By Mumtaz Moosa-Saley
Ayshoo went out shopping, and I was left all alone. Usually, a person would find solace in the quiet, but my heart was sore today. A bright green bird caught my eye as I looked out the window. Its melancholy song made me realise how alone I felt.
My wife, Bibi, was gone, and although I had the children and grandchildren, the emptiness she left was always present. Allah tests us all in different ways, and I would say to myself constantly as this was my test to understand that we come from Allah, and we will return home. It isn’t easy. I missed my home, the home that made me feel like I belonged. The house where both Mohammed and Ayesha were born and were married, the home that held memories of moments when Bibi would tell me she made my favourite for dinner, the same house that once became cold because I allowed it, I now missed it.
Over the years, Mohammed and I were close, but since he moved to Dubai for a better life, I don’t know him anymore. I miss him, but the reality is that I wonder if what goes around will come around. Could this be my punishment for not speaking to my brother for many years?
I wandered around the house feeling lost. I sat on the sofa and missed the life I once had, the comfort of it all. When I was young, I had my health, but I had no time for my family; now that I have time, no one has time for me. I was wallowing in self-pity until I realised that I was being ungrateful.
Ayshoo and her husband had taken me in and made me part of their family. The small errands they give me, like picking up the kids from school, give me a purpose, which we need when we are older.
I glanced at the time, and I realised that I would be late for school rounds. I grabbed my car keys and dashed out the front door. Ok, maybe not dash, as my turtle speed would mean I walked with the grace my old bones would muster!
I called Farouk, agreed to pick him up, and drove to school like two cool dudes on a mission. I laughed as Farouk and I reminisced about the days we ran around town and then compared it to our current lives, where the most exciting thing in our day was fetching Luqmaan and buying ice cream from the vendor outside the school. Nevertheless, we all need to be thankful for small moments.
“This is by the grace of my Lord! – to test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful! And if any is grateful, his gratitude is (a gain) for his soul; but if any is ungrateful, truly my Lord is free of all needs, Supreme in Honour!”
(Surah an-Naml 27:40)