The Gift (Part-16)

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Imran listened to every word Saleha said. A part of him wanted to deny but he knew what his mother said was true. For years he had been living with the memory. It had become a part of his life. When his father died, the shock and the responsibility for the family had made the memory of Kaira bearable. He in fact made himself believe that Allah had made it disappear…that he was over it. Somehow the memory was too painful that every time he let himself free from it he felt he could not survive without reliving the fond memories. They were always with him to lessen that painful one. He prayed to Allah a lot, seeking His guidance to let her go. In the end he just knew Kaira and his father...these two people would always be with him forever.

"Mom, I know what you mean and I never meant to shut you out of my life. You know I could never do that...Ya, Allah… I've tried mom...I do...but the pain just won't leave me. When Dad died I thought it was too much that I believed that Allah has made me forget her, but little by little it came creeping back. So, the only way is to pray that Allah would give me strength to face life. And I can concentrate on my work and my responsibilities", Imran said. His eyes glistened with tears.

Saleha just looked sadly at her eldest child...how strong and confident he is on the outside...the side of him he wanted others to see but deep inside only she, his mother, knew his vulnerability, the little boy in him. Seeing this made her hope and pray that Allah would make this girl, Syakirah, help this to end soon...maybe she would finally change her son's life. InshaAllah. She felt strange how she could already have this feeling about someone whom she barely knew.

"Imran, as your mother I want to wipe that away so that you would be happy again but I don't know how to help you. And that makes me sad...especially the fact that you have done so much for us since your father died. I just want you to give me the chance with this one. You said you won't promise me and your Aunt Ani anything...well neither are we...we just want you to give yourself a chance at happiness again...okay?"

Saleha looked into her son's eyes searching for an answer. Imran gave a weak smile and slowly nodded. Saleha smiled back at him with teary eyes. She patted his shoulder and left Imran sitting on the couch. Imran remembered the last day that changed everything in his life.

***FLASHBACKS***
It was Friday. After the ceremony at the mosque in the morning, they had a gathering at one of the families' houses after Juma'at prayer. Later, after Asr prayer, they visited the beach for the last time. They were supposed to leave for a short honeymoon on that night. Two weeks after that they were scheduled to go home for good, together with some other students who had also completed their studies.

They went by two cars. Imran and Kaira, the newlyweds, shared a car with Tamrin and Farah. Izwan and Ita were with a married couple and their son in another car. The nine of them occasionally had picnics at the beach.

"Will you miss this?", Imran had asked Kaira as they were walking towards the beach.
"Yeah, very much", answered Kaira in a whisper. "Same here. Thank you", said Imran. He stopped walking and faced his wife.
"For what?", Kaira asked with a smile mixed with a surprised look.
"For willing to spend the rest of your life as my wife, In sha Allah".
"I love you Imran Hakim. There is nothing I want more than to be a good solehah wife, In sha Allah".

"I can't wait to be home and start our life together, In sha Allah. You're mine...forever", Imran said and smiled lovingly at his new wife.

He had proposed to her at that beach during one of the group's regular picnics. Kaira had said that it was a western style of proposal. It wouldn't happen that way if they were at home. Both of their parents gave their consent for them to get married in UK. Their parents wanted to do a big ceremony when the couple arrived home.

"In sha Allah, I am yours forever. I've always been since the day we met. Allah created Adam for Hawa…and he made you for me". They both smiled. She looked the happiest on that last day. But something happened and took that away from her, from him and from the future they were supposed to have.
***END OF FLASHBACKS***

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