Craning her neck and balancing her body on the tips of her toes, her head swayed from side to side as she stared at the sliding doors. Open. Close. Open. Close. But still no sight of him. Letting out a frustrated sigh, her heels fell back onto the ground as a frown made its way onto her face.
Noticing the sudden change in her mood was her grandfather who smiled as he pulled his granddaughter towards him, hugging her and kissing the top of her head. “Just a few more minutes.” He whispered in a reassuring tone.
Hasana let out another long sigh before untangling herself from her Dada, her paternal grandfather. Wiggling her way through the crowd she stood by the metal railing again repeating the process. She craned her neck, stood on the tips of her toes and swayed her head from side to side, as the sliding doors opened and closed, opened and closed.
And then she saw his round frames, his messy hair and his smile. Before her grandparents could stop her, she was crouching under the metal railing and running towards her father. Arms splayed wide open, smiling her most adorable smile, she pounced on him just as he zoned in on her tiny frame tumbling towards him.
“Daddy!” She screamed, as her arms wound up around his neck. She hugged him fiercely, scared that if she let go he would leave again.
“My baby.” He cooed, hugging her back with just as much force. He kissed her head. She kissed his cheek. They smiled at each other, wide goofy grins, showing just how happy they were to be reunited.
“I missed you Daddy.”
“I missed you too sweetheart.”
With his daughter safe in his arms, Waseem did not let go. Not when he greeted his parents. Not when his luggage was loaded into the car. Not even when they drove back home. He had missed hearing his daughter giggle. He had missed her messy curly hair. Most of all though, he had missed her hugs.
Hasana too had ached for her father while he was away. In his arms was where she felt most safe, most secure and for him to be back made her happy, unexplainably happy.
That evening, after dinner was served and after he had given his family a rundown of his trip from start to finish, Waseem readied his daughter for bed.
“Brushed your teeth?” He asked.
Hasana nodded her head eagerly.
“Washed your face?”
Again, he was met with an animated nod.
He walked towards the room with Hasana’s name on the door but when he looked back, his daughter had not followed him.
“Daddy- can I sleep with you tonight?”
His heart exploded as he looked at the centre of his world, the love of his life. How could he say no to her?
Bundling Hasana up in his arms, he laid her down on his bed. Tucking a loose curl behind her ear, he hummed a sweet song as her eyelids grew heavy with sleep. Slowly, her breathing steadied until she had dozed off completely.
Waseem looked down at his daughter and recalled a time when she had only a handful of teeth and was half the height she was. Hasana was tall for her eight-year-old self, a trait she had inherited from her mother, possibly the only thing she inherited from her mother. Her light brown hair and hazel eyes most definitely came from her father, but other than her looks and height everything else about her was unique.
She had a fiery personality for a little girl. Smarter than everyone in her class, she had skipped a year of preschool. Known for her unfiltered speech, she could be adorably honest and offensive at the same time. But above all, Hasana had a maturity that most eight-year-olds grew into when they were much older. Because of this, people treated her as if she were more of a grown-up than a little girl.
Waseem’s heart would swell with pride every time someone would remark on his daughter’s unique character. Though he knew he could take no credit for her upbringing, he couldn’t help but feel privileged to be Hasana’s father.
Planting one last kiss on her cheek, Waseem left his daughter to sleep in peace as he went to the kitchen in search of a snack. He was starving and tried to be as quiet as possible as he rummaged around in the fridge and cupboards for a late night meal.
Failing to be discreet, he was joined by his mother a few minutes later.
“How can you eat so late at night? It’s not healthy.” She lectured him while warming up a plate of leftovers.
“I know, it’s just that my eating schedule is upside down.”
She raised her eyebrows and waited for an explanation.
“We were filming all day long with no lunch break. Only late night meals. I guess I got used to it.” He scratched the back of his neck and thanked his mother as she laid a plate in front of him and joined him at the small table in the kitchen.
“Well, eating this late is a nasty habit.”
He smiled as his mother mothered him. “So how was her parent-teacher conference?” He asked, hoping to steer the conversation away from mealtimes.
“Well, it would have been nice if Hasana had her parent there.”
Crap, Waseem thought to himself realising that the conversation had gone from bad to worse.
“Mummy, it wasn’t my fault-”
“Don’t give me that Waseem. You knew about it and yet you left anyway.”
“It wasn’t like that. They needed me to film-”
“And she needed you there for support.”
Hearing his mother lay down the truth, he gulped. Once again, she was right. Hasana had needed him, as she had needed him countless times in the past and just like the times before, he had abandoned her and prioritised his work. He knew he wasn’t the greatest father out there and yet for some reason, his innocent good-natured daughter loved him.
No matter how many meetings he had missed, how many times he had cancelled plans and how many trips he took, Hasana never threw a tantrum.
“You need to get your act together Waseem.” His mother’s voice broke his guilty train of thought. “She’s growing up, fast and she needs her father around. No ifs, no buts, you make some changes.”
He nodded his head slowly as his mother rose from the table and left the kitchen but just before she was out of earshot, he found his voice.
She turned around and raised an eyebrow.
“Thank you. For everything that you do for Hasana and for me.”
“I’m your mother and her grandmother. It’s my job.” And with that, his mother left him alone with his thoughts.
Waseem knew that she was right. He needed to get his act together. He had a daughter, a beautiful intelligent daughter wise beyond her years and he was missing out on her childhood, exchanging precious memories for his career.
But it wasn’t just any career. Waseem’s job was his passion. It was everything he had worked towards before Hasana was born. It was everything that he and Aasia had dreamt of. Working, travelling and exploring made him feel like she was there with him, experiencing the plan that was never put in motion.
He looked down at his plate of leftovers and pushed it away. After thinking about Aasia, his appetite had suddenly disappeared.
Welcome to Solo!
I am incredibly excited to be starting a new story and I hope you’ve liked what I’ve written so far.
Feel free to let me know what you think. Do you like the first chapter? Do you hate it? Is it putting you to sleep?
Drop me a comment or an email. I’m all ears. Also feel free to explore this new site. The layout is a bit different to my previous blogs so I hope that no one gets too confused.
Until the next post…