**”Bismillahir rahmaanir raheem”
-in the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful-**
And FINALLY…….Part 100 is a much longer post (3800+ words) as it rounds up both nick and hanzalahs stories and also marks the end of season 1. Posting will continue after ramadaan inshallah. Don’t forget our quraan and thikr challenges on http://www.silentlivingsanthology.wordpress.com
Remember me and my family in your very special duas during these very auspicious days.
This post is dedicated to a very dedicated and special reader who I’ve recently discovered has been a silent reader ever since I started my first blog ‘silent living’.. You know who you are 😉
And also to a long lost friend who’s now living in the US who figured out who I am..jx for reading my blogs..;)
“Look my dear… I know you must be in shock. Well I didn’t think that you didn’t know. I honestly thought that you as a parent didn’t really care. But I now realise that you didn’t even know about your sons activities. We’re here if you nEed help to deal with this” the principal reached for tashas hand comfortingly.
Tasha couldn’t speak. She was a jumble of emotions. She was shocked, angry, hurt, sad and confused.
What was going on with nick? This surely wasn’t the nick she brought up. Nick has turned into someone else.
She finally found her tongue after some time of awkward silence.
“I truly apologise about my sons behaviour. I need to get home and discuss with my husband what to do from here on. Seriously, nick was never this type of kid before we moved this side. He was more to himself…” Tasha trailed off trying to explain to him but he just looked at her sympathetically as if he thought she was just making excuses for her son.
“Nick has had a hard life… Really. I was a single parent for most of his life… But…” Tasha continued hoping he’ll understand.
But the principal just nodded without emotion.
Tasha just sighed heavily and stood up.
“I appreciate you calling me.. I’m sure there must be a reason for all of this and I’m going to get to the bottom of it all. I’ll be in touch.. Thanks for everything…”
The headmaster stood up and straightened his suit jacket before closing its button and leaning over his desk for a handshake again.
“Like I said.. We’re here to help…. Anytime!”
Tasha shook his hand and walked out of the office. She couldn’t think straight. She headed straight for her car and sat there for quite a while trying to process everything… Where in the world was nick if he wasn’t at school?
She picked up her phone to dial tom… “Babe? I need you home as soon as possible please…”
“Everything okay? Whatsup?” Tom asked concerned.
“Yeah… I mean… No… Everythings not okay.. I need to talk to you.. Please meet me at the house as soon as you can” tasha managed to swallow the lump that was forming in her throat but tom could hear that she wasn’t alright..
“Okay sweetheart, I’m just finishing up with a client. Will be home as soon as I can ok?… Give me 20 minutes max.. Is that okay?” Tom replied.
“Okay…. ” Tasha whispered and put the phone down. And that’s when the tears came gushing out….
What is nick up to?
Why has he changed so much?
Why haven’t I noticed anything?
I should’ve just listened to tom when he warned me.
Where have I gone wrong?
I do so much for him and work so hard to make his life comfortable and this is the payment I get?
Once tasha was done pouring her heart out right there in the school parking lot, she calmed down and then a different emotion hit her. She was suddenly angry. Very angry at nick. She was going to set him straight once and for all.
She got home and went straight to the kitchen for a glass of water to cool her down.
She dug out her phone again and called nicks transport guy.. But before it could get through, she heard the front door so she cut the call.
She was hoping it was nick.. But it was tom.
Tom rushed to her and hugged her and tasha held on tight…. “I’m sorry baby.. I’m really sorry for not listening to you and getting angry with you this morning…”
Tom took tasha by her shoulders and looked her in the eyes.. “Whoa babe… Its okay.. Really. I understand where you’re coming from. But why are you beating yourself up about this so badly? You know I’ll forgive you… Is that why you called me home so urgently?”
Tasha shook her head and sniffed.. “No… Its nick…”
Tom dropped his hands and straightened up… “What happened?”
Tasha pulled tom to the lounge and discussed everything with him that the principal told her. About nick being absent so often, about his behaviour, about his grades dropping rapidly and incomplete work. She explained how he’s always saying that he has assignments to do.
“So where is he now?” Tom asked with a straight face.
“I don’t know!” Tasha replied helplessly. “I was about to call jeremy.. The transport guy to let him know he shouldn’t pick nick up from school today, but then you came so I dropped the call.”
Tasha got up to fetch her phone from the kitchen again. ” I’ll call him now…”
Tom followed her to the kitchen… “I know that nick is your son, but when I married you, I accepted him as my own.. I want to help but you have to trust me…”
Tasha turned to face him.. “I know.. I’m sorry about this morning. I know you’ve been wonderful to him. I guess I just couldn’t accept that he’d do something like that…”
“Do you ever search his room?” Tom asked.
