The Gift (Part-40)

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

"Are you sure?", Imran asked her lamely.
"Yes. I think Mrs. Yasmin and I should leave now too." Then looking at the two women in front of her, Syakirah continued, "I'm sure Aunt Saleha and Aunt Ani will need some rest before tonight. And Mr. Imran here has a meeting to go", Syakirah said trying to control herself. She felt Imran was getting more and more to her nerve.

The elder women could sense the conversation was going a little tense. Ani graciously said, "Oh, we're fine. You and Yasmin could stay a bit longer here and talk with us".

Syakirah felt she couldn't sit there even a few minutes longer. Imran's action really ticked her off. She had to leave. "Thank you but I really think we should get going…, Yasmin?", Syakirah glanced at Yasmin as she was getting up to leave. Yasmin got up. She was unsure what to say but agreed with Syakirah. Imran was watching Syakirah as she was saying this. The elder women could only smile.

"Well, again nice meeting you, Mr. Imran", Syakirah said in a little cold tone. Yasmin said the same but in a more friendly way. They both thanked Saleha and Ani for their warmth company. After a salam they left.
"That was cold Imran", Saleha said to her son and walked away. She felt angry and sad. Ani followed her.

Imran felt a surge of guilt and walked to catch his mother. He did not understand what came over him to act the way he did. There was something about Syakirah the minute he saw her. But he could not put his fingers on it. All he knew was he could not sit at the same table and talk to Syakirah. He saw the two elder women took the elevator. It was almost 5 p.m. He decided to go to his room first to do solat Asar. Then he would see Saleha before leaving for the meeting.

Ani closed the door behind her and watched Saleha standing near the window looking out to the busy streets of KL below. Saleha was angry and hurting. This had been a nightmare Ani was afraid to happen, since the day Saleha called Syakirah Imran's fiancee. Ani knew it would hit Saleha hard if her high hope turned out like this. And it did. Ani's only hope was for Imran to come and explain why he did it. She decided to do solat Asar and left Saleha alone for a while. Later, Saleha did the same. After Saleha finished praying, there was a knock on the door. Ani went to let Imran in and excused herself to let the mother and son talk.

Imran went to sit next to Saleha and took her hand. "Mom, I'm sorry if I've hurt your feeling".
Saleha's anger lessened as she looked into his eyes and saw his sincerity. What she did not understand was why Imran acted so coldly towards Syakirah. "Why Imran? I've never seen you act like that before. Even if you didn't like her, I'd never thought you could be so cold", Saleha began. She still sensed her own anger but tried to be calm. She had forgotten when was the last time she was angry with Imran.

Imran could tell his mother was both upset and angry and it broke his heart to have caused it. He felt like he had just committed a sinful act. A good son would treat his mother kindly.
“We’ve enjoined on man kindness to his parents; in pain did his mother bear him and in pain did she give him birth…” (Al-Ahqaf: 15)

He had not seen Saleha like that since a long time. He wanted so much to find her the reason but he could not put into words what he was feeling. All he could tell her was he was sorry for what had happened. "Mom, you have the right to be angry at me. Please believe me...I wouldn't do it intentionally to hurt you. I really feel bad about the whole thing now… I’m sorry".

"Feel bad, Imran? You should feel worse", Saleha raised her voiced a little. She knew her son would not lie to her but she needed to show her anger a little. She wanted him to see she was not wasting his time with this meeting. She was serious about the whole thing. She didn't want Imran to take this lightly, just to please her.

Imran just listened to his mother as Saleha continued, "She was being honest. And there you were questioning her like...". Saleha stopped. Both of them could feel Saleha's anger even though she tried hard to hide it.

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