**”Bismillahir rahmaanir raheem”
-in the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful-**
“Assalaamu alaykum abba jaan…” Hanzalah greeted as he jumped into the car after school.
“Wa’alaykum salaam beta.. How was your day today…” Abdullah asked like usual.
“Alhamdulillah.. Can’t complain.. Same as every day. There’s a circular here that they handed out..” Hanzalah said as he reached for his flip-file in the front section of his bag.
“What about? Anything important?” Abdullah asked glancing at hanzalah for a few seconds before looking back at the road again.
“Just another fund raising dinner.. This time its for the grade 12 students but us grade 11’s need to do all the work and they need funds from all the parents” hanzalah informed his father.
Abdullah sighed… As it is the school fees were so exorbitant. And still almost every month there’s some kind of fund raiser or the other. When will it end? How are the middle class and lower class supposed to afford all this?
“I was speaking to a customer today….” Abdullah began.
“Jee abba? About what?” Hanzalah asked.
“He was telling me about his kids. They attend some school in town. There’s a seperate one for girls and a separate school for boys. And apparently the fees are much cheaper and the level of education is quite high..” Abdullah explained.
“Abba… Err…” And then hanzalah just sighed and kept quiet.
“What is it beta? Talk to me!” Abdullah asked his son affectionately just as they reached the school.
Hanzalah has to go to the shop with abdullah everyday after school since there’s no-one at home. He does most of his home-work while his there until its time to close up and go home.
Their lives are terribly tough but abdullah finds consolation in the fact that its only temporary. Inshallah soon naeema will be around and things can go a little back to normal.
“Abba… I know you want what’s best for me and you know I won’t go against your decisions, but I’ve only just started in this school and as hard as it is, I’m in 11th grade, Its just going to make life a little harder switching from school to school at this point. By now everyones settled and concentrating on their final results and what they plan on studying when they’re done with school next year…” Hanzalah tried to make his father understand in a respectable manner.
Abdullah put his hand on his sons back and then looked down before saying “beta.. You don’t have to always be so strong.. If things are tough, come home and talk to me. I’m still here for you.”
“I know that abba… I know.. And I’m really glad to have you there for me and watching out for me.. ” Hanzalah truly did appreciate his father.
All the other kids around his age lacked that companionship with their fathers. And he appreciated that his father made all the time for him at any time and treated him like an adult by discussing everything with him. It made him feel important.
“How long beta?” Abdullah managed to ask.
hanzalah looked at his father confused.. “How long what abba?”
Abdullah looked at hanzalah in the eye and asked “How long son? How long have you been taking the bullying and nasty comments?”
Hanzalah let out a huge breath and closed his eyes. He’s been keeping this away from his father for far too long. He thought he could handle it, but now his father knew.
“From the day I started here…”
“Why didn’t you ever tell me beta? Why?” Abdullah asked.
“Because…” Hanzalah explained.. “You’re going through so much as it is. With ammi being sick and then passing away. And now you have so much on your plate. You have us to worry about and the house, and the shop which I’ve noticed has also become very quiet lately…. I’m old enough to deal with these things. Its petty stuff”
Hanzalah was too mature for his age. and it was all naseemas doings. She tried hard to bring these kids up in a way that they would cope with the outside world.
Naseema would want them to fight their own battles and become strong. Not running away from their problems.
“Ok beta… But why don’t we just have a look at the school. Just check it out, if you’re not comfortable and want to stay here, I won’t force you, you know that.” Abdullah asked again.
“Okay abba… If it will make you happy.. I’ll go. ” Hanzalah gave in.
It made abdullah at ease. He called up his customer to get the details and organise to have a look at the other school.
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