“I’ve never had any reason to..” Tasha replied.
“I’ll call jeremy..” Tom gestured for tashas phone.. “You check out the room.. I’ll be with you In a few minutes.”
Tasha reluctantly handed over her phone and proceeded to nicks room. She never approved of snooping through other peoples things. Even though nick was her son, she just hated the idea of going through his things. But now she felt worse because she was afraid of what she might find.
She couldn’t accept this.
She hesitantly sat on nicks bed and reluctantly pulled open his bedside drawer.
There were loose papers and till slips from Mc D’s and KFC. There was some stationery, money clips, a music CD.
It took her a while before closing it with a sigh of relief.
‘Thank goodness I didn’t find anything’ she thought.
She was about to just give up and tell tom that she didn’t find anything. She doubted that nick would hide things around his room.
He was probably just being a kid, just skipping school because he probably didn’t like it, not because he was upto something bad. Tom was just reading too much into this.
Yes! That’s it, nick is just being a kid. She’ll just have to speak to him and give him a small punishment. Every kid skipped school at some point in their lives. What’s the big deal?
Just as she was about to walk out of the room to tell tom how she felt, tom appeared in the doorway and held her phone out towards her…
“Jeremy said that nick already called him to tell him that you’ll be picking him up today…”
“He did?” Tasha croaked slightly.
Tom nodded… “Apparently, you pick him up every week once or twice a week so basically we’re paying jeremy more than he’s supposed to be paid.”
“What do you mean I’m picking him up?” Tasha asked irritated that tom was being so calm.
“Nick tells jeremy not to pick him up almost every week saying that you’re picking hm up instead.” Tom explained.
“But why would nick do this? Where is he? I have to call him!” Tasha began dialling nicks number.
Tom pulled the phone out of her hand and shook his head.
“No you’re not. We’re not calling him…”
“And why not?” She asked confused.
“Because..” Tom explained again.. “It will give him enough time to cover up and make up things. But…. If he comes home and finds us here already, that will give him a good surprise don’t you think?”
“Hmmm…” Tasha contemplated.. “You’re right!”
“Have you found anything yet?” Tom asked looking around.
“No… Don’t think there’s anything to find really…” Tasha replied nonchalantly.
“Or rather, you don’t want to find…..” Tom corrected her.
Tasha sat back on the bed with her face in her hands. “I don’t understand what’s going on.. Nick was never like this…”
Tom put a comforting hand around his wife as he sat next to her.. “Listen babe.. You’re not alone.. I’m here, to help okay. And whatever it is, we’re going to sort things out.”
In the meantime, on the flip side of things, nick finally got to kellys house after taking atleast 3 taxis. He has never used a taxi before and didn’t know how they worked so he ended up taking the wrong taxi the first time which he realised a little too late and then ended up taking another one back the other way and then a final one to the rank near kellys house.
He walked the 2 blocks to kellys house and stood outside for a while catching his breath.. ‘This better be worth all the trouble.. Kel owes me a double dose for all this damn trouble I’ve been through to get here.’
He smelt his underarm… ‘Yuck! You stink nick!” He exclaimed to himself. He pulled out his perfume from his school bag and splashed some over himself before calling kelly to let her know that he was outside.
“That took. You mighty long” kelly said as she opened the front door for him.
“Pft.. Don’t even let me get started.. Where’s my stuff? I need some like right now or I’m going to lose it bad ways!” Nick groaned.
“Okay okay… Come on up.. I’ve got it in my room… Grumpy!” Kelly said annoyed that nick didn’t even greet her properly.
As soon as they entered kellys room and closed the door, she handed him a brown paperbag. It wasn’t as big as nick expected.
“Is this all? I thought you were giving me more?”
“Yeah but then I didn’t have enough cash to pay the guy so that’s all I could manage.. A thank you would be nice” kelly folded her arms.
“Watever!” Nick said and grabbed the bag from her. He popped 2 pills instead of one. He usually dissolved it in water and drank them, but today he was getting edgy, he didn’t have time to wait for a glass of water.
He finally dropped down on kellys bed, sighed and smiled…. “Now come here sweetheart…. I have to thank you for this”
That was all kelly needed to melt. She loved when nick was all lovey dovey to her and all that she was angry about a few seconds ago had seemed to have vanished.
