I know, I know. It’s been a really long time since chapters. I’ve been dealing with a very packed schedule, many personal issues and also, trying to take out some time in Ramadan to pray. It’s been a lot and I’m still currently about to write an exam on the 11th so there will be *very* few chapters until after Eid.
Jazakallah for your understanding 🙂
I was beginning to think I was allergic to New York. Jet lag was one thing but I’d been miserable for the past week, sick all the time and barely able to keep my eyes open. Zak was convinced that I was just a bad traveller and I’d agreed with him at first but now I was starting to worry.
One good thing had come from my mysterious illness. Zak had been convinced by his mother to stay away from me just in case I was contagious and she herself had stayed far as well.
I was left to be doted on by sweet little Amira, something which I couldn’t help but think of as a blessing in disguise. I’d realized from that first day that while Zak was many things, he was a less than devoted caregiver.
I’d embraced the break and Amira’s sweet, undemanding company but now I was beginning to worry. If I didn’t feel better by tomorrow, I decided, I’d ask Zak to book me a doctor’s appointment.
I’d never slept so much in my entire life – not even when I was a baby, if my mother was to be believed. What the hell was going on?
Zak had offered to call a doctor to the house when I’d asked him to make me an appointment. Lying awake at two in the morning, I wanted to kick myself for turning him down.
For the umpteenth time, I turned over to try and find a position that didn’t make me nauseous. A minute later, I bolted up and rushed to the en suite to bend over the toilet.
I was fighting back tears. Zak was fast asleep and I knew he wouldn’t be happy if I called him to come and tend to me. He’d do it, I was sure. But I felt awkward asking.
Truthfully, I just wanted someone to come in, take one look at me and know exactly what was wrong and how to fix me. I wanted Mom. I wanted her to hear that I was sick and fly out immediately to take care of me the way she had when I was tiny.
I didn’t care that I was a grown woman with a husband who should have been able to handle herself. I just wanted my Mom.
She answered the phone on the second ring, sounding harried. “What is it, Az? I’m about to go into a meeting. Do you need something or can I call you back?”
I was supposed to let her go into her meeting but I couldn’t.
“Az?” Mom asked impatiently. “Hello, are you still there?”
“Mom,” I sniffled.
“What’s wrong?” Mom’s tone changed immediately. “Did something happen?”
“I don’t feel good.” I’d turned back into a little girl, needy and demanding.
Mom was quiet for a second. “I’m booking a flight to come out to you,” she said finally. “Have you seen a doctor yet?”
“No,” I admitted. “I have an appointment in the afternoon. We thought it was just jet lag,” I explained, trying to excuse myself.
“I’m on the next flight. I’ll be there in about ten hours,” Mom assured me. “Try to stay calm. Where’s Zak?”
“Huh?” I swiped a hand across my face, trying to concentrate. “Oh. He’s sleeping.”
“Well, wake him up and ask him to call me back, please.” Mom sounded puzzled. “I’d like to talk to him.”
“I can’t,” I whined. “He’s in the other room. I’m too tired to go, Mom.”
“Alright,” Mom said soothingly. “Don’t worry about it, I’ll take care of it.”
She stayed on the phone with me for another half hour, her familiar voice soothing my nerves as she told me stories and distracted me.
Mom paused for a second and I knew what was coming. “You have to go.”
“I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
I nodded, fighting back an attack of sudden, overwhelming tears. I didn’t even know why it hurt so much but saying that goodbye made me feel like a portion of my insides had been scooped out with a blunt knife.
I was still curled over the phone when Amira’s arrival with my breakfast of juice and dry toast, the only things my body would allow me to keep down without a fight, startled me into waking.
She was dressed in her usual uniform of head to toe black, shapeless cloth and her hair was bound tightly in a plait that went down her back. If not for her sweet smile and bright face, she would have been indiscernible from the shadows that still filled the room.
I blocked a yawn with the back of my hand and Amira frowned concernedly down at me. “Would you prefer me to come back later, ma’am?”
“No,” I said immediately. “I cannot go back to sleep, don’t let me,” I instructed her. “I’m sick of sleeping.”
Amira bit her lip. “If you’re sure, ma’am.” Setting the tray down on my knees, she added, “Would you like me to put that on to charge?”
I froze halfway through holding the phone out to her, recalling just why it was in my nest of blankets instead of the nightstand where it was meant to be.
I’d called my mother in the middle of the night, sobbing like a child. I’d… Dear God, I’d made her book the next flight out to come and see me. “What time is it?” I demanded of Amira, already knowing as I spoke the words that it was too late. Mom had only ended her call with me when she’d gotten to the airport.
Last night, I’d felt justified in making her come take care of me. I’d been ill and terrified and I’d wanted someone there with me. Now, with the chill of the morning bringing in with it rational thought, I couldn’t escape just how selfish I’d been.
Mom had been on a plane for hours and even now, a part of me deep in my centre was filled with warmth knowing she’d done that just for me.