Riyaad:(jumping on his father from the back seat to give him a hug)”daddddy!!!!you brought uth to thee the boatth….”
Ismail:(opening his car door)”even better boy!come on I’ve booked a boat ride for all of us on the river”
Faaiza:”babes that is so sweet of you…jazakallah so much”
Ismail locked up the car,walked around to where I was standing and I was amazed..we walked hand in hand towards the boat…I thought I was dreaming…someone pinch me….
The kids and I waited near the boat while ismail went to the offices to finalize the booking he’d made over the phone….
Ismail:”all set…I hope you’ll enjoy this…there’s a kiddies section on the bottom deck with someone qualified to watch over them all the time..but lucky for us, the guy says that our kids are the only ones today…that gives us time to talk and enjoy the sunset together..we’ve still got about 20 minutes though before it starts”
Me:”oh great! Do you know where the bathrooms are?”
Ismail:”babes..you feeling okay? You never use public toilets(laugh)”
Me:”yip I know..but I’m desperate today..got no choice..actually I haven’t been feeling okay since yesterday, think I’ve got abit of a bladder infection..nothing serious though”
Ismail:”okay…I remember seeing the toilets. There where the offices are(pointing)..there’s a walkway on the right…I think its there…”
Me:”ok…kiddos come with me so I can take you guys to the toilet also before we go..(Turning to ismail)..please could u check the direction of the qiblah for me so I can read my asr before we go..I won’t be long.promise!”
We rushed off to the toilet, I made wudhu which was quite awkward to do. Gggrrril…I really hate public toilets…
We then went back to ismail who’d managed to figure out the qiblah direction.I pulled out my pocket size musallah I always keep in my handbag and offered 2 rakaats of qasr salaah for asr as ismail said that we were more than 80 k’s from home..
My kids always love performing salaah too so they joined in..unfortunately ismail didn’t,as he sometimes gets lazy…especially when we go out..I don’t push him, all I do is make dua that Allah gives us all hidayah..and I don’t judge because Allah can take away this gift of salaah from me aswel and deprive me of being so punctual with it too..and that would be totally detrimental to my imaan..
When we were done, it was time to board the…ok board is abit cheezy…it was time to get onto the boat..it wasn’t one of those really huge ships that you see in movies sailing on the ocean, this was much smaller as it was just sailing on the vaal river but it was big enough to fit aproximately 50 people..
The lady in charge took us on a quick tour and showed us where the kids would be. It was a little kiddies heaven, all kinds of colourful toys, colouring books, play dough and lots more plus a huge window where they could see the entire view too..
We hugged the kids and gave them a quick lecture about not leaving the room for anything until we come to fetch them..
The lady supervising them assured us that they’d be safe and we have nothing to worry about…
We then headed to the deck to get a good seat where we could enjoy the 1 and half hour ride and somewhere where we’d be away from the drunk lot..some of these people go crazy drinking…
We settled in nicely and I couldn’t take my eyes off the beautiful sight infront of me..I loved nature..and the water was just so calming..exactly what we both needed.. I felt carefree and fearless..I wasn’t scared and nervous as I always am…I felt this great sense of appreciation within me and silently thanked Allah for these moments that he’s bestowed upon me…
I guess that’s the wisdom of Allah..to someone else, this was just a silly boat ride…but to me…this was extraordinary..why?because I’d been through the toughest of times. I’ve been through rollercoasters of my own…and I can appreciate this great gift of peace that Allah has given me. If I didn’t go through hard times, how was I supposed to appreciate good times?
The ride began and it was more awesome than I thought..ismail gently took my hand in his and began talking…
Ismail:”so….you asked me not to be so macho and open up about everything? This is the best way to do it…”
Me:”when you ready love…I’m all ears and I’m so glad you want to…”
Ismail:”what are we going to do when we get back home baby?they’ve kicked us out…I was thinking..can’t you call your grandfather and ask him if we can stay with them for a while..?just till we get something of our own”
Me:”I’m sure I could..they’ll be too happy to have us over…but there’s just one thing…”
Me:”what do I tell them?I can’t tell them that your parents kicked us out..”
Ismail:”why not?tell them..I don’t give a damn..everyone needs to know how they are…they kick their own son out of their house.”
Ismail stood up to light a cigarette..
Me:”no baby..I know you upset right now and angry at them..but they’re your parents in the end of the day…they do love you..a lot!”
Ismail:”please..you don’t kick someone out if you love them…”
That just made me think to when I was pregnant with the twins….ismail kicked me out and told me to go back to my grandparents home…does that mean that he didn’t love me?….anyhow..I didn’t come here to brood over the past…let it go faaiza!
Me:”what you going to do about a job? I can start to cook and bake from home if you want? That can ease the financial stress from you..or I could sell something from home..”
Ismail:”I spoke to my friend aqeel earlier and he said I can come over when we get home to draw up a CV…from tomorrow I’ll start looking around, maybe go to a few recruitment companies…the thing is I’ve lost out on so many great opportunities in the past because I felt obligated to see to things in my fathers shop..”
Me:”no love!you haven’t lost out..you’ve gained experience…you can apply for management position at any company…you’ve got years of experience and I’m sure you’ll get the best job inshalah..”
Ismail:”yeah that’s a great idea!…(Silence)…how do you do it(looking me in the eyes)?”
Ismail:”how do you manage to be so strong and so wise? And still stand by me through all that I’ve done to you all these years..?”
He stubbed his cigarette in the ashtray next to him and put his arm around my shoulder…
Ismail:”I love you..and I’m sorry for everything..I’ve been selfish and only now do I realise that all I’ve done to you but you the only person standing by me today..when I don’t have anything…”
Me:”you have no idea how much I love you….you are my everything..my everday is lived for you and the kids..we all make mistakes in life…don’t beat yourself up about anything…rather let’s make an intention to better ourselves and our relationship…you do a lot for us too..”
Ismail:”nothing is nicer than having someone who appreciates you in the smallest things..accepts you in times of hardships..comforts you when you’re troubled…loves you no matter what…and is simply happy for having you in their life!”
I was breath taken….I hugged him tight and we sat watching the beautiful sunset together…
The ride had come to an end unfortunately..we went down to get the kids and then jumped off…
Before we got into the car I put down my musallah and read my maghrib salaah. I was in my salaah when I heard ismails phone ring..he walked away from the car but I could hear him screaming and shouting at someone…I couldn’t even concentrate in my salaah…who could it be?