12. Clearing Out Things

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Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Beware of suspicion for really suspicion is the most false of speech. Do not seek out faults, do not spy on each other, do not contend with each other, do not envy each other, do not hate each other and do not turn away from each other. Rather be servants of Allaah as brothers.

–Saheeh Bukhari

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“You mean to say you almost called the police on the poor guy?” Eshaal managed to question between peals of hysterical laughter. Her eyes narrowed to slits, her brows creased, and her head thrown back in amusement. She leant back on her chair, her silky brown hair falling softly on her shoulders. “Seriously?”

Rida caught her dancing eyes from across the table and pursed her lips. She chugged down the now cold coffee, shooting daggers at her friend. “For the hundredth time, yes, I did; and, no, he is anything but poor.”

“Whatever.” Eshaal’s laughter subsided. “Seriously, can you imagine what would have happened had you called the police? Chances are they would have declared you a certified mental, maybe even taken you under charge. As for me,” she raised her hands in mock surrender, “I would have denied ever having known you and simply walked away. Can’t have my reputation tarnished with an accused for a friend now, can I?” Her nose twitched. Laughter bubbled in her chest. A moment passed and then it had overtaken her again.

“I know how unfaithful you are as a friend,” Rida grumbled. “You don’t have to rub it in my face at every chance you get.”

“That’s so rude.”

“So are you.” Rida scowled.

“Argh! Guys!” Manha snapped from where she was seated. She clicked her tongue. Her elbows planted themselves on the desk. Her fingers meshed, and she rested her head on them.

The poor girl had been trying to finish her pending work for a while now, but was clearly failing at the task due to her lack of attention. To her chagrin, her friends were only serving as a means of distraction, making it harder. She was more into what they were conversing than the task at hand. She inhaled, shut her book, then looked up, eyes settling on the two troublemakers. Enough was enough. She had decided she couldn’t do any of it anymore. Not when these two idiots of hers were fighting like kids, and definitely not when she wanted to join them in it.

She swerved her chair to face the other two in the room. Her hair was tied into a loose bun. She cocked her head in what she hoped to be an accusing gesture. “What has happened to you, Rida? The whole world knows Eshaal is insane, and it’s pointless talking to her. Why are you arguing with her then when you know well enough that she wouldn’t let anyone win against her?”

“She started it,” Rida and Eshaal chimed at the same time, pointing at the other.

They scowled and looked away. “Liar,” they muttered simultaneously again.

Manha stifled a smile. “I thought you two were past this phase? Are you having a relapse?”

“Oh, don’t you know? I thought you did,” Eshaal piqued in. “She hit her head somewhere last week and has been behaving like an absolute dork ever since. I’m telling you, she needs an MRI scan. Her condition seems serious. We need to help her before it’s too late. Even if it means kidnapping her to take her to the hosp—”

“If you utter another word, I’m going to pull you to your mother-in-law and have a nice little chat with her over a cup of coffee. I might even tell her all about your embarrassing stories.”

That statement, however, miraculously helped shut Eshaal’s mouth. She went from being a hyperactive girl to a mouse within seconds, turning scarlet and cowering in her chair. “She isn’t my mother-in-law,” she stated in a small tone.

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