THE LOVE STORY OF ZAIN AND NAILA!
Love is just a word, until someone gives it a special meaning.
“Different countries have different views on love, marriage, dating. There are cultural issues, and so much more.
But it is never impossible to overcome these.
Because love, is something so strong, that even the most powerful forces cannot suppress it.”
The story is of two different time periods, like how they lived before and after!
NOTHING BETTER THAN CHILDHOOD
I stood in the corner of our playground, waiting to jump to the other corner. I glanced at my cousin Kinza and motioned for her to exchange places with me. With Zain facing away from us, standing right in the middle, we jumped and then giggled.
Right then Zain turned around and let out a loud, “Oh Man!”
The game was for us to jump from corner to corner. There were four people at each corner of the ground, and one person in the center. We were supposed to exchange places without the person in the middle catching us. If he did, we would go in the middle and he would come in the corner.
“To the swings!” Zain yelled, and we all raced to the empty swings on the street. Whenever the person got tired of being the catcher, he ran to the swings.
After swinging until it was late, we all returned home.
“Time for dinner,” my mom yelled from the dining room. We ran, washed our hands and sat down on the floor. We all hungrily started to devour our delicious chapatti and curry.
“Mom can Kinza and Zain stay at our house tonight?” I asked my mother.
“Honey, you’re going to have to ask their mother.” She said.
I ran to my aunt and asked her if they could stay. She agreed and we all went happily to our room and started playing Ludo.
Everything started ruining after a few period of time! My over protective parents and their thoughts fucked up the situating and made that completely awkward for both of us!
** 5 years later **
“Hi Zain,” I whispered, pretending to look at the fruits on the stall.
“Hey Naila,” he whispered back, examining the apples and asking the guy to weigh them.
“How are you?” I asked.
“Fine,” he answered and then we grinned at each other like idiots.
I suddenly spotted my mother and ran over to her.
“They were pretty cheap,” I commented.
“Were you talking to Zain?” she asked.
“No mom,” I lied. She glared at me and we continued walking.
I went straight to my room and switched on the landline.
“I can’t believe things have come to this,” I commented once Zain was on the line,” I mean, just a few years ago we were all playing and now we barely even see each other.”
“Yea. It sucks.” Zain whispered.
“Yes it does, indeed.” I heard my mom say through the phone. I heard the line click, and I heard footsteps. I pretended to be studying and turned around to see my mother barge in.
EVERYTHING COMES CRASHING DOWN
“How many times have I told you not to talk to this boy?” she said, very pissed.
“I wasn’t talking to him I don’t know what you are talking about!” I told her.
“Well if you don’t know what I’m talking about, then how do you know whether you were talking to him or not?” she said, raising her eyebrow and crossing her arms over her chest.
“Because I know that this is about Zain. Can’t you guys just give me a break? There is nothing going on between us, we are just neighbors. We grew up in the same house, they used to stay over at our house, we ate dinner together every night. What is wrong with you? Why do you make such a big deal out of everything?” I ranted.
“He is a BOY, Naila. A boy. And that’s all the difference. Your dad doesn’t like you hanging around with him!” she said, her patience running thin.
I was sick and tired of this, “So what mom? My brothers play with Zain’s sisters all the time you don’t stop them. And neither does Aunt stop Kinza. Why don’t you let me have some fun? All I’m doing is playing and having fun!”
“Well this is not the time to play, study” she said sternly.
“Am I not studying enough? I passed everything with an A plus. What do u want me to do? Get 200 out of 100? This doesn’t have anything to do with studies and you know it!” I said, my anger equal to hers now.
“You will not talk to me like that!” she yelled, “You are not hanging out with Zain and that is the end.”
And she stormed out of the room.
“Hang the clothes out on the line as well,” she screamed.
I sighed and unloaded the clothes from the washing machine.
Taking them all out on the attic, I started hanging them up. I saw a shadow moving. I’m not in a horror movie so I didn’t ask who was there and slow walked to the shadows, I straight up ran and saw that it was Zain.
“Hey,” he greeted.
“Hi,” I said, relieved.
“So did your parents give you a hard time when they found out I called?” he asked, shrugging.
“Um,” I stuttered, unsure of what to tell him, “My mom was pretty pissed though.”
“I’m sorry-“ he started to say but I cut him off.
“It’s not your fault,” I interrupted, “It really isn’t your fault they always have to come to the worst conclusion about us. We’re just friends and we are hanging out.”
“Just friends are we?” he asked, winking.
I didn’t want to acknowledge the blush that was creeping up to my cheeks. “Okay, so we like each other,” I said, shrugging, “So what? We still aren’t dating. If these people see us on a date, we’re as good as dead.”
“True true true,” he sighed.
“Even though we like each other it’s not like we act on it,” I said, not understanding why I felt the need to defend myself, “We just hang around like friends, cousins.”
