3. Disillusioned

***Aaisha***

Okay, she was good, really good. Or it could be that I was losing my touch. She really had me there. And here I thought I was too smart to get hoodwinked. I glanced over to the girl sitting in my passenger seat. Haalah Adams, who would have ever thought we’d meet again and that too, under such circumstances? The state she was in, the condition I’d found her in, was enough to bring tears to my eyes. I was terrified that I wouldn’t handle the situation right but informing her father of her less than savoury activities seemed like the best solution right now.

I sighed and checked the time on the dashboard, 2:48 AM, on a normal night I would be fast asleep at this time. I sometimes wondered why I did things like this, why did I care so much? But then I remembered that these where MY students, MY children, by being their Apa even for a short while, I felt a sense of responsibility over them.

I looked at the girl sitting next to me with her hair tumbling down her shoulders in perfect curls, her slim top which revealed just a slight hint of her cleavage paired with black jeggings and tried to reconcile her with the Haalah that I had known, The sweet, slightly bashful, bubbly kid. I just couldn’t though, even her facial feature seemed different now that they were covered with face powder, foundation and only Allah knows what else. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined dragging her out of a club!

Okay, not actually from inside the club but picking her up from the club entrance was just as bad. The worst part though was that this wasn’t the first time it had happened. The exact same thing had occurred 2 months ago when I’d received a call from Diana, a waitress at the club, that there was a ‘Moslem’ girl here at the club and they were closing so she didn’t know what to do with her. She offered to put her into a taxi and send her home but she needed someone to pay the taxi fare. Besides, she didn’t even know the girls address and the girl was quite incoherent.

All of this at two in the morning when even I couldn’t think coherently so I downed  cup of strong coffee, suppressed the urge to crawl back into my warm inviting bed and braving the weather elements, stepped into my car and drove to the club. There, I picked up the girl and wondered how on earth did Diana know she was Muslim because I seriously couldn’t make the distinction. Not knowing what to do then, I took her to my apartment and stayed up with her until she could tell me her name and where she lived. To say I was shocked was an understatement and I would have done something then but my tiredness, her pleas and her promises to never do it again made me drop it. Besides, I didn’t exactly want to be someone who pokes her nose into others’ businesses and it was quite late, no make that quite early in the morning.

So you can imagine my surprise when I received another call from Diana today telling me the same girl was there, they were closing up and someone needed to pick her up. Deja vu much? This time though, I wasn’t going to turn a blind eye and let her of the hook so easily. How could I witness such blatant self-destruction and turn a blind eye? I just couldn’t especially when it was by someone who was my student, okay former student but same thing. My mind had difficulty comprehending that a Muslim girl could behave like this and do things like this. I’ve heard a lot about the condition of the Ummah today and how Muslims didn’t actually behave like Muslims anymore but coming face-to-face with it, actually witnessing it with my own eyes was something else.

I blinked as I realised the enormity of what I was about to do. I was about to shatter the perfect illusion that her father had of his darling daughter. Did I really have it in me to do this? Did I really have it in me to blemish the picture perfect image of their lives?

Advertisements

2. Caught!

I purposely remained silent for the next few minutes, trying to unnerve her. I knew it was working when she kept glancing over at me to check if I was fine. I however didn’t even look up, but the next time she looked at me I forced my lip to wobble just a little bit. I’d sworn of crying for good after the events that happened 3 years ago, that no one would ever cause me to spill my tears again because no one was worth it, but  it looked like I’d have to make an exception. I mean, it was for a good cause. Her eyes softened after that, barely perceptibly, but it did.

 

I didn’t give in though, I needed to wait for the perfect moment. When it came I was ready for it, “Haalah, is something wrong?” And perfectly on cue, I let loose a torrent of tears. Her countenance softened considerably after that. I kept up the act, forcing out huge sobs until she pulled up at the side of the road. She then did something I really didn’t expect, she pulled me into a hug and began to soothingly rub my back. The gesture was so motherly and unexpected, that I involuntarily stiffened due to the unforeseen emotions that bubbled up in me. When was the last time someone hugged me, was it sad that I couldn’t remember? If I were to guess, I’d say maybe 4 or 5 years ago. When was the last time that someone even just.. . I forced down this unexpected torrent of emotion that she caused to rise in me and if it weren’t for the fact that doing so would ruin my plan, I would definitely have pulled away immediately.

 

I remained in her embrace for a little while longer, secretly loving it but hating myself for loving it. I gave one more sob for good measure before pulling away, and wiping away the tears. “Want to talk about it?” she offered gently. Shaking my head vehemently, I tearfully spoke, “No, it’s just that… That I made a mistake, and .. and now papa’s going to hate me and… I can’t bear that he’ll be disappointed in me and… I promise I’ll never do it again..  Please don’t do this to me.”

 

“Sshh Haalah, it’s okay. I wont, just calm down,” she soothed. I was all teary-faced on the outside but inside, I was jumping for joy, She took the bait. I was saved. “It will all be fine, Haalah, I’ll come in with you and help break the news gently and I’ll make sure your dad doesn’t do anything too drastic.” What! No no no! This can’t be happening. Anger surged in me. Who was she to poke her nose into my business? She cannot tell papa. She can’t destroy the perfect image he has of me. She can’t, I thought desperately. I needed to find another way to stop her. I was snapped out of my panicked musings when the car jerked back onto the road

“Wow! You should apply for the Oscars,” she said angrily, “Way to control the tears.”

It was only then that I registered what I had done. In my shock, I’d dropped the act. How did I not realise that. I was caught! As the enormity of what I had done hit, so did despair. I was running out of options and had absolutely nothing to fall back on. Someone please help me out of this mess…