It was snowing that particular evening. The frost had just set in the trees, making them dewy. I could only halfway see the road through the snow, vipers constantly moving. The blurred signal showed a red light, and I stopped. A throaty voice cried softly on the radio, volume turned down. The magic seemed to be setting in slowly, and somehow I knew there was just going to be something different tonight.
Far off, I could see people had started celebrating Christmas, something I experienced every year, although I come from different faith. But it was beautiful. Fairy lights, the tree, the choir.
The signal turned green, and I stepped on the gas.
A wedding to attend tonight.
Although I’m not much for weddings, but it was a relative’s, mom’s first cousin and whatnot, and she was back home.
“Ahmed jan, you MUST attend Seema’s son’s wedding. We have known each other since college! College!!! You know how old I am now?
You know how many nappies I changed of you? Per year?”
The nappies always come into the blackmailing equation, somehow.
“Mom… I’m 24. Please stop with the nappies” I groaned, trying to simultaneously make a sandwich while on a Skype call with mum. This was a week ago on our regular phone calls.
“Can’t you tell her I have the flu? And God forbid we don’t want Seema’s son to catch a cold on his wedding night” I smiled at her horrified expression on my screen.
“You tell people you’re sick, and you WILL fall sick. Don’t be a brat. I wish I could go, but I’m all the way here. In Pakistan. You will have to do” she smiled back firmly at me.
I sighed into the review mirror. Moms. They always know which string to pull. Honestly. Now all the way on a Friday evening, when I could be out with friends, taking a break from this semester’s crazy routine- I’m on my way to Seema’s son’s wedding (should really learn the name of the son)
I kept a close lookout for the exit and my turn, even though these cars tell us exactly where to go (always a woman – ironic) and already start to daydream about going back home. A wedding. I sigh. I’m going to a freaking wedding, and it’s not even mine. Not that I have a pact against attending weddings. I’ve attended many, and some were here, but there is barely anything of interest watching two people you’ve never met exchange “I do”. Seems like I would have to rely on my phone.
Oh, and desi food … I smiled to myself.
Finally, after what seems like ages, I pull up into the driveway of (wait for it…) Seema’s son’s house. It does seem disrespectful, taking aunt’s name like that, but now would be a good time to tell you that she prefers it that way. Everyone calls her Seema. Her mother in law, father in law, brother, sister, nephew, and nieces, even her son. She’s ‘fun’ like that.
I hope my sarcasm is clear.
“Ahmeeedddddd!!!!!” Seema’s loud and clear voice rings out. “oh beta, I’m so glad you’re here! Saad, look who is here!”
Jackpot! Saad is the name! A small victory dance in my head.
“Good to see you, man. It’s freezing outside! Come on in” Saad smiles at me. I smile back, returning his greeting, and off we go, him leading me inside.
The house is huge. The bride’s family lives in
Pakistan and they’re visiting. As twisted as it may seem, they’re all under the same roof. Only, it’s not that twisted. In our families, the gents and the ladies don’t really, you know, get so ‘close’ until they’re married… I’m using gentle words here *insert a wink*.
So they’re all prepping for the wedding under the same roof. Like 20 people inside there, dude.
“Thanks,” I say to Saad, making my way in.
“The function starts tonight, so that’s like 8 hours for you. Please make yourself comfortable. There’s a room to your right that’s free…” he trails off, looking elsewhere.
Well. How nice. Not that I blame him
He probably has a lot on his mind other than taking care of strangers. Courtesy our moms.
“Don’t worry, I got this. See you in an hour outside” I reassure him making my way to the room, avoiding bumping into a few people here and there. The chatter here is crazy. So many people, so many ladies, such LOUD voices!!!
I close my door, and I sigh. My weekend. My sweet little weekend.
So the room’s pretty big, painted in Grey’s and white. It’s light and airy, and sort of seems new and not in use. I can’t believe I’m looking at these things -probably because I’m too bored to live. I don’t care to go outside because… fam jam. What’s worse is that it’s not even mine.
The curtains are beige, but my mom would call them ‘pale cream’ or something. Same difference, lol. Women make everything so much more complicated. I have a few friends that are very complicated to handle. Those brains work anti-clockwise.
I sigh, pulling out my suit, decide to hang on the curtain’s railing. The view outside the window is gorgeous, no doubt. Saad has a huge garden shadowed by giant trees. There are small benches he has put up here and there, (for the wedding days, maybe? I donno) and I can see a small natural pond at the back. It’s vacant right now but I can imagine it being alive in the summertime, with ducks and turtles and whatnot. It’s hard to imagine a bachelor living here, although the family comes from old money. The place looks more like it was owned by a grandma with memories fit for a lifetime in here. But I suppose the memories are yet to come.
Hanging the suit, my eyes fall on one of the benches. Holy moly, there is someone sitting there. In this cold.
When everyone is inside the house.
What is she doing here? I think, squinting. It’s definitely a she because of the hair. So. Much. Hair.
Right now, all I can see is the hair. It’s hell long,
And it reaches down to her waist. I’m assuming because she’s sitting down. Looking away from me. She seems to be engrossed in something in her hands. I try to move my face here and there (I feel like Nancy drew, tbh) and I can only make out that whatever was in her hands, she had taken out from a small box. She stands up, straightens her long coat. There’s little smoke coming out of her mouth, and I feel… concerned?
But why should I feel concerned? I barely know her and she seems to be big enough to know what she’s up to. I guess it’s just me being weird.
But I can’t seem to get my eyes off her. Also, I’m a teeny tiny bit concerned she’s burying a small dead body in the sand. Yes, she’s down on her knees near the plants now. Bent over. Only the item in her hand is so small, if it’s a dead body, it’s probably A butterfly. Or a bird.
Girls are crazy like that.
What is infuriating, is that I still can’t see who is she. Or her face. It’s a woman with long hair and her crazy AF ideas to be out in the snow when everyone is outside. Ooooooh, I have so many questions. Nancy (Ahmad) Drew wants to ask her the purpose of hiding something in Saad’s garden. Maybe she’s smoking weed.
As if she’s read my thoughts, her head snaps up. I’m so startled, I forget to look away, I forget to draw back the curtain. For the first time, she turns and looks in my direction, and straight at me.
It’s as if she knew where exactly I was.
Our eyes meet.
And I freeze.