He would not look at him.
He would not speak to him.
He avoided him whenever he could, and when he was forced to be in the same room as his son, he would rush out mumbling excuses to no one in particular.
It had been that way for over a week and Waseem was afraid his father would never get over the shocking news about his new job.
“You need to talk to him.” Layla coaxed, after dinner one night.
“How do I talk to him when he won’t even look me in the eye?”
“He can look at your shoes for all I care. You need to talk to him and make things right.”
And that was the only word Waseem got out before his mother left the room, mid-sentence. He let out a breath he hadn’t realised he was holding in as he racked his brain, trying to figure out how he would get through to his father.
He had known the news would not be taken lightly by Hasana’s biggest fan, but he had not anticipated his father’s icy silence. It hadn’t been like that in the beginning.
At first, his father took every opportunity to explicitly outline how terrible an idea moving to Toronto was, whilst Waseem tried to make him see things differently. The result was a stand-off between father and son.
The following morning, Layla made her self a cup of coffee as she sat down to read the newspaper at the kitchen counter, sunlight streaming in through the window, hitting her cheeks giving her a natural glow. Farouq hurried down the stairs as fast as his sixty-three-year-old legs could take him, and made a beeline for the door.
“Ah, not so fast.” Came Layla’s voice from the kitchen. A few second later, she appeared at his side. “You can’t avoid him forever.”
Her husband lets out a grunt. “I’m his father. I can.”
“You’re being stubborn about this. He needs our support Farouq.”
“No, what he needs is some sense smacked into him. The boy is mad. He can’t take care of himself let alone a nine-year-old! That too, he wants to drag her to god knows where-”
“Toronto.” Layla inserted as she watched her husband’s eyes narrow. “What? You make it seem like he’s planning on moving to Timbuktu.”
“I don’t care where he plans on moving to Layla. He can not do this.”
“And what grounds are you saying that on? He is her father Farouq. Waseem is Hasana’s parent. Like it or not, he calls the shots in her life. You need to get on board with that and you need to get on board with this because he needs our support.”
“How are you so calm about this?”
“Because I have had time to process. I have had days to think about this and accept Waseem’s decision. And I don’t blame him one bit for telling me about his plans and not telling you, especially since you proved us all right by reacting in such a melodramatic way!”
“I am not being dramatic,” Farouq exclaimed, whilst rolling his eyes.
“Yes, you are. I love Hasana as much as you do and I want whats best for her. But I also want my son to be happy. Don’t you think he deserves that?” But before Layla could finish her sentence, her husband was out the door.
This time, she let him go. Fresh air would be good for him, she thought to herself as she downed her coffee, folded the newspaper and readied herself for the day.
Hours passed by. Hasana came back from school, ate lunch and entertained Waseem and Layla with her daily stories.
“Hmm, where’s Dada?” She asked, looking around for her grandfather.
“He’s gone for a walk. He’ll be back soon.” But Layla’s voice wavered. She looked at the clock and realised that her husband had been out the house for 5 hours. “Why don’t you do your homework now Hasana? Get it over and done with.”
Nodding her head, she left the kitchen and bounced up the stairs leaving the two adults alone to talk.
“Mummy, is everything okay?” Waseem asked, laying a hand on top of his mother’s.
“I’m worried about your father. He left this morning in a huff and he’s been gone a while now…” She trailed off, thinking the worst. Living in a country like South Africa did that to a person. It made you jump to the worst conclusions possible.
“I’ll call him and if he doesn’t answer, I’ll track his iPhone.” Was Waseem’s simple reply.
“What?” Came Layla’s alarmed response. “You put tracking devices on us?”
Waseem rolled his eyes at his dramatic mother. “No, each iPhone comes with an app called Find My Friends- here let me just show you.”
The next half an hour was spent blowing Layla’s mind wide open as every conspiracy theory of the government tracking her moves flashed before her eyes.
“So… so… anyone can track my movements?” She asked in a critical tone.
“No, only people who you invite or approve of can see where you are. I’ve kept track of you guys on every trip I’ve taken, just to make sure you all were okay.”
Layla smiled sweetly at her son. “Well, that’s creepy but sweet. Thank you.” Referring back to the virtual map on her iPhone, Layla located her husband who was strangely sitting at a graveyard. Though many of their family members were laid to rest there, the first that came to mind was Aasia.
She looked up and met her son’s eyes. Giving him a reassuring smile, she watched as he grabbed the car keys on the table and headed out to find his father.
Layla lowered herself onto a kitchen stool as she struggled to swallow the lump that had formed in her throat, suppressing the tears that came with thinking of Aasia, Waseem and Hasana, and the family they could have been.
The first post of 2018, and as always it’s a sad one.
I mean, most of these chapters end in a sad way.
That’s just the super emotional side of me coming out I guess.
I hope you enjoyed this chapter!
Stay tuned for more…