The first time… :)

I proposed to S when I was 2.

I don’t remember that. My father tells me I was 2 when I first told him I was going to marry S.

My first memory of the ‘proposal’ is somewhere in prep school when I told S I was going to marry him. (You didn’t for a moment there think I asked, did you? Of course I told him we were marrying each other. End of matter) He said nothing and smiled. That would place me at 5 years of age and him at 7.

We were inseparable friends. We sat together in classes, we sat together at lunch, we sat together in the break, and we sat with each other while waiting for our cars.  I use the word ‘sat’ because that’s literally what we did. We sat. He wasn’t allowed to run, or to push other kids on swings. Our ‘sitting together’ was enforced by the teachers because there was no safer kid he could be paired off with.

He was a baby who was born premature. His fingers were slightly fused together so he had trouble holding a pencil. He was born with a defective heart and lungs so he couldn’t be allowed to run or exert himself. Most significantly, he had a cleft palate that made speaking clearly and making himself understood very hard for him.

I was the most brilliant kid in the class so I helped him with his school work. I had three younger siblings so I was also considered more ‘responsible’ as far as behaviour and following teacher’s orders was concerned. I was a gentle child so I didn’t push or shove him. I was incredibly patient and I could understand what he was saying… if a teacher couldn’t understand him, I would translate for them. We had grown up together; I understood every single sound.

I thought we were such good friends, it would be incredible fun to live together. Instead of being separated when school was over, we could be together all day. That’s what married people did: lived in the same house. So, how about we get married? Neat! I remember one of these conversations with my father when I told him I’m going to marry S. I still remember the shocked/amused expression on his face. ‘Okay,’ he said, and that was the end of the matter as far as I was concerned. I even told S that my dad said okay about me marrying him but he did also say that I had to grow up first.

We would’ve carried on this way were it not for the fight.

We were in second grade. I was arguing with a classmate, Rameez, about a swing.

‘Come ON!’ I yelled, ‘break’s almost finished. We want the swing too.’

‘Please!’ said S.

‘I don’t give swings to retards,’ sneered Rameez.

The word retard was all I heard and S backed off two steps and murmured

‘lets go Specy’.

That’s the last thing I remember before I launched myself at Rameez. Dwn we both went clawing and scrabbling but I had the obvious advantage because he was caught unawares.

That is an age when boys don’t really have any physical advantage on you. And I already had three siblings at home. So I wasn’t about to go down in hand-to-hand combat. Unluckily for R, while we were rolling about fighting, he flung his hand out and his watch caught me directly on my mouth.

Split lips look much worse and painful then they are. And they are incredibly bloody. The next thing I know, we were both in the principal’s office and her eyes were popping out of her head ‘Hitting a girl?!?’ she was yelling at Rameez, ‘You hit a GIRL?!?’ It never crossed anyone’s mind that I might have been the one to start the fight.  Cutting a long story short, he was suspended for a day. And I was sent home to, er… rest. My Dad, however, wasn’t about to be fooled into believing in the halo around my head.

‘A boy hit you? And you didn’t hit back? That’s shameful’ he tut-tutted.

‘I did hit him,’ I said.

‘Who got hit more?’

‘He did’

‘Good!’ said my Dad much to the horror of my mum.

‘What…what…WHAT are you trying to teach her?!? For God’s sake!’

‘I’m not ‘teaching’ her anything wrong. Look here, Specs. Don’t start a fight but once you’re in it, do NOT make it easy for the other person. Okay?’

‘Okay,’ I said.

‘What really happened, though’ he asked again. And I told him.

That was when my parents decided that I was getting too over protective and over attached with S. The next day when I went to school, I was moved to a different section. With chance meetings only at break time and after school, we both soon found new friends. Two years later, I was moved to an all-girls school and S went abroad for extensive corrective surgeries. I thought we had seen the last of each other.

Except that Islamabad is a very small place.

********************

S’s mum came back to Pakistan with his younger sister because she wanted her daughter to be bought up in Pakistan. Coincidentally, she was working in the same place as my mum.

My Dad and I were picking my mum up one day when I saw him. S. Oh my God. He had changed so much yet so little. He was about six feet tall which is TALL. Specially if one is as thin as he was. His face was as normal as normal gets; plastic surgery had corrected much.

I looked at him. He looked at me. And we recognized each other right away. So, we both politely changed the direction of our glances because to go up and say hello would be extremely inappropriate ‘just because’…were it not for my Dad who took one look and yelled, ‘Specy, LOOK! There’s S, the guy you wanted to marry!!’

‘Daddy’ I let out a horrified gasp, ‘What the…’ and horror of all horrors, S heard. He looked at me with a really amused expression and that goofy half smile I remembered so well.

‘Hey’

‘Hey’ I mumbled trying my hardest to politely smile but I was too mortified to even look at him.

