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Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Gift II

Salaams and hello to all Polaris Blog readers! Teaching and managing the tutorial center have kept me real busy. Ramadhan is around the corner. InshaAllah, we will all welcome this much awaited month this week. I am editing a short story as well as a workbook for my students. Here I would like to share an excerpt from my second novel - The Gift II...

There he was on his bed holding Ashraff’s photo. Their eyes met when she reached his bed.
“Today’s the day, right, Ummi?”
Shafikah looked sadly into her son’s eyes. She nodded and whispered, “Yes.” The day was April 10th 2001. Six years ago, on that day, his father had left them forever.

“You were in my room today, Ummi?” His voice was soft.
Shafikah was there earlier and she was looking at the photo herself, but she forgot to put it back on the night table near Affif’s bed. Instead, she had misplaced it on the bookshelf, next to his father’s beret.
“Do you miss Daddy, Ummi?” Affif inquired when Shafikah didn’t answer his previous question.
Sitting on his bed and facing her son, she replied to him lovingly, “I have you, honey.” Her eyes glistened with tears.
“But do you, Ummi? Do you miss Daddy?” Affif’s face looked sad.
“I do and you know that, sweetie.” Affif placed the photo back on the table and hugged his mother. Shafikah wiped away a silent tear.
Pulling himself apart from the warmth of her embrace, Affif sat cross-legged on the bed facing his mother and spoke.

“Today’s Daddy’s birthday and his death day,” Affif said softly. He remembered this date very well. As young as he was, he was very attentive to people’s feelings and what happened around him, especially anything having to do with the two of them.
They looked into each other’s eyes trying to soothe the sad feeling that suddenly engulfed them. Noticing the calmness in his mother’s face, Affif said, “We must not be unhappy, right, Ummi? Daddy was a good man and he was lucky because Allah Ta’ala loved him. He chose to meet Daddy before meeting us.”
With a heavy sigh, Shafikah spoke, “Oh…Affif! Allah Ta’ala gave Ummi and Daddy a special gift when He gave us you. Alhamdulillah!” Small beads of tears rolled down her cheeks.
Affif wiped away the tears and smiled to cheer her up. Shafikah took his small hands, kissed them and gently placed them on his lap. She held his face in her hands, kissed his forehead and the tip of his nose.

“I love you, Ummi! Dinner’s getting cold now!” Affif told her with a smile and got off the bed.
Affif headed for the door.
“I love you too Muhammad Affif bin Muhammad Ashraff.”
Affif turned around and smiled widely. It was Ashraff’s smile on his small face.