They ordered pizza and sat for the rest of the morning and a little bit of the afternoon enjoying eachothers company. But all good things come to an end and it was soon time for nick to leave. He dreaded the fact that he had to take a taxi home, so he decided to call kevin instead and ask him to give him a lift.
“Hey kev! How about a lift home bro?”
“Sorry I’m a little busy today, not going to be able to help..” Kevin replied. “Where are you anyway?”
“Aaah come on man! A mans in need and you can’t even lend a hand? You know I always pay you to help me out” nick pleaded.
“Sorry bru.. Not today! I really can’t” and kevin cut the call.
Nick tried calling him back with the intention of upping his price but kevin wouldn’t answer and then switched his phone off.
“Great!” Nick threw his phone angrily on the bed.
“Now what are you going to do? You can always stay till later?” Kellys eyes glowed with excitement.
“Shut up! I spent almost the whole day with you, is it never enough? I have things to do…” Nick snapped.
Kelly was hurt. What was wrong with nick lately? He’s become so rude. He never snapped at her before. She felt a lump in her throat but didn’t want him to see her cry so she kept it in.
Nick grabbed his things and opened her room door.. “I’ll call you later!”
And that was it. No proper hug or goodbye kiss. The entire days fun was just washed away by his meanness.
But nick was annoyed to have to always depend on someone to take him around. He needed to be independent. He needed to learn how to drive and he needed to get himself a cheapie to run around with.
He walked back up the same way he came towards the taxi rank and headed home.
Little did he know that he had enough trouble waiting for him at home.
Tasha and tom decided to park their cars in the garage so nick wouldn’t know that they were home and they could catch him in the act.
they waited impatiently discussing what they would do when nick got there and how they would handle the whole thing.
They heard a set of keys in the front door and tasha grabbed toms hand for support. Her heart was beating so fast and she was feeling terribly light headed.
Nick banged the door behind him and turned around to find tom and tasha staring at him.
“Huh…” He had a shock.. “Mum? Uncle tom?” He put his hand to his chest.n “you startled me..” He breathed out.. “I didn’t know you guys were home already… Everything alright?”
Nick was feeling terribly nervous all of a sudden but tried to hard it as hard as he could.
Tasha and tom both looked at him.. “Where’s your uniform son? I clearly remember dropping you off at school this morning wearing your school attire.”
Nick laughed nervously… “Err.. Yeah… Err. Here it is.. In my…… Bag.” He held his bag up only to realise that he hadn’t yet taken it out of the plastic bag.
“Why’s your school bag in a plastic bag?” Tasha asked with a frown on her face.
“Oh…” Nick laughed again.. “Err.. We had this play to practice at school so.. Yeah… ”
“Anyway, I’m really exhausted, been a long day. I’m just.. Err…. I’ll just be.. In my room okay?” Nick said and began walking towards his room. He could feel the tension as he walked away.
“You will do no such thing young man… LOUNGE! NOW!” Tasha screamed as she pointed towards the lounge.
Nick had no other choice but to oblige. He left his bag down in the passage and headed for the lounge. Tasha followed suit.
“Talk! Now! And enough of your lies! I want only yhe truth!” Tashas voice was stern.
nick couldn’t look at her and played nervously with his fingers. “I… Err. I don’t know what you’re talking about..” And he casually took a sip of his spiked bottle of water.
“Nick dammit! Where the hell were you?” Tasha asked angrily.
“That’s a dumb question ma….” Nick laughed again.
this set tasha off and nick didn’t expect what happened next at all. Tasha slapped him. Hard!
He was shocked beyond words. He held his cheek and when he realised what just happened he stood up. “What the hell? How dare you lift your hand up on me? You know I’m just sick of you! I hate you!”
He stormed past her but couldn’t exit the living room because tom was in the way. He was holding the brown paper bag in his hand.
“And what’s this supposed to be nick?”
Nick was even more shocked. He tried grabbing the bag from tom but tom was too fast for him.
“What right do you have snooping in my things? You’re nothing to me…. You have no right to question me.” Nick shouted at tom.
“Nicholas! How dare you speak to tom like that? What has gotten in to you? What is wrong with you lately?” Tasha began to cry now. She couldn’t hold up any longer.
“What is wrong with me?” Nick turned to face her now.. “You are what’s wrong.. You! I hate my life! And its all your fault. You’ve ruined me and given me nothing to look forward to. I’ve always been a disappointment to you.. I’m never good enough. I’m all alone while you’re having fun sleeping around or working. You always think the worst of me. So now, I gave you enough to prove what a disappointment I really am.” Nick zoomed past tom and rushed to his room. He slammed the door closed and locked it.