“You sure?” he asked, pulling me into a hug.
“Friends hug each other, okay? No big deal!” I stated.
He laughed, and I heard footsteps.
“Who is out there?” I heard my mom scream.
Zain ran, and I continued hanging clothes on the line.
“Who was here?” my dad demanded.
Shit, this was scary.
“No one,” I said, shrugging.
“Have you ever thought about what the neighbors will think? Of some girl meeting up with a guy in the attic at night?” my mom strictly asked.
“Well I wouldn’t have to if you just let us hang out like normal people do! Don’t you visit uncle and go to his house?” I asked, feeling extremely pissed now.
“NAILA!” my dad roared.
I looked at him, tears falling out of my eyes now.
“Look, we are just trying to protect you,” my dad started.
“From what?” I asked, cutting him off, “He’s not a monster, you know.”
“It is our duty as parents to protect our kids from what we think is dangerous for them. You’re too young to understand this right now,” he lectured.
I just stayed silent. I was afraid I would explode with anger if I opened my mouth.
“Why was he here?” my mom asked.
“I never called him here. If you want to know ask him!” I said, “Why are you blaming me for something I didn’t even do? I never called him here. He just showed up. Is that my fault?” I demanded.
“You could’ve shouted and called us,” my mom argued.
“Right now you didn’t want the neighbors to think badly of us, and no you’re asking me to shout and scream that there’s a boy in the attic? That would give both me and Zain a very nice reputation wouldn’t it?” I said, feeling victorious.
“Talking to you is useless Naila,” my dad said, “You will not talk or meet up with him or go to Aunt Khadija’s house and that is it. End of discussion. Now come downstairs and let your mother hang the clothes.”
I followed him downstairs, feeling dejected.
I went to bed, thinking where I went wrong. I wasn’t asking my parents to accept him as my boyfriend, heck I didn’t even want a boyfriend.
I just wanted to be able to spend time with him. Play video games with him, play badminton with him because he was the best in the neighborhood and I didn’t want to spend my time playing with losers.
Was that too much to ask for?
My brothers went to Kinza’s house to watch movies and play games, but I could never go, because Zain existed.
THE THINGS WE DO FOR LOVE
The next day my mom was in the kitchen cutting vegetables for dinner, and she asked me to sit down.
“I’ve decided to marry you off, because you are getting out of control,” she said.
“So what?” I said angrily, “You’re just going to dump me off because you can’t handle me anymore?”
“That’s not what I said. I don’t want you hanging around with boys. I want you to get married, that’s the best I can do for you,” she said calmly.
“I don’t hang out with boys. If you consider neighbors and brothers boys, then I do. And all we do is play games and watch movies, is that illegal?” I asked, tears now running down my cheeks.
“I already have a guy picked out for you.” She said, ignoring my question.
My heart stopped beating when I heard her.
“Who?” I asked, shakily, wishing with all my heart that it was Zain.
“Sheroz” she said.
“Him?” I asked incredulously, rising up from my chair. “No way in hell.”
“Who do you want to get married to then?” she asked, raising her eyebrow.
“Do you promise you won’t be mad at me?” I asked, debating over whether to tell her or not.
“Zain,” I whispered.
“I knew it,” she said angrily. “And then you say you just want to hang out with him and blah blah.”
“Yes,” I nodded, “I like him but I never did anything wrong. I never dated him or anything. We just like each other.”
“You’re getting married to Sheroz and that’s final. We’ve already discussed it with their families. He’s a good looking guy and has a very loving family.” She explained.
“He’s a pervert” I muttered.
“And Zain is not?” she asked.
“NO!” I yelled. “He’s not. And even if he is, so what? I’m not asking you to marry him!”
“Calm down Naila. You have no say in this.” She said, clearly controlling her patience.
“WHAT?” I asked disbelievingly, “I have no say in this? Are you serious? I have to get married, not you. I have to spend eternity with him, not you! How do I not have a say in this? This is my wedding.”
“Talk to your dad. Only he can talk sense in to you. You will bring disrespect to this family, this whole generation.” She said.
“What’s more important?” I demanded, “your respect? This is what it’s all about right? You don’t care if I’m happy or not, you just care about what the neighbors think. You just care about having good relationships with everybody. What do you care if I’m married and living with a terrible guy.”
And I left the room.
I ran, ran out into the alley and ran to Kinza’s house.
“Where’s Zain?” I asked Kinza.
“In his room.” She told me.
I knew how many rules I was breaking here. I saw the way people looked at me when I was running down the street. But this, this was life and death for me. Ever since I liked him I’ve been waiting to get married to him.
“Zain,” I said desperately, “they’re forcing me to marry Sheroz.”
“Hey calm down,” he said calmly.
“You calm down!” I yelled. “We have to do something, now. Let’s run away.”
“Are you crazy?” he asked disbelievingly.
