21. I can't!

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Aayat's POV:

            The smell of incense sticks mixed into the air as the smoke it produced got dissolved into the atmosphere. The girls who were sitting in the room read Qur'an in hushed voices as I kept away the juzz (part of Qur'an) that I was reading in the respected box. After keeping it in its place, my eyes travelled to Humaira who was sitting beside me , the string of beads inclined perfectly in between her thin fingers as she did Dhikr continuously while her eyes remained closed, as if she wanted to shut down everything.

          Almost 3 weeks have been passed since Hareem Aunty ( Humaira's mother) passed away, but whenever I look at Humaira's face, it becomes difficult to believe if time has passed at all? It was her mother after all who had left the world and it wouldn't be a lie to say that she had taken away a part of Humaira with her. Humaira, the girl who I knew since forever had changed alot.

          She was no longer a talkative person, one who brightened the day of everyone around her, one who would not leave a chance to tease someone else. She had changed into a mature lady, who understood her quietness to be the best for her and everyone around herself. She was trying so hard, to keep herself together for her father that she had locked up all her emotions inside of her.

             She had not opened up, since forever. She spoke only a simple yes or no when asked and nothing else. The only time she cried was in the hospital as she hugged her father, and it was the most heart clenching sight I had ever seen. It was paining alot to see her like that, she needs to open up and I am not letting her be stubborn about not doing so. I had given her time but this was enough, if I don't talk to her now, I may lose the Humaira I had known forever.

          All the women that were sitting now stood including us as they all completed reading the Qur'an and than they came and hugged Humaira one by one and exited her room. By the time the room became empty it was already half an hour past 2 in the afternoon . When I arrived here an hour ago , Ammi who was also present here informed me that Humaira hadn't done lunch . She left soon after I came as Zoya was alone at home along with the maid.

          I got up and went downstairs . The sunlight peaked inside through the huge windows of the living room as I walked past it in the kitchen where a maid was already present. I took a plate from the shelf and than took some rice along with vegetables and gravy on it.

          As I was on my way returning to the bedroom I saw Ahsan Uncle ( Humaira's father ) coming out of room as he wore a head Cape on his head.

"Assalam walaikum uncle.." I said hesitantly.

"Walaikum salam Beta." He replied with a sad smile.
"Taking this for Humaira?" He asked pointing towards the plate.

"Yes." I replied.

He laughed unknowingly a little and then said,
"I know she hadn't eaten anything , she is one stubborn child."

He walked towards me and then when he stopped he forwarded his hand and patted on my head,

"Jazakallahu khair Aayat for being with her in such tough times. I know that all the strong behaviour of her Infront of me is a facade as she is crying from inside. If it wasn't you, I don't know how I would have managed her." He said slowly as his eyes glistened with tears.

I felt a knot forming In my throat but I pushed it aside and then replied,

"She is like a sister I never had uncle. This is my responsibility to look after her. You're like my father uncle, so please don't thank me."

He nodded again and took back his hand, he turned his back at me as I saw him wipe his eyes and than he said while walking away,

"Tell her that I am going to mosque. I will be home soon."

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