He and my Dad shook hands and my Dad asked him what he was doing, where he was (some Uni in Canada, halfway through his bachelors in something)…he spoke really clearly with each word separate and distinct (good speech therapist, I thought).

While noting all these things, I decided it would be a good time to leave because I was too embarrassed to start chit chatting so I politely excused myself and ran to my mum’s office.

‘You know S is here?’ my mum’s all excited.

‘YESSSS I know’ I hissed.

‘So? You don’t want to meet him?’

‘No, thank you.’

‘Really?’ she looks up from her desk with her glasses perched on her nose (which is a VERY typically interrogative stance of hers)

‘Yes yes really. Whatever’ I waved my arm hysterically so she let it go.

On the way home my Dad excitedly told her about meeting-the-guy-who-Specs-wanted-to-marry and I said ‘he TOLD him. He actually YELLED it in front of him’

‘That was…’ my mum said before my dad interrupted, ‘They’re just children. It doesn’t matter’

‘She is TWENTY’ yelled my mum horrified ‘not a kid anymore. Bacchay nahin ab! (they’re not children now) And you know he has just four or five more years…’

‘What?’

‘You know, with his heart condition and all. His mum was crying the other day because it’s such a drawn out torture to know your child is dying’

‘The doctors said he couldn’t survive ten years… he’s 22 now,’ I said.

No one replied.

There was nothing to say.

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44 Responses to The first time… :)

  1. IOM says:

    LOL, how did i know ur next post wud b about this. awww its quite cute if u think about it! 🙂

    You knew because I already told Sami that this post was up next..in the comments section. 🙂

    It IS cute. Childhood was magical.

  2. I am speechless, if words could ever encompass the emotions nobody would ever cry, laugh or hug. Khair, very touching tale I wish your old friend *S* fulfilling remaining days and a blessed life after. Ameen!

    So true…words cannot encompass the complexity of one’s emotions.

    Ameen to that too.

  3. iMuslim says:

    Subhanallah… miracle child, S. May Allah grant him a long and blessed life, ameen.

    So… was he cute? 😉

    Ameen.

    And no, he wasn’t. LOL. He had a cleft palate, that leaves a huge scar near the nose. It was barely visible now with the wonder of plastics but in childhood, it was a very bad scar. Plus, he was and is so thin, you can actually see fine blue veins under his skin. Even on his cheeks! So good looking, he was not. Haha. 🙂 Friends are precious in other ways.

  4. Smacula says:

    is this why you are so down aaj kal ???

    60%Yes, it was this and 40% something else. Dude, stop announcing it to the world!

  5. Pingback: The first time… :) | Tea Break

  6. falakk says:

    Aww, poor poor Baji!
    Ya Allah, please grant S a long and happy life, and pretty please make my Baji happy again, I don’t like it when she’s sad. 😦

    Where’s the poor Baji in that? At the risk of sounding insensitive and all that, woman, even if he were okay, it was a childhood thing. It passed. I feel sad for him as one would for any one you spent your childhood with… but I don’t still go around proposing!!

    And you kids need to stop reading so much into the whole proposal thing. A two year old doesn’t even know what marriage is!

  7. Saad Ibrahim says:

    “‘I’m not ‘teaching’ her anything wrong. Look here, Specs. Don’t start a fight but once you’re in it, do NOT make it easy for the other person. Okay?’ ”
    hehe pretty cool!

    haha, my dad is pretty cool like that. He has my super-strict-about-rules mum to counter balance for, LOL

    I don’t know what to say about that guy…

  8. i is not knowing what to say…
    subhanAllah S is indeed a miracle child, may Allah grant him a long and happy life, ameen.

    Its called transplants, not miracles. 🙂 But yes, I get what you’re saying and Ameen to that

    You will indeed hold a special place in his heart, knowing that you helped him thru these young and innocent times, and knew him soo well.

    Haha, I so doubt that. Somehow this post is taking on a sad tinge and that’s now how it was meant to sound. I don’t think I hold any ‘special place’ because I wasn’t the only one helping him. All through his school life, it was a different classmate who helped him out…I was just there till prep school+2 years.

    Smiley no like it when ur sad 😦
    smiiiile!

    *smile* There. 🙂 Thank you, Smiley… you’re really sweet. 🙂

  9. Cronopio says:

    What a lovely story! Is there another chapter to it? I gather no from the comments. Still, thanks for sharing!

    Best from your friend in Texas, Patricia

    No, you guessed right. This is about it. 🙂
    please leave your blog address next time Patricia. I want to visit your site too! Thank you for reading and commenting.

  10. Saadat says:

    I sometimes think how it would feel to be in a condition like S’s. Then I kick myself for not thanking enough of the blessings I have.