“Do you want to marry me, or not?” I demanded.
LOVE WILL FIND A WAY
“I do, but-“ he started.
“No buts,” I interrupted, “It’s now or never. I’m leaving this place until everybody comes back to their senses. If you care for me, come along. If you don’t, I don’t care.”
“Where are you going to go?” he asked me, “Anything could happen to you.”
“Then come with me!” I pleaded desperately.
He sighed and then we were both running down the street, my purse and his pocket full of cash.
The plan was to get married and come back.
So we got married, in secret, and returned back home.
“Where were you?” my dad shouted.
“Ask Sheroz.” I muttered.
“Come back here young lady. How dare you talk like that?” he yelled.
“You’re causing a big scene, dad. What will the neighbors think?” I asked mockingly.
I felt my mom’s hand connect with my face, the sound of the slap loud and clear in my ears.
I ran to my room and laid down and cried, wishing Zain was here with me.
I was allowed to think of him as more than a friend now, and wish for him to be close to me. He was my husband!
Before this I never let my mind wander, and I stopped myself from thinking anything about him. But now, I thought about him, his smile, that dimple in his cheek, that messy hair of his, the tan he got from playing in the sun all day, his muscles from doing push-ups. I hate to admit that I use to stare at him from the window, but there’s no point lying about it now.
He was hot tempered. But his temper disappeared as fast as it came. He was so kind, to everyone. Elders, kids. Everybody loved him. His reputation in the neighborhood was excellent. He was trustworthy, reliable.
The knock on the door interrupted my thoughts, but I ignored it.
My mom came inside and sat down on the bed.
“The only way you can make it up to us, is by marrying Sheroz.” She said, “Your dad is very disappointed in you. And so am I.”
“Yea when you slap someone that’s pretty obvious,” I muttered.
“I got carried away. Marry Sheroz and we will forget this ever happened. I promise he will make you happy,” she said sincerely.
“It’s not possible for me to have two husbands.” I said, shrugging.
She looked at me in horror.
“Me and Zain are already married,” I reached into the drawer and took out the papers and showed them to her. It didn’t matter if she ripped them, I had made 10 copies just in case.
I ran, ran to Zain’s house and entered without asking. This was my in laws house. I opened the door and barged in.
“Her? She’s the girl you’re bringing in to the house as our daughter-in-law?” I heart Aunt scream.
I was glad her back was turned to me. I saw Zain look at me and his eyes widened.
“Mom,” he pleaded, “she’s a nice girl. Just give her a chance,”
“She WAS a nice girl. Do you see her now? I’ve watched her grow up. But now? Have you heard what people say about her?” she demanded.
“You’re going to listen to people?” Zain said, pissed.
“You want me to listen to YOU? Who betrayed our trust? Went and married some stupid girl without so much as even telling us?” she screamed back.
I cleared my throat, trying my best not to cry.
“Good evening Aunty,” I said politely.
“Good evening,” she muttered, “I know you heard what I just said, so I’m not even going to bother hiding it.”
And she left the room.
I ran into Zain’s arm and I let him comfort me. I let him stroke my hair and I let him apologize, even though I knew it wasn’t his fault. I was hurt. I thought I would feel accepted here.
“They can say whatever they want. I love you, and that’s all that matters,” he said sincerely.
I nodded, too scared to speak.
His dad came in and we jumped apart.
He sat down on the couch.
“Your mom told me you got married?” he asked.
We both sat down, and I explained everything to him. He listened, and he told us he was happy for us.
“This wasn’t the right thing to do,” he said slowly, “Disobeying your parents is bad. But it’s your right to be happy and marry whoever you want. I’m happy, but I do wish Zain had said something to me about this.” He sounded hurt.
Uncle was someone I could trust. He was understanding and always put family before anyone else.
I explained to him how I forced Zain and how I was so distressed and had to do something urgently.
He told me it was okay, and left.
We went to Zain’s room, and I couldn’t help but feel giddy at how I could come and go from his room whenever I wanted to.
“So you can take the bed,” he muttered.
I smacked his arm. “We’re married now. We both take the bed,” I said.
He winked at me and I laughed. It was a single bed, and I was glad I had an excuse to sleep close to him, with his arms wrapped up around me.
I had never felt this safe, this comforted, this protected throughout my entire life.
Whatever problems would happen, we would deal with them. I knew I could face anything if I had Zain next to me.
I would deal with my parents later, right now, I had to enjoy this moment.
Love, always finds a way. And I never believed that until now.
For the first time in years, I slept with a huge smile plastered on my face.
And now I’m happy and no one can make me and Zain apart, We love each other and what bout people, they talked, bad bout us, .. 1 day..2 days..3 days.. This is their job they have to do that. But now everyone’s cool and when they see that how we love each other and how we care bout each other, and when they see that we don’t really care bout their bad talks .. So, now Everybody stopped talking bout us!