11. Venting Frustration

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On the authority of Abu Hamza Anas ibn Malik(may Allaah be pleased with him), the servant of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) from the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon) who said, “None of you (truly) believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”

–Saheeh Bukhari

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Rida was seething with anger.

Mindlessly, she slogged down the stairs, walked towards her Scooty, and clambered onto it with thoughts about her new sister swirling in her mind.

Mehrin . . .

All the events that had occurred the day before and all the news that had been thrown at her unexpectedly had gotten to her, numbing all her sensations by the time she went to bed last night; but when she had woken up today, everything flashed back. All that she had been feeling turned into anger. All her exhaustion converted into frustration.

Her eyes were ablaze. There was a permanent scowl etched onto her features. Her anger was clouding her senses. It was as though the calm ocean had turned into boiling lava overnight, and there were more than one to be blamed for the change.

Rida was angry with what Mehrin’s relatives had done to the poor girl. She was angry with how things had turned out in Mehrin’s life. She was angry with the way the poor girl had to run away in order to survive, in order to live her life. Words were not sufficient to explain the feelings coursing through her; and instead of just feeling all blue and doing nothing about it, she had decided upon visiting a friend today to see what she could do to be of help. The decision was taken on an impulse, but she so badly wanted to help the girl for more reasons than one. It wasn’t even difficult in the least to list out the reasons why.

Never in her life had Rida met someone who made her feel such strong emotions the way Mehrin did. Never in her life had someone made such an impact on her in such a small duration of time. Never before had she met someone who wore an impassive mask, trying to fool everyone around; but, somehow, Rida was able to see through her smile.

It was all different for Rida when it came to Mehrin. She was able to see the desolateness in the girl’s eyes. She could understand her even without the use of words. She could sense the pain, the frustration, and the fear. A voice at the back of her head told her it was because she saw herself in Mehrin, the girl Rida herself was once upon a time—confused and vulnerable. But she, at least, had her uncle with her to offer some solid support. Mehrin had none.

Rida couldn’t remember the last time she had felt such raw emotions because of someone—the last time she had felt such intense urge to pull someone close. Mehrin had made space for herself in her heart without much effort, and it was unsettling to know that such a sweet soul was left out there all alone.

Clouded with such unsettling thoughts, Rida reached her destination. She parked her vehicle in a secluded area before turning off the ignition and getting off. As she stood in front of the building, she folded and unfolded her fingers, feeling a mix of anxiousness and excitement course through her veins. Rida knew that adopting Mehrin was going to be a tedious task, but she was ready to work through it all to see to it that the girl had a home in whatever way she could.

Squaring her shoulders and taking a deep breath, Rida pushed the double doors. When she set her foot inside her friend’s cabin, her heart brimmed with fierce determination.

“Hey,” she called out in reflex, ready to go and annoy the world out of Shakeena, but froze when she saw someone else other than her friend in the room. Rida stared wide-eyed.

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