After much consideration and thought, abdullah and hanzalah both made up their mind to pay the school a visit. it was merely just a visit and no decision would be made until they were certain about what to do.
Abdullah managed to get hold of his client who passed on the contact details for the school.
one specific day, the entire school was given off early due to some teachers workshop that was being held.
Abdullah decided that it was the best opportunity to meet the principal of the other school so after closing up the shop and performing zuhr salaah at the masjid, abdullah and habeeba picked hanzalah up from school and headed in the direction of st.dunstons academy for boys.
They parked in the parking lot and headed for the reception area.
Abdullah had already called earlier and the headmaster asked him to come through whenever he had some free time so that they could meet and get a tour of the school and a run down of the schools rules and regulations.
The secretary was busy typing away on her computer and didn’t notice them come in. Abdullah cleared his throat and without looking at her explained that he was abdullah gujiwala and was there to see the principal.
“Uh… I see.. You may have a seat. The headmasters just busy with another parent. I’m sure he’ll be with you soon after.” She said looking directly at them.
Abdullah nodded a thank you and sat down on a nearby chair. Hanzalah walked around the reception area looking at the framed photographs and notices of achievements of the school and its learners.
He was impressed.
The were awarded with a certificate for being the school of the year almost three times in a row.
When finally the principal came out of his office and the other parent had left, abdullah and hanzalah were summoned in.
The principal greeted with great warmth and asked them to have a seat.
He wanted to know their reasons for being interested in the school at this stage. No-one looks for another school when your kid is almost done in the 11th grade.
Abdullah explained that things were not upto his standard at the school that hanzalah attended. But It very little to do with the school itself, but rather with the kids that attend the school a few other personal things.
“You do understand that bullying happens everywhere, not only in schools, but in life in general. You can run from it.. But you can’t hide. The worlds an evil place mr gujiwala. But I can assure you that we work on a strict rule at our school. We don’t accept any kind of bullying and should there be any instances, we will be on it almost immediately.” The principal said.
He took them for a tour around the school and as he did, abdullah and hanzalah were given some odd looks. Probably because of their attire.
Abdullah always wore his kurta just below his knee and had a full length beard.
Hanzalah also always had his pants folded above his ankles and made sure he kept his hat on. It was his mark of showing that he was proud of being a muslim.
Although, he often got ridiculed for that too in school. And the most ironic part was that it was an islamic school and all the kids who attended were muslim. Shouldn’t we all be used to this way of dressing.
Yet the other kids called him ‘holy moly’ and laughed that hanzalahs father couldn’t afford to buy him a school pants that fit properly.
In this school it was a little more understandable, because none of the kids or teachers knew the laws of islam.
Once the tour was done and they were satisfied with what they had seen, abdullah and his son greeted the principal and left for home.
This was another big decision for them to make as it was a crucial time in hanzalahs school life to be moving around like this. But they both decided to give it a thought.
Eventually, a week after praying to Allah for some kind of guidance and consulting with eachother about what to do, abdullah gave the principal one final call.
He had to discuss hanzalahs attire. And this would give him an indication Of whether hanzalah should move schools or not.
Abdullah had a few things to discuss infact.
Firstly, that hanzalah be excused from wearing a tie to school. “its part of my religion for men to have their trousers above their ankles and that’s something unfortunately I cannot compromise….”
“As long as your son comes neatly dressed in the school uniform, has manners and works hard, I don’t see how that can be much of a problem…” The principal replied. “Infact, the fact that you are so strong on upholding your faith makes me more certain that you and your son will uphold the rules of the school too.”
“You have my word on that sir. I’m not saying this because he’s my son. I can’t take any credit for this. All credit goes to my late wife. She brought my kids up with the greatest of care and discipline and in all these years I haven’t had a problem with hanzalahs. He’s a good boy.” Abdullah confessed.
“I see that mr gujiwala. Is there anything else you need to ask? I have a meeting in the next 5 minutes and I’m going to have to end this call shortly” the headmaster explained.
“Yes, I’m sorry to keep you.. This won’t take very long. Just one more thing? If he could be excused from any religious subjects and partying etc… As in, no singing and dance or christian related subjects. ” Abdullah asked cautiously.
“Very well… I understand that your religion means a lot to you. So maybe he could use that time for further studying then since he will soon be in his final year…” The principal said before greeting and ending the call.
Abdullah felt content. And it was thereafter decided that hanzalah will attend st.dunstons school for boys to complete his final year while habeeba will attend grade R at st.dunstons school for girls right opposite as of the following year.
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