A Happy Ending – Khadiza Binte Mostafiz
“Mom, brother just came home!”, Jahra yelled as loud as she could.
“Jayed, where have you been, son? We were worried sick. Why is your phone turned off?”, Jayed’s mother exclaimed. She was extremely worried so was Jayed’s father and his younger sister Zahra.
“Abdullah was calling me so I turned on the airplane mode. I didn’t switch off my phone. And I don’t need dinner. I’m not hungry”, saying that Jayed quickly entered his room. The sound of the door lock was heared.
That day Jayed left for college at 7:30 AM and was supposed to be home by 2:00 PM but now it is almost 11:00 PM. Mrs. Hasan, Jayed’s mom couldn’t say anything. It is because she doesn’t know what to say. It has been a while since Jayed started behaving like this. Mrs Hasan doesn’t understand. Her son was never like that. He was always so cheerful but now he is always so gloomy, so different.
“That jerk! Mom, you should’ve said something to him. You can’t just let him off the hook after doing something like that. He is being such a jerk these days”, Jahra said to her mom.
“Jahra you shouldn’t call your older brother jerk. That’s not polite.”
“Seriously? I can’t believe you just said that. What am I supposed to call a JERK other than JERK?!? These days he hardly spends any time with us. He doesn’t even talk to me. You and dad are always worried sick. His teachers are complaining that he is skipping classes, he is no longer the topper of his class. He doesn’t even hang out with his friends. Did you know that he quit the football club? What is he doing, huh? Why does he spend all of his time alone? What’s up with that NOT INTERESTED face expression?!? It’s sickening, mom! Where did my awesome brother go? That guy who just came home is a jerk! Got it, mom? He is not my brother. Because my brother Jayed is not a jerk! ” Jahra then slammed the door and went inside her room.
Mrs Hasan let go of a deep sigh as she went inside to inform Jayed’s father that Jayed came home. Things are getting out of hand, she thought to herself.
It is true that Jayed changed. His extrovert characteristics are almost as good as gone. There is actually no reason behind it. It just happened. These days he just doesn’t feel like interacting with people so much. Everything feels like such a drag to him. He just doesn’t feel like hanging out like before. There’s actually no reason behind it. He just doesn’t feel like doing it, that’s all. Everything seems like a pain. He is not the topper anymore but he is still within the 5th position, so he just doesn’t understand why everyone is making such a fuss about his grades dropping. Yeah, he quit the football club. It turned boring somehow. It feels like his friends became kinda lame. They just don’t understand him anymore. They don’t give him any quality time, and when he refuses to join them, they make such a sad expression, it annoys him. Abdullah is his childhood friend. But these days even looking at Abdullah’s face annoys him. Jayed just can’t stand him. Nowadays everyone seems fake. He feels that everyone is putting up an act. And the main reason behind that is, he himself is putting up an act. He doesn’t want to interact with them but still he is somewhat doing that. Because he doesn’t want them to feel bad. He doesn’t feel comfortable around them anymore but they are a bunch of good guys and so he shouldn’t hurt them. They were always with him in good times and in bad times. He always loved spending time with them but recently he changed. Jayed reads a lot of books, his friends don’t know a single thing about the books he reads. Jayed feels bored and tired when he talks with his friends. These days Jayed only finds peace in his books. He feels like only these books understand him.
“Seriously? 20 missed calls from Abdullah!? Doesn’t he have anything else to do! Why the hell is he chasing after me like this? Can’t he see that I just don’t care! He is such a pain. What the hell does he want from me??”, Jayed thought to himself as he fell asleep.
“Mom I’m leaving for college.”
“Wait, Jayed! You only had one piece of bread. You didn’t even have dinner yesterday. You’ll get sick this way. And there’s still time. So, please son, eat some more.”
“Mom please, I’m not a kid anymore. I’ll eat when I get hungry. You don’t have to tell me. Seriously, it’s really annoying when you do that. I know what I’m doing”.
“Jayed, you shouldn’t talk to your mother this….”, without letting Mr Hasan finish Jayed left the house.
Jayed lied to his mother. He didn’t leave for college. He was heading towards the riverside. That place is a sanctuary for Jayed. In the morning that place is always free from the hassle of humans. And so, it is the perfect place for Jayed. There, he is completely alone as the breeze plays with his hair and the lovely sunshine kisses his forehead he goes deep inside his books and birds sing him lullaby. But that day when Jayed finally reached the riverside, he saw a human standing. A boy. He was around Jayed’s age. The breeze that was supposed to play with Jayed’s hair instead started comforting that intruder. Despite the traitorous act of the breeze, Jayed layed down on the grass trying to forget about that guy who stepped inside his sanctuary without any notice.
“Hey, Assalaamu alaikum.”
