’t seen her since yesterday” asked Yara with rising concern as she noticed her sister’s absence. Her mother looked confused for a while, “I haven’t seen her either” she said.

Yara and Sajida started searching around the house looking for Tamara in panic. Her bed was made and nothing in her room showed any sign that she spent the night in the house. They kept on calling her on her mobile but it was off!

“Don’t you have any of her friends’ phone numbers?” asked Yara.

“No! Why would I!”

“What kind of a mother are you? You can be careless with me, I’m a grown up. But she’s still in middle school and she needs someone to look after her!” said Yara in frustration.

“And you are her big sister! You are responsible too!”

 

“Have you seen Tamara today?” asked Yara as she stormed into the kitchen looking for the maid.

“No. She didn’t come home since yesterday” answered the maid.

“And you didn’t bother to inform us?” screamed Sajida.

Yara’s mobile started ringing in the living room. The three of them rushed to it hoping that it was Tamara calling. “IT’S HER” screamed Yara and took the call “WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU??”

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