VIII

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Months and eventually a year and more passed as I was familiar with the layout of the hospital. I visited almost everyday, bring my homework, assignments, and textbooks with me while emotionally holding hope in my heart for the awakening of my father. He hadn't woken from the coma he was put in after the incident. He lay in his bed in a white hospital room, with beeping machines surrounding him and a few pipes in his mouth and nose.
I watched him from the outside of the glass door, afraid I'd hurt him in his fragile stated my making just a frail sound.

End to the second semester of university was eating at my brain and the worry of what God has planned for me and my father took over my mind and soul on a regular basis.

I closed the textbook in my lap and placed it in my bag while getting up to pray in the prayer room on the first floor.

My dad's doctor passed by me on the hallway and gave me a smile as he walked into another patient's room who was in a similar condition as my father, except that she was there for only a few weeks. I saw many of the patients wake up from their coma and leave happily while my dad lay in the bed and his family surrounding him, begging him to awake. The doctors who tried to treat him told us many times that it was very unlikely that he will regain consciousness after being away for so long. We insisted on not giving up and still leaving him on life support. We still run the business he began with the help of the company's management and my mother's brother taking care of some things on the side.

Getting into the main elevator, Micheal walked out like he usually does every week to make sure I'm not alone all the time. He had grown out his hair and was now almost touching his shoulders. Like usual days, he gave me a quick hug which seemed to bring my broken pieces back together for a while before he came back next time. We stood in silence for the rest of the way down and he followed me to the prayer room.

While I washed myself for prayer, I thought of my mom and what she has been going through this passed year. The phone calls she's been getting from back home are ridiculously hopeless and everyone is telling her that there is no hope left for my father's life to return and that she should move on and marry his brother, who, as if they don't know, is a thug and a man who divorced his past wife with the excuse that she won't give him sons, when we all know he wants to get out of Afghanistan and live in our oh-so-luxurious life. Every time I begin ranting about the man to Michael, he laughs and says there is no way my mom would ever agree to marry him, and I felt better every time he said that. Every time.

I prayed the night prayer as Michael watched. At first when he began doing this, I felt odd but soon I got used to it and learned to pretend he isn't there.

When I finished, I leaned against the wall and brought my knees to my chest.  Micheal stood from his chair and sat cross-legged in front of me.

"I know it's been a long time," he said. He looked at me with his soft brown eyes and continued, " but there's something I need you to do."

"Mike, I told you I'm done hacking."

"I know. But please listen for a sec," he pleaded, his voice slightly echoing around the small square room. "Gold is planning another assassination."

"So what?" I asked, not caring one bit that he's Post fudging Malone.

"He said he can use your help on this one."

"What does he want me to do?"

"I don't know. But he said once you agree, he'll tell you himself."

"I won't say yes until he or you tell me what I gotta do," I said, fidgeting with the strings hanging from my olive green hijab.

We both stood up and walked back taking the stairs to the fifth floor, where I packed my things and said bye to my sleeping father.

Micheal drove me home and we spoke a little about his mom and brother who were moving to America in the summer, and he didn't want to go with them even though they had become closer for a while now.

As I walked out of the car, I waved at Michael and unlocked the door to my home. I switched on the lights and kicked off my shoes. It was about 11 pm so I assumed the rest of my family was sleeping. I went to my room where I undressed and put on my pjs and went down to eat something. I heard voices coming from my dad's study next to the living room that I hadn't heard when coming into the house. It must've been my mom.

"I know," she said. She was speaking on the phone with someone in Farsi. Maybe my grandma.

"We'll all come during the summer and I'll deal with his proposal."

I was out for 3 months in a couple of weeks and I guess we're taking a trip to Afghanistan for this summer. I wanted to see the man's face when my mom rejects him. I couldn't wait.

~

After dropping off Farrah, I drove home where my mom and Nick were already asleep. I snuck in and grabbed a ham sandwich and went out again. I had set a meeting with a client, and Gold afterwards.

I drove my car to the meeting place and waited for the client.

In a few minutes of waiting for him, I sat in the drivers seat and started smoking. I opened the window beside me and occasionally let out the cigarette so I didn't suffocate. The client drove up in front of me in a black BMW and shut off the engine.

Out of the car came a tall girl who could be no older than 18. She was wearing a nude t-shirt tied at the waist and a pair of black jeans, sticking to her thin legs. The colour of her curly hair seemed soft blond under the streetlight but as she approached my car, it became a dark brown bundle of locks into a falling-apart bun.

I unlocked my car and she sat in the passenger seat next to me and immediately, the car filled with her cinnamon scent, even with the door wide open

"Are you gonna give it to me?" She asked, snapping me into the present. I was confused for a second.

Give what?

When I finally remembered, I pulled the small clear bag out of my pocket and gave it to her. Her light green eyes widened and her pink lips curled into a smile at the sight of the opiates. She sniffed her little nose, before stepping out of the car. In the seat she sat in lay a piece of paper and a small bundle of money.

I picked up the paper and it had a number on it with a name, Eva. Under the number was written "...in case we want to meet again."

She got in her car and drove away, leaving me wondering if I wanted to meet her again.

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