Nadia’s dream of owning a shop was coming true at the wrong time. With all of what was going on with her and Mohammed, her family being abroad and Yara’s issues, she didn’t have the time nor the mind to give this shop any attention. On top of that, the location of the shop wasn’t as practical as she thought when she decided to rent it. It was the perfect place for a shop that stood alone in a street, but it wasn’t one of the safest locations in Bahrain as it was a common area for protests and riots during that period of time.
She decided to delay the opening of the shop till things got settled for everyone. It was almost ready with most of the items in place. Being in Munich for few days was a good chance to buy some missing pieces for the shop.
On Sunday morning she passed by the shop to drop the things she bought and arrange some items.
“There you go” said Yara handing her a takeout sandwich from Starbucks.
“Thank you. I don’t know what’s wrong with my appetite. Always looking forward to food!” said Nadia taking the sandwich gladly.
“Eat! It’s the only guaranteed pleasure in life”
Nadia laughed, “Someone is upset!”
“I feel like I’m at war with my own self. I couldn’t sleep last night”
“Still can’t make up your mind?” asked Nadia taking a bite.
“No, and having a limited time to think about it is putting me under pressure” said Yara annoyed.
“You are the one who told him that you only need a day or two to think!”
“Yes, only because it won’t be appropriate to delay the proposal again. This time it’s either we go for it or we just forget about it” said Yara playing with a pen that she picked up from the counter.
“I don’t agree with you. Take all the time you need and delay the proposal if you have to. If they delayed it last time then you have every right to delay it this time!”
“Not only that, I don’t want to live in this confusion for long. I have to make up my mind and move on”
“Just think of what made you be together in the first place.”
“Not enough. When I try to accept the lying part, I think about the risk of not having children.”
“I thought that it won’t be a big deal to you”
“Me too, but now I realized that it is. When you love someone you want to have a family with him”
“So if you find out, in any way, that he is able to give you children, will you go for it?”
“It gets confusing when you put it this way. Because I see him as a liar now and maybe we’ll face some trust issues” said Yara jumping on the counter to sit.
“I feel this wall is a bit empty. Would you care to get some of your photos here? For decoration and selling too!” suggested Nadia while staring at the wall behind the counter.
“Sure, I’m selling the studio anyway”
“Don’t think about the studio for now. Get back to it once you’re done with this complicated proposal that is taking forever” said Nadia being sarcastic.
“Maybe it’s a sign! When things don’t go smoothly, it means that it’s not meant to be”
“But I see you trying which is really good. You called Dalal! That was big. Shows how much you want to fix this”
“Dalal is not a big deal. I’ve been feeling guilty since she came to the studio to apologize that day. She was right, she made sense when she said that we don’t have to be best friends but we don’t have to stay out of each others lives either”
“Yeah that’s right. I don’t want to be close to her again too. Respecting limits is always the best solution” said Nadia while arranging some little books on a shelf.
“Did I make a mistake by going to her and telling her about it?”
“No, you needed to do that and it’s ok since you’re close to the family after all. But I wouldn’t tell her about Mohammed”
“Yes, you shouldn’t”
Nadia’s phone rang. She put down the little books and rushed to her phone.
“Hello” she answered.
“Hala” said Mohammed.
“Hi” she said happy to hear his voice.
“I have some news for you”
“I’m moving back to Bahrain next week”
“Next week? How? That fast?” she panicked.
Mohammed laughed, “Why so nervous?”
“You’ve been away for years. I thought that it will take you much longer to move back”
“I resigned today. It’s a one-day notice only so I’m already out of work. Will need a week to finalize everything else and that’s it”
“Too much to digest” She said shocked.
He laughed again, “You’re so scared”
“No, not that but what about Reem?”
“She knows that we are moving back. I told her so she could arrange herself. But I will talk to her about you today”
“And that is the hardest part. Please choose your words carefully”
“I will try my best” he said promising.
It was lunch time in Yara’s house. The dining table was set with a long plate of Safi fish and another one, just as long, with steamed rice on it. There was a tray with a jug of lemon juice and three transparent purple glasses. Just when the maid came carrying a bowl of salad, Yara entered the house.
“Yalla we barely have time. We have to go get the chocolate and I want to pass by the tailor” said Sajida walking towards the dining table.
“Is Tamara back from school yet?” asked Yara walking straight ahead to the dining table.
“Not yet, but we have to eat now and leave. I don’t have time to waste” said Sajida sitting on her usual chair with her hair rolled with few rollers.
“There is something that you should know” said Yara casually as she sat down.
“What?” asked Sajida while pouring herself some juice.
“There is a chance that this marriage won’t happen” said Yara while picking up a fish by its tail.
“Not a good time for jokes” said Sajida and took a sip of the juice.
“If I go ahead with it, there might be a possibility that you won’t become a grandmother until Tamara gets married” said Yara while putting some rice on her plate.
“What the hell are you talking about?” said Sajida putting the glass down and sensing the seriousness of the topic.