Jayed looked up. It was that boy. He was looking at him. And did He just give him salam? Is He from this area? And how dare he disturb him while he is reading his book!? Jayed got really annoyed as many questions started poking inside his head.
“Wa alaikum assalaam.”
“So, what are you doing here? You must be around my age. Don’t you have classes to participate?”, the boy asked Jayed with a curious expression.
“Excuse me, I don’t know you. What do you care if I skip college or not.”
“I’m a guy who recently came to this neighborhood by mistake. Besides that, my favorite hobby is gaming. I can also play football very well and in high school I was the……..”
“Wait wait stop. I never asked you any of this.”
“Oh, okay then. So, yeah why didn’t you go to college today?”
“Are you seriously asking me that question again?”
“Yes of course.”
“Geez you are so annoying. I didn’t go to college because I don’t need to. I don’t need to attend classes to get an average grade. And my parents are kind of annoying so I couldn’t just stay at home. I don’t like my friends’ company either. I just want some alone time which you are ruining so perfectly!”
” Why don’t you want to be with them? Don’t you love them? “
” Yes, I do! Duh! But I just want to be alone with myself. I enjoy it most when I’m all alone. I don’t want anyone to interrupt. Every single one of you is such a hindrance. I hate it. Just go away!!”, Jayed yelled.
” I see. What is your name?”
“Damn. I’m Jayed.”
“No, you are a liar.”
“You are lying, Jayed!!”, and as soon as he finished that sentence, he grabbed that book from Jayed’s hand and completely teared it with all his might.
It happened so quickly that Jayed couldn’t even grasp the situation.
“What?!! Did you just tear my book?!?”
“Jayed, you are lying! You are lying to yourself!.”
“I can’t believe you just ruined my book!”
“Stop lying to yourself Jayed!”
“What the hell are you talking, you Lunatic?!? GET LOST!”
“Jayed, listen to me. You need to stop lying to yourself. This is wrong. I know that you don’t want to do those things, I know that you don’t always want to interact with people. Believe me, I know.”
“What the hell do you know, you lunatic! How dare you ruin my book! And lying? Heck no! I didn’t lie. Everyone is being annoying including strangers like you.”
“Jayed, listen to me. Sometimes you just prefer to be alone. But Jayed, in this world you can’t just do whatever you want. You need to be nice to people even when you don’t want to. You need to smile. You need to put someone before you. You need to hold back your desire and make someone else’s wish come true. You need to make them happy. Jayed, you’ll regret what you are doing.”
“What? Why would I regret it? Listen, you dork. You don’t have to sound so wise. I know what I’m doing.”
“No Jayed. You don’t know. When everything will be lost, no matter what you do you’ll never ever get those back. Jayed, listen to me!”
“Why do I have to listen to you? You speak as if you know everything. But in reality, you don’t even know a single thing about me. You are just a stranger!”
“Jayed, I know! Because I lost everything. I tried to fix everything when it was too late. You need to love everyone. You need to secure your bonds with them. Bury your feelings for solitary peace because when you will make bonds stronger, when you will make your loved ones smile, believe me, you’ll get new passion, new love, you’ll be happier. “
“What if I don’t do as you tell me, huh? “
“If you continue doing things like you are doing now, you’ll regret it. Jayed, you’ll regret it. You’ll regret it when it is too late. “
“Why are you saying all these to me? Why do I have to believe you? You don’t know me! “
“Jayed, I seriously don’t know why I met you today. It was completely a coincidence. But everything has a reason behind it. Jayed, I was like you. The reason why I could grasp your situation is because I was like that. I pushed everyone away from me. And now I regret it so much. I lost too much, Jayed. Every bond is precious. Just for some solitary peace you can’t abandon them, if you do, they’ll abandon you when you will need them the most. No bond is cheap enough to be sacrificed for momentary happiness. That is why you need to work hard to make every single moment count. Time flies, Jayed”, the boy kept saying as tears rolled down from his eyes. Jayed was astonished. The sunshine made those tear drops look like tiny pearls, so expensive which can only be found from the depth of the never-ending sea. And for some reason that boy didn’t look so annoying anymore. There was something different about him. It made Jayed sad and uncomfortable at the same time. And for some reason everything he said so far started to make sense. Loosing his loved ones, time running out, all alone, No! Jayed couldn’t believe it. As he turned off his eyes, he only saw darkness. And it was oh so quit. Silence and darkness. He was all alone. He thought this is all he ever wanted but it turned out that this is what he was always running from.
“Please, Jayed, don’t loose these precious bonds. Don’t call them annoying. Don’t pretend that you are sleeping, like I did. So, please you have to believe me and wake up. Wake up! Stop lying to yourself, Jayed. Wake up, Jayed! Please, wake up.”
“Jayed, wake up! “
Jayed woke up hearing his mother’s voice.
“Look at you, you’ve become so weak. How do you feel now?”
“Mom, I feel fine.”