    But I have always admired people like S. They are giving ‘life’ a whole new meaning all the time.

    And, I like your dad!

    You know I’ve been thinking about it a lot these past few days. I feel that had I been in that situation, I would’ve given up long ago. He’s still studying and going through the rigors of university and a job whereas his tomorrow is most probably not there. But then again, none of us is guaranteed tomorrow, are we? 😦

  11. Marigold says:

    Aww cute story and I think S should have talked to you.. thanked you for standing up for him. Haha. I hope he pulls another miracle but it sounds like he’s living a pretty full life mashaAllah.

    He was trying to talk. I think I would’ve talked to him had my dad not yelled the whole marriage thing. I mean hello, it hadn’t even be mentioned in our household for 13 years and I was all ‘OMG, he still remembers that! *blush*’

  12. mubi says:

    i loved your post. it was fun reading it,,had a smile on my face throughout until i reached the end….

    Yes well. 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed the read, Mubi.

  13. JDee says:

    Speechless, I am!

    Me too. That’s why I couldn’t finish the story… thought I’d just leave it there because there weren’t words for any more.

  14. nadia says:

    Cute childhood memories 🙂

    We will always be children to our parents, and that’s why they tend to seemingly enjoy telling others about our otherwise ’embarrassing’ childhood moments. My parents even have pictures to go with their stories about us 😦

    I was the first child after TEN years of trying. I don’t imagine there’s anything which wasn’t photographed…I can feel your pain. 🙂

  15. Awais says:

    Its funny, sad, touching and cute… all packed together in a beautiful narrative!

    Glad you enjoyed the read Awais.

  16. Organica says:

    Several things I would like to comment on:

    1) I love the way you portrait your father. He sounds like a cool and smart father. (I know you’ve blogged about this specifically before).

    2) Your personality. MashAllah!

    3) Writing skills. Excellent.

    4) I second iMuslim’s question, was he? 😛

    Canada ain’t that cold.

    Thank you for the encouraging words, Organica! And no, he wasn’t cute, haha. But he is/was a friend. That makes him more important than a random hunk. *grin*

  17. studentin96 says:

    awww poor S… may he be granted a long life. But it’s already good on him that he’s doing his bachelor in Canada.

    Yes, excellent writing! 🙂

    Thank you Studentin!

    He’s a Canadian citizen. That’s why he’s been there all his life.

  18. Haleem says:

    You know, Canadians are a hardy bunch! Very sincere, friendly, and faithful! 😀

    I am reading this post and although there is a hint of sadness in it, I still have a smile on the face, if only at the antics of your dad and you, and your friendship.

    May Allah bless you and S 😀

    Its ‘we Canadians’ now, is it? 🙂
    This post IS rather sweet and sour, isn’t it? One’s not sure whether to smile or cry.

  19. 'liya says:

    Awww such a sweet story but so sad too!

    I’m not sure if you want to but is there a way you can keep in touch with him? Even if you’re not going to marry him I think it’d be great if you guys continued to be friends or just keep in touch since you have that history behind you. I think this is one of my favourite of your posts 😀

    Nah, really. i don’t even know the guy. What we were before is not what we are now. *I* have changed, I’m sure he has too. I’m not sure I’m ready to sully childhood memories if he’s some awful person now.

  20. Shahrzad says:

    ah, poor Guy.. May God give him Shifa..

    But hey, Your dad rocks..

    Thanks for the dua, Shahrzaad. Yeah, my Dad is kinda funny in his own special way.

  21. boba says:

    The first time I read this I was feeling VERY over emotional so I (cleverly) thought not to comment until I was myself, because it would have been a long drawn over sensitive comment about nothing relevant.

    *sigh*

    ANYWAY, what I wanted to say is that S reminds me of someone I know too. I was going to say why did you have to write the last lines – they make me sad 😦 but I like the melancholic (word?) undertone.

    You are a clever little cookie, aren’t you? 🙂 So, who was this person like S that you knew too?

  22. Sarah says:

    awww…..i loved this post!!!

    Thanks Sarah!

  23. lubna says:

    Spooky! it bring back the memories..only in my story, my best friend died…I wrote similar post long time ago…I can see its written with feelings, with all your heart…I recognize that… 🙂

    I’m really sorry to hear about your friend.

    We are rather understanding about each other’s writings, aren’t we? Its spooky how you end up writing about something that’s close to me and vice-versa!

  24. lubna says:

    Its a wonderful post Specs…you’re a gifted writer 🙂 it was good reading this post…

    Thanks again, Lubna!Coming from a great blogger, that is high praise indeed.

  25. mariyas says:

    Awww….
    such a cute one specy 🙂

    Thank you for reading and commenting, Mariyas.

