Walking into my home, I whisper ‘Bismillah’ before stepping in.
“I’m home,” I want to call out, but I hear chattering in the living room and laughter.
“Dear, is that you?” mom asks.
“Yes, mama, its me.”
I walk towards the living room and I’m instantly pulled into my sister, Daneen’s room. I want to scream, but decide against the idea once I see her face.
“Why did you pull me like that, silly? I could’ve had a heart attack.”
“Shh! Sis, look I know you’ll be really mad after hearing this, but there’s a boy in there with his family. They want to meet you.”
My eyes widen in shock. “What? No, no, this can’t be happening!”
“They really want this. Can you just try? I hope they won’t force you. You can always tell baba if you don’t like him.”
I sigh and grab the new dress mom bought for me to wear. I put it on and Daneen applies some light make up on me. I put on nude lipstick, then fix my hijab.
“You look amazing, big sis, I hope you really like this one.” She kisses my cheek and smiles. I give her a small smile, then nod as she walks out of her room.
She walks back in a few seconds later and holds the door open for me to walk out.
“Oh, she’s beautiful.” I hear a few gasps.
“Aminat, look up.” Mom smiles at me.
I look up at her and she just smiles at me with guilt. I feel bad for making her feel like that, so I smile, letting her know that I was okay with it.
Her face screams shock, but after a while she calms down and gives me a genuine smile.
“This is Najmi and Ismaeel Malik,” she introduces.
I look at them and bend my head low greeting them with a smile and say ‘asalamalaikum’.
“Walaikum salam, dear.” Aunty smiles. “This is our son Abdullah.”
I turn towards the man sitting beside her and quickly look back down. “Asalamalaikum,” I whisper.
“Walaikum salam,” he replies and I feel his eyes avert from me.
“Here, sit down, beta, talk to him. Daneen stay here,” mom says before leaving the room with everyone else. Left behind were me and Abdullah.
Daneen moves to the far end of the living room to give us some space.
“So, uh, how are you?” he asks.
“Alhamdullilah, I’m fine and you?”
It’s silent for a while before he decides to speak up again.
“If this marriage does happen, will you be okay with moving to London with me for a year? I have some business to finish up there which is really important.”
“Do your parents know?” I ask him.
“Of course, I was told to ask you.”
“I have no problem with that... if the marriage happens.”
He clears his throat. “Tell me about yourself.”
“I’m 23, finishing my last year at being an intern before residency. I find reading and cooking very relaxing and well, yeah, you can say I’m a big nerd.”
I feel myself heat up after realizing what I just said.
I hear Daneen snicker and I put my head down.
What shocks me is the fact that he chuckled. I feel myself heat up more if that’s even possible.
“What about you?” I ask.
“I’m 27. I work with ‘DIBs’ company, which me and my older brother, Rahul, run. My younger brother Sahil is 19 by the way and he works with us too.”
There’s a pause and he continues, “My dad actually is the CEO of the place. I also have a lil’ sister, Aisha, who’s 17. My bhabhi, Zara is married to Rahul. They have twin boys, they’re four. I guess you can say I’m more of a family and business only type of a guy.” He chuckles.
That last comment makes me smile. I look up slowly at him to find him smiling. I quickly look back down, feeling shy.
“How was your talk?” Mom walks in with dad and his parents.
“Good,” we both mutter.
“And what do you both say?” his parents ask.
My parents look at me and I smile.
I can’t even explain in words how happy they looked. Heck, so was Daneen, she literally started clapping while squealing.
We all turn towards her, which makes her stop and hide her face. Everyone laughs at her, then soon she joins in as well.
“Abdullah, what is your answer?” his dad asks.
He looks at his dad, at his mom and then at me. “It’s a yes from me,” he replies.
My eyes widen and I nearly choke, but alhamdullilah I am able to control myself.
His parents smile and so do mine, then they turn to me nervously.
“So, Aminat what is your answer?” mom asks.
“My answer is yes,” I whisper.
“Alhamdullilah,” they all cheer and start hugging each other.
I glance at Abdullah, who was also looking at me, but once we both notice each other, we quickly look away.
“We do have one favor, dear, if you’d accept it for us,” his mom says as they all sit down. I give her my attention completely.
“We want the wedding to happen this Friday because my son has to leave for London straight away,” she says apologetically.
This time, however, I cannot control myself. I cough and my eyes widen in shock.
“It’s okay, beta, we can get all the arrangements done in time, it’s three days from now,” mom says while rubbing my hand.
I look at her in shock, then gulp and look at Abdullah, who raises an eyebrow at me. I suddenly feel shy and exposed, so I clear my throat. “I’m sorry for my actions. I just didn’t expect it to be this soon,” I say.
“Oh, dear don’t worry about it, if you don’t want to it’s okay we completely understand--”
“It’s okay, aunty. I accept to marry him. I’d have to be with him every step of the way even after marriage, so it doesn’t matter if I start now or in two months time,” I state.
Big smiles fill the room.
“We found a lovely one,” I hear his mother say with a bright smile. She gets up and kisses my cheeks. I give her a small smile in return.
“Oh, beta, we’re so proud of you,” mom gushes as she kisses my cheeks.
I give her a smile and she hugs me. She then asks me to go and freshen up.