“Oh that’s a relief. We were so worried. Can you stand up?”
“Yeah mom, I feel completely fine.”
“Oh Alhamdu lillah. Then come on up, and have breakfast.”
“Yes, I’ll be there soon.”
Jayed’s mother left the room. Jayed’s head feels kind of hazy.
“How did mom get inside though. I am sure I locked the door yesterday when I entered this room”, Jayed says to himself being confused.
“Good morning, Dad, Jahra.”
“Oh Jayed, how do you feel, son?”, Jayed’s father asks.
“Dad, I feel fine. My head kind of feels heavy thats all.”
“Son, your body has become very weak. So, come on sit with us and eat well.”
“Okay dad, I will.”
“Mom, I’m done eating. I will be leaving for school. Bye dad”, Jahra said as she stood up from the chair.
Protect those precious bonds before you lose them all. A voice suddenly spoke in Jayed’s minds.
“Jahra wait a bit more. I’m almost done. I’ll take you school on my bike. You don’t have to walk all that way.”
“Seriously? You’ll take me to school?”, said Jahra as her eyes looked very surprised.
“Yes, I will. So, please wait a little bit.”
Jahra is sitting on Jayed’s bicycle. It has been a while since the last time Jahra rode on Jayed’s bike. The morning breeze started playing with her hijab as she and her brother bathed in the morning sunshine.
“Jahra, from this day on, I will always take you to school, got it?”
“Brother, won’t I be a hindrance?”
“No. You are my younger sister why would you ever be a hindrance?!”
“So, you are finally back”, Jahra murmured.
“What? Did you say something?”
“No, I didn’t. Now keep your eyes front, brother! I seriously don’t wanna crash and get my clothes dirty.”
“Yes, your highness.”
Jayed kept paddling as the fresh morning breeze accompanied him. The scene felt lovely not because of the breeze but because of Jahra’s smile. Looks like the guy who he saw in his faded dream was telling the truth all alone.
That day, everyone in class asked Jayed about his health which Seemed very odd to Jayed. Everyone looked kind of worried.
“Jayed, will you come play with us this afternoon?”, Abdullah asked.
“Yeah, dude. Sure.”
“Great! It has been a while since you played with us.”
“Yeah, you are right.”
“But we won’t play too much today since we have English test tomorrow.”
“No dude. The English test will be held the day after tomorrow, on 9th November ”
“Tomorrow is 9th November!”
“No, you are wrong. Today is 7th and tomorrow is 8th November. Just check your phone’s calendar.”
“See that? I told you today is the 8th day”, Abdullah showed him his phone.
“I can’t believe it. That’s really strange. Today was supposed to be 7th”, Jayed was really surprised. It is as if he skipped one day.
Jayed couldn’t shake off this uneasiness. He was sure that last night when he checked his phone, he saw the date. Many thoughts started circling in his head while he returned home.
“Oh Alhamdu lillah!”, Jayed’s mother exclaimed as she was watching the news.
“This is great, mom”, Jahra said.
“Yes, you are right Jahra.”
“Hey, Assalaamu Alaikum. What are you two talking about?”, Jayed looked curious as he entered the house.
“Oh, brother you are home! Wa alaikum assalaam. We were just talking about the news.”
“What news, Jahra?”
“You don’t know? Okay, I will tell you. A boy from our next district flew from his house after he had heard about his parent’s accident. They said that, his parents and older brother died because of an accident on their way from his grandmother’s place. That day was his brother’s birthday. That boy was so shocked and heart-broken that he ran away from his home. He couldn’t face this harsh reality. His relatives were looking all over for him. But they couldn’t find him anywhere. “
“Oh, that’s terrible. What happened next, Jahra? “
“Later, news came that his parents and brother didn’t actually die. They were injured and some other passengers in the bus died. He got false news. But still the boy was nowhere to be found. But yesterday he was seen in our district, near our neighborhood. Police found him and brought him back to his family. The moment he found out that his family was alive he burst out in tears. Look at the TV screen. That boy in the middle is whom I’m talking about. He looks so relieved now. I feel so happy for him. “
“Allah reunited him with his family. I feel happy for him as well. He is such a young boy but he went through a lot. He doesn’t look older than our Jayed”, Jayed’s mother added.
Jayed stared at the TV screen. Something feels weird. It feels as if Jayed saw him somewhere.
“Where have I seen him?”, Jayed mumbled to himself as he entered his room.
“Mom, what if this is the boy who called ambulance when brother became senseless near the riverside?”, Jahra said.
“I was having that thought too, Jahra. Whoever did that I pray for him from the bottom of my heart. And it was a good decision that we didn’t tell him about that incident. It is best if everything remains normal. I’m just very glad. Finally, it feels like my son came home after a long time.”
“You are right, mom. It feels like a happy ending “, Jahra replied.