The Gift (Part-29)

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To read the previous part of this story, click here.

Syakirah was in her room packing up stuff she wanted to bring home when the telephone rang. Lisa, her housemate, said the call was for her. It was Maria. She told Syakirah that her Aunt Ani called her the night before.

"Maria, can't you give her an excuse for me. I don't think I want to put myself in that awkward spot again. Once is enough...please....", Syakirah pleaded when Maria told her that Saleha wanted to see her again.

"Syira, I know. I did try. But this time it's not just Auntie Saleha, but her son too".
Syakirah was silent for a few seconds. "His son? You mean Imran Hakim?", she finally asked and raised her eyebrows.
"I sure don't mean Hidayat", Maria joked and asked back.
"So?" "I can't...I'm going home today".
"Well, it's not today".
"No, I don't think so, Maria".
"Why not?"
"Aren't you at least a bit curious to know about Imran? Because I am, Syira".
"Why doesn't that surprised me?"
"Simple, my friend. Because I love you and I want you to take a break".
"A break?"
"Yeah...a break from being so stubborn may be. And finally letting yourself off guard. You've been guarding yourself for so long. It's time to break the wall. You told me you're over Manaf a long time ago and you're not being picky about guys when you refused the marriage proposal from...what's his name.... So, here's your chance to prove your words, Syira". Maria felt bad for having to say this but she knew someone had to say this out loud. And she was Syakirah's oldest friend.

Syakirah was silent again. She knew every word Maria said was true. However she still could not accept the thought of someone dictating her future like this. She had always being independent in what she wanted except once. When her mother died, she had to listen to the needs of her family. She let go the opportunity to work at a prestigious university in Malaysia, which had always been her dream.

"I think what I need is a break from this matchmaking thing. I know you meant well but...I feel...", Syakirah stopped. She didn't know whether to say what she had been feeling all this time ever since this whole thing began. She didn't want to hurt anyone's feeling. She was hoping this whole thing would just slip away. She even thought it was her biggest mistake in meeting Saleha and Ani that weekend. But then again she remembered Allah knew the best.

"Feel what, Syira?...you can tell me. I can see it's not just a simple "no"", Maria asked curiously.
"I...I don't...I don't like the feeling that I'm throwing myself into this...you know... like a woman without pride who is desperate to find a man... Maria, I'm not going to stoop that low. I don't want people to think just because I'm thirty something and still single, I could be dragged into this very easily", Syakirah finished her words and took a long breath.

"Is that how you really feel? Syira, you are plain stubborn, do you know that?", Maria laughed a little. "And you let what others think play a role in your life? Since when do you care about what others think? You're the one friend I've always known who doesn't care about what people think especially when you're not doing anything wrong. That's something we've had in common, remember?".

Syakirah acknowledged well about Maria had said. She even recalled the story of Luqman and his son about thinking too much of what people said. You might end up giving yourself discomfort.

"I did not say I care what they think but I don't like when people talk...and they like to talk about something like this. Don't tell me you wouldn't feel the same if you were in my shoes".
"You're right about that. But, if you're going to let this feeling cloud your decision, you're not being true to yourself either".
"Meaning?" "Meaning that you're a fighter for what you want...you're not a coward".
"And what does this have to do with me not wanting to meet them and be match made?"

To read the next part of this story, click here.

Sister Nur Taqwa

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