  26. Awwww. thats so touching…
    Can’t help but agree with liya, you should keep in touch, as i think that the strongest bonds form between us when we are the most innocent, when the problems of the worlds do not affect us, nor do they matter to us.

    I’d add one thing more to the last statement. The strongest bonds are in childhood…and then in University. Don’t ask me how, don’t ask me why. But everyone can vouch for that. Somehow, those are the people who accompany you through your transition to the real/ practical world and that’s a bonding you cannot shake off for life!

  27. Ordinary Girl says:

    Awww…I hope S leads a full and long life. 🙂

    Thank you, OG.

  28. mamamona says:

    Beautiful, sweet sweet story!

    Thank you, Mamamona. Its always a pleasure to know such an ace blogger read something on my blog and liked it!

  29. Tee says:

    This was incredibly sweet and touching. Thanks for the smile today 🙂

    Its a pleasure to put a smile in anyone’s day. Thanks for dropping by, Tee! I was just remembering and laughing at the 50 private messages we sent to each other on the forums one day, LOL.

  30. MashAllah Specs!! I have to agree with everyone… what a brilliantly written, beautiful piece!!! The ending was really sad though =( You two should definitely keep in touch… even if it’s just friends 😉 (hey, don’t blame me! It’s my brown upbrining… :P)

    That and you rule :D!!! Growing up around three guys I tend to take the ‘actions speak louder than words’ approach a little to frequently but hey, if it’s what gets the point across, I’m game!

    ps I loved seeing Canada mentioned (I’m feeling very homesick recently… ugh). For all the comments up there, yes we are a wicked sweet bunch. And even though it’s not that cold, the snow is amaziinnggg! I have a case of extreme slope ❤ *sigh* there goes nostalgia kicking in again…

    S&S

    I’m glad to know someone else was as much of a tomboy as I was growing up!

    What’s with the extreme Canadian patriotism this post was shown? I thought Candians were a quiet bunch who couldn’t be whipped into a passion about anything. Clearly, I was wrong! I stand corrected! I think I would love to visit Canada some day if only to meet the local populace…you all seem an extremely interesting bunch!

  31. F. says:

    Beautifully written…and unbelievably moving. Seriously, I’m at a loss for words. 😐

    I’m glad I was able to convey my feelings in words. Sometimes, they just fail one, you know?

    Thanks for dropping by and commenting. 🙂

  32. tulip says:

    What a beautiful story, I wish there was more to it. And your dad sounds awesome btw

    Yes, Alas! This is all there is to the story; there will be more stories. Some other day. 🙂

  33. Sadia says:

    So sweet! You always manage to capture the magic in the little things! Really beautiful written:)

    Ps: You reminded me of my childhood crush:P hihi.

    Childhood crush? That sounds interesting! I expect details when i catch you online!

  34. hfm says:

    Your dad is so awesome,mashallah!
    It sounds like S had a raw deal but alhumdulillah pulled through.

    I don’t really know what else to write-the comments above have kinda said it all.
    Stay smiling.
    x

    S did have a raw deal but sometimes, I think which one of us don’t? But at least we have to be thankful that we don’t have to bear up to any public scrutiny and Allah chose to hide our faults for us. Alhadulillah. Something new to be thankful for every single day, yeah?

  35. Tasmiya says:

    Yes, truly beautifully written.
    It may be my mood but while others saw such hope in this story, it made me sad. 😦

    This story is something that reads differently for every person. Our experiences paint the picture we see. I’m amazed at the variety of responses I got. From ‘aww’ to ‘oh my god’…it is a post that’s sad and hopeful at the same time, I guess.

  36. woah, thats so trippy, small world ey. i hope S lives a really long and happy life.

    Small world? VERY small indeed!

  37. regardless of what the doctors say

  38. karachiwali says:

    amazing post…i dont think i can say anymore than this. May Allah grant him health and a longer life.

    Ameen, Karachiwali. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  39. 'liya says:

    *poke* just a gentle reminder to update for fans like me 😀

    You shamed me into updating. 🙂

    xoxo
    Specs.

  40. Lore says:

    I love remembering and reading about childhood moments!
    You know I’m still hoping for a happy end, it ain’t over till the fat lady sings

    I’d totally agree with that…there’s always something else; some little unexpected joy, some, if i may say the word, miracle. It ain’t over till its over. True.

  41. Pingback: Ask Specs (aunty or no) part III « The view from behind my specs…

  42. I love the story – and I think when I become a dad, I will defo be like how you described yours! Well…. the dad in the first part who asked his kid “Who got hit more?” 😀 and not the dad in the second part, because we ALL have those kinds already! 😛

  43. Absar says:

    I read this post of yours a couple days back, and I couldn’t decide what to say that would be appropriate. I still don’t know what to say, but this was a beautiful, beautiful post! 🙂

    Why,thank you, Absar. 🙂

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