“What I just said! I’ve found out some things recently and now I have to reconsider” said Yara still very casual while cutting the fish.
“What do you mean by a possibility?”
“He couldn’t with Alia” said Yara filling her mouth with rice and fish.
“And why is this new to you? How come we didn’t know before?” asked Sajida in disbelief.
“I have to make up my mind now. To take the risk or not” she said looking at her mother’s face for the first time today.
“Laish? Laish ya rabby laish? Just when things got better for us! What will we do now! What will we do!!” wailed Sajida.
“Calm down. I didn’t say that I changed my mind. I’m still thinking about it”
“Are you crazy? This is a big risk!” screamed Sajida.
“Yes, but you know how much I love him and how good he is. If I’m still confused it’s only because he lied and didn’t tell me about it”
“This can’t be real. I need my Xanax. Where are my pills!!” panicked Sajida while getting up and rushing to her bedroom without having a single bite.
Yara’s careless mood suddenly switched to depression and anxiety. She stopped eating, took a deep breath and rested her head back on the chair.
Mohammed and his little family were spending the afternoon in Harrods’ kids section on the 4thfloor. They bought some children books for Khalid and then headed to The Diner for lunch. He kid was busy with his books, turning the pages and staring at the colorful pictures.
“Did you contact the shipping company?” asked Mohammed.
“Yes, I’ll need a few days to pack up so I asked them to come two days before we leave” said Reem.
“That’s better. I have to pack all the books for shipping too. We’ll have a lot to do this week!”
Reem looked away hesitant for few moments and looked back at Mohammed, “Say it..” she said.
“I know that you have something to say to me. Just say it!”
“You know me too well” he said avoiding eye contact.
“What’s this all about? Moving back all of a sudden? You’re no longer frustrated and annoyed as you always were. You’re calm. I know for sure that something has come up”
“You are right and I was planning to talk to you about it today.”
She stared at him anxiously, waiting for the bad news to hit her.
“I…am…getting married” he said carefully.
She didn’t blink an eye and kept staring at him with her eyes fixed on his.
“I’m so sorry. I am so so sorry..” he leaned a bit closer.
She breathed heavily, with words getting lost between her lips. She tried to say something but she ended up mumbling some unclear words in a failed attempt to speak.
“Let me explain to you, please” he tried to hold her arm but she pulled away.
“You don’t have to consider my feelings…my feelings…were never considered. I’ve always given you the freedom to live your life with no obligations. But…what about this boy? Doesn’t he deserve to be considered?” she said shaking.
“I thought about it. Of course I thought about both of you. Nothing will change, we will still be a family”
“Do you think that I’m a machine or some robot with no heart? No dignity? How on earth are you believing that nothing will change?! You made your decision and you expect me to be completely fine with it? How selfish of you! How disgusting!” she screamed and the boy stared at her frightened. She patted his head and he looked back at his book.
Mohammed was taken aback with her reaction. The dragon inside of her was unleashed and she was speaking up for herself for the first time.
“Is it Nadia?”
“Yes” he answered calmly.
“Obviously!” she said sharply.
“She tried hard to refuse just for the sake of you and Khalid. But..”
“You never got over her..” her eyes started getting wet.
“I tried. You know how much I tried..”
“And I left everything behind and moved here with you.” she said shaking her head.
“Reem, you are an understanding person and that’s why I am not doing this behind your back. I decided to be honest with you because I was sure that you will understand like you always did.” He said sweetly.
“Are you listening to yourself? It is impossible, impossible to continue living with you..”
“Don’t say that! You’re angry now..”
“The day you marry her will be the day we get divorced!” she stood up, gathered Khalid’s books, carried him and walked away. He waived to the waitress to get the bill and called Nadia right away.
“How did it go?” asked Nadia as soon as she picked up the phone.
“She asked for a divorce!”
“I told you..I told you from the very beginning.. this was a bad idea!!” she said in guilt.
“I felt an anger that was locked up in her for years. This only triggered it. Don’t blame yourself, it was going to happen sooner or later” he said patting his sweaty forehead with a napkin.
“No matter what you say, I will still blame myself for this”
“The only person that should be blamed is me”
“So what will happen now?”
“I’ll give her some time to calm down. But if she insists, then let it be..”
Sara was parking her car in the garage when Fahad was heading out of the house. She opened the window:
“Where were you?” he asked.
“Out with the girls. Why?”
“Bas. No one is home and I’m going out”
“Never mind. Any updates with Yara?”
“You are getting what you deserve! I warned you about lying but you just keep on doing so! I’d do the same if I were in her shoes! And imagine if someone did that to me, won’t you be upset?”
“Ok, enough. Did Osama call you today? He said he needed something”
“Nope. What does he want?”
“I don’t know.” he said staring at his phone screen.
“Ok! Bye.” She said closing the window.
One week later:
“We are here today to propose to your daughter..” said Um…..